One month to go!

With one month left in this year’s legislative session, this week was nothing short of eventful: the debrucing bills were up in their first committee hearings, the budget made its way through the House with some education wins, and Great Ed co-sponsored the Public Education Funding Lobby Day with over 45 advocates in attendance! Keep reading to learn more…

The Long Bill (SB19-207) passed through the House

Thursday demonstrated why the Long Bill is given its name, as the House debated through 89 amendments to the budget until almost 1am. We’ll spare you listening to 12 hours of recordings, below are what you need to know about education and the budget:

  • $9 million was allocated to continue the work of the Education Leadership Council’s Priorities.
  • $185 million was confirmed for funding full-day Kindergarten. Though the bill to provide state funding for “Full-Day K” (HB19-1262) has not passed yet, there is funding allocated to make sure that if or when it does pass, it will have dollars to back it.
  • $77 million was allocated to buy down the Budget Stabilization Factor. The current debt owed to students from this factor is $672 million.

Pro Tip on the Long Bill: The budget process is a confusing one at the legislature. Below are the steps that the Long Bill goes through before it becomes law:

  1. First, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) creates a balanced budget based on expected revenues, current and expected caseload for various programs, what’s needed in the state, current legislation that would require new spending,, etc.
  2. Then, the JBC bill goes to the house of origin (this year the Senate, but it alternates each year), where legislators can pass amendments to the Long Bill.
  3. After that, the bill is stripped of all amendments and the House gets to run its own amendments (many of which are the same amendments that the Senate ran).
  4. Once the bill passes through the second chamber, it goes back to conference committee (which is the JBC), where the Committee decides which of the two versions of the bill to start with and then crafts a final version that, once again, balances revenues and expenditures.  Both chambers must then pass the JBC/Conference Committee’s final version of the bill, after which it will be sent to the Governor’s desk.

Public Education Funding Lobby Day Success!

Thursday was INCREDIBLE and we have you all to thank! Over 45 advocates from all over the state attended the Public Education Funding Lobby Day on Thursday. Advocates:

  • shared their stories with legislators;
  • learned about relevant issues in the legislature; and
  • shared their stories with others, impacting us all and encouraging us to keep on fighting.

A big thank you to all of our advocates that were able to make it out, and to those that were able to participate on social media! We’d also like to thank Representatives Bird, Cutter, Froelich, Kipp, Mullica, Senators Zenzinger and Story, and State Treasurer Dave Young for taking the time to attend, speak and listen to our advocates during our lunch program. Below are some pictures from the day.

Bill Updates from this Week

  • HB19-1257 & HB19-1258 (the two debrucing measures) passed through House Finance on Monday afternoon. Great Ed was there to testify on our support of these bills

    As a reminder: HB19-1257 would refer a measure to the ballot asking voters to allow the state to keep and spend all revenues collected (under current tax rates) above what the TABOR revenue limit allows, with those “surplus” dollars going to K-12, higher education and transportation. HB19-1258 is the companion bill that states more specifically how the legislature will direct these dollars in years when a surplus exists between these three priorities.
  • SB19-199 READ Act Implementation Measures was scheduled to be heard on Thursday afternoon in Senate Education, but was laid over until Senate Education’s 1:30 committee hearing on Thursday, April 11.

What’s Coming Up?

  • Continuation of the Long Bill — Now that the Long Bill has made it through the Senate and the House, it will go back to the JBC for final budget approval. We’ll keep you updated on when this is going to happen!
  • The School Finance Act will be introduced sometime early next week! Watch out for actions coming from us as it starts in the Senate and then goes through the House.
  • HB19-1194 School Discipline for Preschool through Second Grade will be heard in Senate Education on Thursday, April 11.

As a reminder: This bill would limit the ability of schools to expel and suspend students P-2. This is an issue of critical concern, especially because it impacts students disproportionately based on race. Great Ed supports the concept and values behind this bill, but is only monitoring presently because, without significant funding to provide for social-emotional interventions, professional development and other critical tools to address the needs of students, it is currently an unfunded mandate.

  • HB19-1262 State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten will be heard in House Education at 1:30 on Tuesday, April 9. If you’d like to attend, House Education will be meeting in the Old State Library in the Capitol for that hearing due to the high number of people they expect to attend. You can also listen to the committee hearing here.

Thanks once again to all our advocates who made our Public Education Lobby Day such a success.  As you can tell from this update, our work is far from over.  Stay tuned and get ready to lift your voice!

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