The Colorado legislature will begin wrestling in earnest with the budget in the coming weeks. Education funding is going to take another major hit. That’s a really bad idea, says Microsoft billionaire and education enthusiast Bill Gates. He says that the way state budgets have been fudged for years effectively pits young people against old people. “If you don’t change the revenue picture, if you don’t solve what you’re doing in health care, you’re going to be de-investing in the young,” he said. “You should never cut education.”
Easy to say, hard to do given the realities of the present mismanaged budgets.
Faced with yawning deficits, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in February proposed a financial plan for the state that would drain nearly $400 million from k-12 education and $36 million from colleges and universities. The k-12 cut would translate as $500 less per student next year. Combined with the loss of federal stimulus funds, Colorado would spend $877 less per college student this coming year than it spent last year.
Gates is pleading with state governments to just stop the madness that strangles the future.
Last week, budget negotiations in Colorado reportedly hit a snag when GOP House Speaker Frank McNulty straight-armed a draft plan hammered out between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.