It’s crunch-time! Everything is ramping up under the Dome as the long-bill is prepared to be finalized, the School Finance Act is being put together, and legislators have only six weeks left to make sure they’ve made a positive impact for our public schools this session. This update provides a rundown of what’s happened this week, and previews what you can expect in the next few weeks.
The Long Bill
On Tuesday, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) presented their work on the Long Bill (aka the state budget) on Tuesday which included two important notes for education funding:
- The budget included $185 million for fully funding full-day kindergarten. This is less than the original projection of $227 million needed due to a change in the anticipated number of students, but the JBC will allow for a true-up the match per-pupil counts when the school year starts.
- The budget included the same $77 million buy down of the Budget Stabilization Factor recommended by Gov. Polis.
Does this mean the budget is finalized? No. But it does mean that we have to work harder than ever to ask for the JBC to #CuttheBSfactor and we have even less time than before! You can take action today by tweeting, emailing or calling your elected officials and asking them to tell their colleagues on the JBC pay back the $7 billion debt owed to K-12.
What’s Coming Up?
Bills We’re Watching
SB19-094 Extend School Finance Interim Committee passed unanimously through House Education on Thursday. This bill would extend the interim committee for one more year, allow the committee to hire an outside consulting firm, and maintain the current party ratio as the last two years, that is, an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. The interim committee met in 2017 and 2018, without making any legislative recommendations.
HB19-1257 Voter Approval to Retain Revenue for Education & Transportation was introduced and instead of refunding dollars that come in over the TABOR limit, this bill would allow the state to annually retain and spend all of these revenues that are in excess of the constitutional limitation.
HB19-1258 Allocate Voter-Approved Revenue for Education & Transportation was introduced and is contingent upon voters approving a measure on the ballot in 2019 that comes out of HB19-1257. If the measure passes, the additional revenue placed into the general fund exempt account would be placed evenly into public schools, higher education and roads, bridges and transit.