David & Laura Merage Contribute to "Colorado Commits to Kids"

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The "Colorado Commits to Kids" campaign recently received a personal donation from David and Laura Merage to transform Colorado's School Finance Act.

David and Laura Merage recently made a personal contribution of $250,000 to the “Colorado Commits to Kids” campaign in support of the proposed Amendment 66 which is on track to appear before voters on the November ballot. During the most recent legislative session, Governor John Hickenlooper (D), signed Senate Bill 213, which dramatically transforms and modernizes Colorado’s School Finance Act. To implement the changes, Colorado voters will be asked to support additional public investment into the education system.

“Colorado Commits to Kids” is eager to support the ballot initiative and plan to gather enough signatures from Colorado voters to put the proposed amendment up for a vote of the people. If the plan does reach the voters and the voters approve, there will be many key changes to Colorado’s School Finance Act. The legislation aims to reduce class sizes, boost kindergarten and preschool access, and fund special education programs while essentially tying early childhood education (ECE) with K-12 funding.

David and Laura Merage have always demonstrated a strong commitment to their communities and have made it a mission to increase access to high quality early childhood education by developing innovative and collaborative partnerships with organizations like “Colorado Commits to Kids.” Their personal contribution to this cause is no different. If the ballot measure passes, all at-risk three, four, and five year olds will have access to quality early childhood learning. In addition, full day kindergarten will be offered to any family who chooses to enroll their child, which would make Colorado only the 11th state in the country to offer tuition-free full day kindergarten. David Merage thinks this investment will put more children on a course for school and life success, “One third of this new funding will be dedicated to support early childhood education and full day Kindergarten, and we think this is a critical step to closing the achievement gap before it starts.” Increasing access to quality ECE will produce infinite benefits for the state of Colorado. The cost of quality ECE is much less than remediation and it is always easier to get a child on the right trajectory from the start than to correct their course later in life. Tying early childhood education with K-12 funding together in a single formula more firmly embeds early learning in the larger education system. By including ECE in the School Finance Act, it will ensure that all programs will not be subject to shifting political tides in each year’s budget allocation process.

“Colorado Commits to Kids” must gather 86,105 registered Colorado voter signatures by Monday, August 5 in order to get the initiative on the ballot by November.

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Sue Renner

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