Denver, CO—Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Tuesday formally endorsed Amendment 66, joining a growing list of civic, education and business leaders from across the state in supporting the ballot measure to increase investment in Colorado’s PK-12 education system.
“Today I am proud to say that I endorse and I am voting for Amendment 66 because I want to give all Colorado kids the best chance to compete and succeed in a global economy,” Hancock said Tuesday during a rally at Clayton Early Learning. “And as a graduate of Denver schools, as a parent of Denver kids and as the Mayor of the capital city – I ask our voters to VOTE YES on Amendment 66.”
Colorado voters this fall are being asked to Vote Yes on Amendment 66, an income-tax rate increase to raise money for PK-12 education. Money raised by Amendment 66 will go into a newly created School Educational Achievement Fund that can only be used for education reforms and enhancements to existing programs.
To date, more than 300 groups and individuals from across the state have endorsed the measure.
Hancock’s remarks came at a rally to draw attention to the investments Amendment 66 would make in early childhood education. He was joined at the event by Charlotte Brantley, head of Clayton Early Learning, Paul Mezzacapo, a teacher at the center, and Heather Tritten, vice president of quality programs at Qualistar Colorado.
“Amendment 66 will provide additional money for the Colorado Preschool Program, creating more than 25,000 preschool spots for at-risk 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds,” Brantley said. She praised the additional investment in the Colorado Preschool Program, which allows for public-private partnerships that increase educational quality and school choice for parents.
Tritten emphasized Amendment 66’s investments in full-day kindergarten for districts that want it.
“Students who complete preschool and full-day kindergarten are more likely to graduate from high school and be prepared to enter college or the workforce,” she said.
Teacher Paul Mezzacapo remarked on the importance of early childhood education throughout a student’s academic career, and life beyond. “A 25-year University of Minnesota Study shows us children who attend an establish preschool program have better chances of completing high school, staying out of jail, and are less prone to drug and alcohol abuse,” he said.
In his remarks, Mayor Hancock said Amendment 66 would close the achievement gap before it begins and put our youngest students on a path to success early.
“Not only is this about making Colorado’s school system the top in the nation. It’s about preparing our kids – all of our kids – to compete and succeed in the 21st century marketplace. It’s about closing that ever-widening achievement gap and helping our at-risk youth beat the odds,” Hancock said.