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Steamboat Springs High School students Chase Grippa, left, and Heidi Lord set up a microscope in class last week. Amendment 39, to be put to voters in November, would require all public school districts in Colorado to spend at least 65 percent of operational expenditures on classroom instruction. Many local educators oppose the measure.

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Tying the hands that teach

Local educators oppose finance issues on ballot

Two ballot initiatives - one amendment to the state constitution and one referendum - would require public school districts in Colorado to spend at least 65 percent of annual operating expenditures on needs directly affecting student achievement in the classroom. Although supporters of Amendment 39 and Referendum J say the initiatives would ensure money is spent where it can help students the most - in the classroom - local educators oppose the initiatives, saying rural school districts face different challenges than urban districts and need flexibility and autonomy when managing their budgets.

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