GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- State officials say about $500 million could be cut from higher education, and over $400 million cut from K-12 education.
But, Governor Jared Polis announced late Monday, he is giving part of the $1.6 billion in federal Cares Act funding given to Colorado, to education in the state. With over $500 million going to higher education and $450 million going K-12.
The money will be used to ease COVID-19 impact on schools, and help school districts and colleges and universities adapt to a future faced with the virus.
With Cares Act funding aimed at helping schools through COVID-19, lawmakers say proposed cuts could have a big impact.
“It could affect tuition, it could affect many of the services they offer,” said Senator Ray Scott, who represents Mesa County. “Remote education, a lot of things could be very much impacted by that kind of a cut.”
At Colorado Mesa University, the school’s president says the university will lose about $1.5 million in state funding, but without the Cares Act, the situation might have looked different.
“It was far less than what it could have been because of the governor bringing those federal Cares Act funds into play,” said CMU president Tim Foster.
Foster says keeping average enrollment numbers for this fall is key. And Cares Act funding is aimed at helping the school prepare.
“We’ve got 100 thermometers coming in. We’re in the process of signing a contract so we have testing when everyone comes back in the fall as well as randomized testing,” Foster said.
Senator Ray Scott says these proposed cuts from the Joint Budget Committee at the statehouse will be the first priority when state lawmakers return to Denver on May 26.
“Once we get back to the legislature, we review those and then of course vote in both chambers to approve a balanced budget.”