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Help our legislature fund our public schools!

on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 04:34

Stop any form of vouchers in Colorado 

Please email the Colorado School Finance Interim Committee at SchoolFinance.ga@state.co.us and tell them. 

  • Public, taxpayer dollars for public education must stay in public schools
  • Oppose any changes to the Colorado School Finance Act or public school funding in Colorado that would use public, taxpayer dollars for vouchers, tax credits, or Education Savings Accounts
  • Fund our public schools adequately and equitably

Testify in person: January 9, 2018 at 10 AM in the Legislative Service Building Hearing Room B (corner of Sherman Street and 14th Avenue, on the south side of the Colorado State Capitol, 200 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver). If you know in advance that you intend to address the committee in person on January 9th, please email so that they have a sense of the time demands necessary to accommodate all interested parties.  Once legislative staff will follow up with additional instructions for interested parties and stakeholders.

Background on the Colorado Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance: The Interim Committee on School Finance authorized by House Bill 17 1340 is made up of a bi-partisan group of legislators charged with studying and possibly changing The School Finance Act, 1994.  They can make legislative recommendations concerning how to fund the educational needs of students. HB1340, however, explicitly and intentionally excluded any study or consideration of adequate funding for all students in public schools.

To date, the committee has met four times, and hired Cross & Joftus now known as Four Point Education Partners, consultants, to aid in the work.  Specifically, Richard Seder and Michael Goetz both of whom are also principals with Emergent Policy & Systems, Incorporated, have been working with the committee.

The presentation from the consultants has largely focused on student count, at-risk students and students with special needs. These are important issues; however, the discussion should have a broader, holistic focus. It should encompass equitable and adequate funding of our public education system that meets the needs of all students. Our legislature has refused to address the underfunding of Colorado’s public school students. Our public school students are funded at $2,685 per student below the national average (adjusted for regional cost differences) [Ed Week, 2017 Quality Counts]. Any discussion that excludes adequacy and does not address funding of all students in all schools is simply a discussion of re-shuffling the current problem of inadequate funding. 

The term “student-centered funding”, synonymous with back-pack funding, vouchers, or Education Savings Accounts, has been used repeatedly.  Some legislators repeatedly state that the goal of the new School Finance Act should be to do it “better, cheaper, faster”.  They want to find ways to open the door to the using taxpayer dollars to pay for private education through tax credits, vouchers or education savings accounts. 

The entire committee needs to hear from parents, teachers, and a broad swath of community members. While we greatly value the need for funding solutions to include appropriate adjustments for categorical programs such as special needs, ELL, and At-Risk, they must first address increasing our funding statewide. 

Please join us, at the next Interim School Finance Committee meeting on January 9, 2018, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Public comment will begin around 11:30 am.