In Colorado the economy is booming. The unemployment rate is 3 percent. And shiny new skyscrapers are rising all over Denver as revelers pour fistfuls of cash into downtown bars and restaurants.
But no one invited Colorado’s public schools to the party.
In 1992, voters in the state amended the constitution with something called the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR.
It required that voters, not lawmakers, have the final say on tax increases, and it capped tax revenue. Anything the state raised over that cap — typically in boom years — would be refunded to taxpayers.
TABOR’s effect on Colorado’s schools has been severe. To find out why, click here.
The story of education funding in Colorado is part of the NPR reporting project School Money, a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.