A Denver Public Schools bus. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

Colorado voters won’t get to decide this November whether to forego a portion of future state tax refunds to better fund K-12 schools. 

Supporters of a ballot measure that would have dedicated an estimated $984 million in future income tax revenue to help school districts recruit and retain educators announced Monday that they had fallen short of the nearly 125,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot this fall. 

Tracie Rainey of the Colorado School Finance Project said the failure was particularly frustrating because the measure had polled well and seemed to have a better chance of passing than previous attempts to increase school funding. 

“It’s unfortunate that the voters won’t be given a chance to vote on something that they value,” she said.

Colorado funds its schools at lower rates than many other states and for more than a decade has failed to comply with a constitutional requirement to increase school funding each year by the rate of population growth plus inflation. Meanwhile, in good economic times, the state must return money to taxpayers if state revenues exceed a cap similarly determined by population and inflation. 

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Bureau Chief — Chalkbeat Colorado Email: emeltzer@chalkbeat.org