Hundreds of volunteers fanned out across more than a dozen Colorado communities Saturday to personally urge voters to support Amendment 66, the proposed $950 million P-12 tax increase.

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia
The Yes on 66 campaign organized rallies and door-to-door canvassing in communities stretching from Grand Junction to Denver and from Greeley to Pueblo.

Abby Leeper of Colorado Commits to Kids estimated late Saturday that about 830 volunteers gathered at the rallies and that about 65,000 homes were canvassed.

The effort was mounted just a few days before the first mailing of ballots to voters around the state. County clerks can begin sending ballots out on Tuesday.

In northeast Denver, a diverse crowd of about 80 to 100 volunteers gathered at Clayton Early Learning, where the Rev. Dawn Riley Duval of Shorter AME Church warmed up the audience with an enthusiastic affirmation that “This is the day the Lord has made” and a prayer. That came after the National Anthem was sung by a trio.

Rev. Dawn Riley Duval
Rev. Dawn Riley Duval

Duval and several other speakers stressed the standard Colorado Commits talking points – that passage of Amendment 66 will lead to smaller class sizes, more individual attention for students and more detailed tracking of education spending.

Anna Jo Hayes, the longtime leader of Mile High Montessori, highlighted the benefits of A66 for preschool and full-day kindergarten and urged volunteers to contact all their friends by cellphone “even before you get out to knock on doors.”

At midday outside the Wheat Ridge 5-8 School on West 38th Avenue, another 100 or so people gathered to hear Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia urge passage of the amendment. “Not all kids have the same opportunities now,” he said, adding that changing that “is what Amendment 66 is all about.

“Every kid is important to our state. … We need globally competitive students and teachers,” Garcia said, adding, “This is something that will allow Colorado to lead the nation in so many ways.”

Garcia acknowledged the complexity of A66 and it accompanying legislation, Senate Bill 13-213, but urged volunteers to emphasize smaller classes sizes, more individual messages and greater accountability as they met with voters.

“That’s a simple message. Help spread it.”

Rallies and canvassing were held in Adams County, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, Denver, El Paso County, Jefferson County, La Plata County, Larimer County, Mesa County, Pueblo, the Roaring Fork Valley, Routt County, the San Luis Valley, Summit County and Weld County.

Campaign officials said some canvassing was done before Saturday and that the efforts will continue until Election Day on Nov. 5.