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  • Meghan Lukens

Lukens: Congratulations to the Class of 2023, and Here’s to the Future of Education

Each year, our communities come together to celebrate the accomplishments of our youth who have graduated high school. I am so proud of all of the 2023 high school graduates in Northwest Colorado and our state as a whole.

As a social studies teacher at Steamboat Springs High School, I had the honor and privilege of teaching many outstanding graduates in this class. Through countless hours of study, extracurricular activities, and community involvement, they have demonstrated perseverance, resilience, and a true commitment to excellence. They have grown not only academically but also as individuals, developing critical skills that will propel them toward success in the years to come. Their accomplishments are a testament to their dedication and the unwavering support of their families, teachers, and mentors.

This year’s graduates have persevered through a unique set of challenges. Teacher shortages, limited supplies, overcrowded classrooms, and underfunded programs became normal for these graduates. Our education shortfalls should not be normal.

Our students and teachers deserve better, so after experiencing these shortfalls firsthand, I advocated for our schools, especially our rural schools, at the state legislature. While there were many bills that addressed the education crisis this past session, SB23-287 has positively altered the path forward for Colorado schools. This bill that I proudly co-sponsored, better known as the 2023 Public School Finance Act, makes historic investments in our schools.

This piece of legislation includes an extraordinary buydown of the Budget Stabilization Factor. In Colorado, the Budget Stabilization Factor was a mechanism designed to temporarily address budget constraints and balance the state budget while ensuring constitutionally required increases in per-pupil funding are fulfilled when possible; however, this is now a long-standing component of Colorado's education funding formula. I'm hopeful that two big changes will alleviate this situation: the first is this extraordinary investment we made through this year’s School Finance Act, and the second, the approval of Proposition HH in November.

SB23-287 charts us on a path forward with the plan to fully eliminate the budget stabilization factor by the 2024-2025 school year.

In addition, this bill will increase per pupil funding by 10 percent, bringing the statewide average to $10,614 per pupil. As a result, schools will see over $660 million more this year and well over $1 billion more per year than just a few years ago. This is money going straight to classrooms to support students, teachers, and families.

The funding in this bill also includes a one-time $30 million investment in rural schools, which will make a tremendous difference in House District 26. We know that rural communities in general feel disproportionate impacts of social, health, and economic problems, and the same rings true with education. Getting money into schools is a direct way to improve education outcomes.

SB23-287 represents a significant victory for our students, teachers, and communities. It demonstrates a collective commitment to investing in education and ensuring that every student, regardless of their circumstances, has access to high-quality learning opportunities. This bill is a testament to our belief in the power of education to transform lives and shape a brighter future for Colorado. Additionally, Colorado voters will have an opportunity this November to invest in education for years to come if they approve Proposition HH. If passed, Prop HH will require surplus state revenues to be deposited into the State Education Fund, ensuring that Colorado’s students and schools can count on the resources they need to learn for years to come.

I am proud of the work that we have done to support students, and I am even more proud of the students who have persevered through their own unique challenges to graduate this spring. To the Class of 2023, congratulations once again!

I would love to hear from you about education – or any other issue that matters to you. Please contact me at with comments and concerns. Also, send me an email if you would like to be added to my newsletter for more frequent legislative updates. Follow me on social media to be the first to know when I will be hosting town halls to answer your questions in person.

Let’s keep in touch and keep making a difference in House District 26. Onward!


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