Denver (AP) Gov. Bill Ritter has proposed spending $487 million to shore up public education and another $135 million to support higher education using the state's portion of federal stimulus funds.
The proposal was outlined in a letter to state budget officials obtained by the Associated Press.
Todd Saliman, the governor's budget director, confirmed the letter and said the money will keep education funding at this year's levels for the next three years.
Under the stimulus package, the governor gets to decide how the money is spent, and the state isn't required to protect higher education.
Lawmakers welcomed the proposal, which must still be approved by the U.S. Department of Education to ensure the package meets strict federal guidelines. But they warned it only postpones the cuts needed to balance the state budget for two or three years unless the economy improves dramatically.
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