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Rise & Shine: Pueblo 60 voters will decide on a tax increase of their own

Good morning!

Welcome to a Third Time's the Charm Edition of Rise & Shine. Our big news today is that supporters of Initiative 93, a tax increase to fund education, turned in more than enough signatures to make the ballot in November. It's expected to be Amendment 73 on a potentially crowded ballot that could also include a big tax increase for roads, though the Colorado Secretary of State's Office hasn't officially set the names and numbers for this year's ballot measures. This marks the third attempt since 2011 to raise taxes for education.

Just to get this far, supporters cleared a historic hurdle. They had to gather signatures from 2 percent of registered voters in every state Senate district to meet new requirements adopted in 2016. But to be enacted into law, they'll have to clear an even bigger hurdle: getting 55 percent of voters in a state with a long history of rejecting statewide taxes to go along with this. Two-thirds of them said no to the last attempt in 2013.

I wasn't covering education in 2013, and I was still relatively new to Colorado then. That was an important moment in my own education about my adopted state. There was a huge push to pass the tax increase, and the arguments in favor sounded like motherhood and apple pie. But voters didn't buy it. Will this time be any different? Backers of the measure say they've honed the policies and built grassroots support. One key change: this tax increase only affects those earning higher incomes. Opponents, though, see more of the same.

We've also got stories about disappointing results from a study of a voucher program in Indiana, an outdoor education center possibly coming to Denver's Montbello neighborhood, and efforts by teacher colleges to adapt to a changing landscape.

Read on.

– Erica Meltzer, bureau chief


Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox, or forward to a friend who cares about public education.


ON THE BALLOT Colorado voters will decide on a $1.6 billion tax increase to fund education this November. Supporters of the measure, dubbed Great Schools, Thriving Communities, gathered more than enough signatures to meet stringent new requirements to place the tax on higher-earning individuals and on corporations on the ballot. Now they just need to convince 55 percent of voters to say “yes” – when two-thirds said “no” the last time. Chalkbeat

VOUCHER VERDICT Low-income students who use a voucher to attend private school in Indiana see their math scores drop – and not just as they adjust to their new schools. The lower test scores persist for years, a new study found, undermining the argument that poor students benefit from the choice to attend private school. Chalkbeat

MATH MOMENT A new spring break tradition has spread across Massachusetts: inviting students back to school for hours of extra math help. Students get the equivalent of a month of extra math instruction in small group settings, and their test scores go up.  Chalkbeat

OUTDOOR ED Environmental Learning for Kids, an organization that helps connect kids from underserved communities with nature, is planning to build a $3 million facility in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood.  Denverite

PUEBLO VOTES The Pueblo 60 district will ask voters to approve a $6 million property tax increase for schools. If voters agree, the money will be spent on pay increases, building maintenance, and school safety. Chieftain

CLOSING TIME A beloved nature-based early childhood center in Boulder is closing after 35 years. Daily Camera

ACHIEVEMENT GAP Enrollment in teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities is down, and nearly half of graduates who become teachers leave the profession within a few years. Teacher preparation programs are trying to adapt, to attract more candidates and to better prepare them for what the job is really like. Ed Week