Referendum J – School District Spending Requirements

Referendum J is pretty similar to Amendment 39, but there are a few things that Referendum J offers that Amendment 39 does not. I spoke about Amendment 30 yesterday.
I spoke about Amendment 39 yesterday. Referendum J does everything Amendment 39 does plus it adds a few things.

They both have a at least 65-percent funding for the classroom, but Referendum J adds in Principals, Support Staff, and Support Services provided at the school level. Referendum J also adds an out for school districts by allowing voters to exempt them from the 65 percent requirement and it adds a requirement that standardizes format for school district budgets and the school districts must submit them to the state.

In comparing spending, if these were to pass, 166 schools would have fallen short by a total of $278 million under Amendment 39. Under Referendum J, only three districts would have fallen short by a total of $1 million.

If both Amendment 39 and Referendum J pass, any provision of Amendment of 39 is in conflict with Referendum J, the provision of Referendum J will not be enforced.

My thoughts
I think that Referendum offers a better deal for the State of Colorado. It puts in spending regulations for the school districts, includes more in the 65 percent mandatory spending, and if the local voters feel that 65 percent is too much, they can vote out of the 65 percent requirement. Referendum J also standardizes school district budgets, allowing for a good comparison and understanding on how our schools are funding their operations.

Also, if both were to pass, we could have many lawsuits seeking clarification and guidance from the court on which parts of Referendum J conflict with Amendment 39.

My Vote
Yes on Referendum J.

Amendment 39 – School District Spending Requirements

SummaryAmendment 39 directs each school district in Colorado to spend at least 65 percent of their operating budget in the classroom, specifically teachers, classroom aides, and tutors; libraries and librarians; books and other instructional materials; classroom computers; and field trips, athletics, arts, and music. A school district may request a one-year waiver from this Amendment.

There is a similar bill that will be voted on this year, Referendum J. I will tackle that one tomorrow.

My Thoughts
I think this is a noble bill, but it does not meet the needs of all Coloradoans. This puts a one-size, fit-all approach to education and I don’t think that is correct. Also this bill does not include required funding for support staff that are as important to education as teachers. Many of the rural school districts have higher transportation costs then the urban school districts. Also, no matter what, school districts would have to go along with it. Local citizens and school boards would lose the local control that they should have.

My Vote

Amendment 38 – Petitions

SummaryAmendment 38, if passed, will expand the current law and allow citizens to propose and challenge laws at all levels of state and local government. It will also changes existing procedures for placing a measure on the ballot by petition and applies to all levels of government.

What it does:

  • Limits ballot title to 75 words.
  • All disputes go to state Supreme Court and must be decided within seven days of filing.
  • Requires signatures of five percent of votes cast in the state or local government for secretary of state in the last full-term general election for the office.
  • Petitions are not really verified. They are counted and protests may be filed. If an individual signature is protested and proven invalid by clear and convincing evidence is not counted.
  • If you want to protest a signature, you have 10 days of filing and it must be resolved within 10 days.
  • Random sampling may not be used and signatures may not be disqualified for technical defects or minor variations or omissions.
  • You have 12 months to gather signatures and if you don’t collect enough for the upcoming election, they may be submitted for the next November election as long as it is within the 12 month period.
  • Elected officials may place a restriction on laws exempting them from challenges, but three-fourths of the governing body must vote for it.
  • They may elect to exempt 12 per year and if the voters successfully reject a law, the voters may only approve a similar law.
  • Measures may appear on any November election ballot.
  • In voter information materials, proponents may have up to 1,000 words while opponents must limit their comments to the number of words the proponents have submitted.
  • Not require that the ballot title be on the top of each signature page.

My Thoughts
In my opinion, this amendment weakens our government. It makes the citizens the elected body and the elected body almost worthless. There is a reason why we have an elected body to carry out our day-to-day government legislative and administrative functions. There is a lot to do and our representatives represent us.

It will also eliminate safeguards to check the signatures on the petitions by restricting the election official’s ability to verify the signatures will increase the likelihood that an erroneous signature will get on the ballot. Also, the Amendment would not require the petitioner to place the ballot title on each signature page, leading the potential of people not being clear on what they are signing or signing for something they don’t want to.

There is a law already on the books that allow for citizens to propose and challenge laws and it tends to work pretty well. There are certainly plenty of amendments for people to vote on this year. Let’s not weaken government and allow the government to work for the people.

My Vote

Colorado State Amendments and Referendums

Beginning this evening I will be taking a look at the Colorado State Amendments and Referendums by summarizing them and letting people know how I am going to vote and why.
Voting is an important part of being a citizen of the United States and hearing diverse opinions on issues and candidates is what this country was made upon.

Look for the first one tonight, Colorado Amendment 38.

You may view information on these amendments and referendums by visiting

City of Westminster, Make Your Overcharges Right!

For the last couple of years, the city of Westminster, Colorado, has been overcharging homeowner’s associations for water.  They are supposed to charge them the residential rate, but they were charging them $.50 more a 1,000 gallons or the commercial rate.
This does not seem like much, but after a while it adds up.  Homeowner’s associations mostly use their water to irrigate their parks and common areas, plus pools.

But it gets worse.  Once the city was made aware of the problem, they didn’t stop charging associations for over six months.  Still taking their money to pad their coffers.  They now owe my homeowner’s association over $30,000 and we are not alone.  There are several homeowner’s associations that are owed more than we are.  Because of these over charges, are homeowner’s association is now in the black.

The City does not know what to do.  They just struggled through a difficult budget negotiation for a city budget, struggling to balance the budget.  Now they must come up with some sort of compensation for these homeowners associations.

It just does not seem responsible or professional for this to happen.  Especially since they are not responding to questions of their own residents.

What is North Korea Thinking?!

I have no idea what North Korea is thinking.  I guess they don’t think they can play in the rest of the world and no one matters, especially their own people.  The rest of the world has ceased these type of tests.  Here are a couple of links to stories.  One from the BBC and they other from CNN.
I am sure that there will be more coming in the morning, but you would think that one of the worlds poorest countries would be more concerned about feeding its people than spending money on nuclear bombs.  But, North Korea has shown that its crazy leader worries more about inflating his own ego than helping its people.  And he might just start a war over it.