Grand Junction Educators and Students Show Sequester Concerns
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Grand Junction students and educators gathered at Colorado Mesa University today to express their growing concerns about how sequestration cuts will affect Western Slope education.
At the beginning of the month, Congress allowed the sequestration to go into affect, enabling automatic, across-the-board budget cuts to several programs across the country.
Education in Colorado is taking a big hit from these cuts, as White House officials project Colorado will lose nearly $8.4 million in education funding.
Over one hundred teacher and aide jobs are in jeopardy, and nearly 12,000 students across Colorado could be impacted.
"We're significantly impacting the future," said Carolyn Sandeen-Hall, Co-President of Mesa Valley Education Association of Retired Teachers. "Students won't be prepared to take on the challenges for employment and full participation as functioning citizens if they don't have these opportunities"
Considering the economy in the Western Slope is not rebounding as quickly as the eastern half of Colorado, the budget cuts may have a bigger impact the folks of western Colorado.
"We don't need to make these severe cuts," said Tom Acker, CMU Professor of Spanish. "We seem obsessed with balancing budgets, when in fact we should be investing in our students, in our infrastructure, and making it a much more profitable environment for businesses to come into and invest."
Ultimately, it will be those programs for students that need them the most, such as Head Start and work-study jobs, that will feel the biggest effects.
"I think everybody has a right to a higher education," said Acker. "In our economy, and in today's world, everybody needs to access higher education. So why should these folks be left out?"