So much happened this week, as we enter into the home stretch of this session. While there is a lot to celebrate in the world of school funding at the legislature, we still have our work cut out for us. Keep reading to learn more…
The School Finance Act (SFA)
The School Finance Act (SB-246) was introduced in the Senate this Tuesday and we are feeling great about how it began. Senators Todd and Lundeen along with Representatives McClachlan and Wilson decided to use the additional dollars coming in from the higher than projected Residential Assessment Rate to:
- Buy down the BS Factor by an additional $25 million (making it a total of a $102 million buy down);
- Allocate $25 million to rural schools; and
- Allocate $5 million to mental and behavioral health programs.
On Thursday, the SFA passed the Senate Education Committee with all these new investments in place, thanks to Senators Bridges, Hill and Story who voted FOR our students and AGAINST an amendment that would have cut these dollars. Testimony from rural school superintendents and Great Ed advocates made a real difference in the outcome.
Unfortunately, this morning the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment that reduced rural school funding by $5 million and eliminated the mental health funding.
The SFA has a long way to go before it’s law, so we’re not done fighting for increased funding in the School Finance Act. In fact, you can sign (and share) our petition to legislators right now.
Bills We’re Watching
HB19-1262 State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten
- Passed unanimously through the Senate Education committee on Wednesday morning
- Passed through the third reading on the House floor along party lines
- The next step for these bills is to get passed through the Senate
HB19-1194 School Discipline for Preschool through Second Grade
- Passed through the third reading on the Senate floor.
- Next, it will need to pass through the House.
What to Expect Before May 3
Things are going to be moving fast over the next two weeks and there will be many late nights for legislators and others at the Capitol. Bills are going to start passing on a daily basis.
Here is a great resource for keeping up on a day-to-day basis: ColoradoCapitolWatch.com – you don’t need an account to use the free version and the calendar is super helpful to let you know what’s going on every day!
Education Walk and Talk with Senator Bridges!
This week, Senator Bridges did a “walk and talk” on education funding issues in Colorado: why they exist and what the legislature is doing to correct them. Click on the image below to hear from him about what’s going on!