A Modern Formula for Funding Our Schools

(April 29) – The House voted 37-28 this morning to modernize Colorado’s K-12 funding formula and make it more accountable.

SB13-213, sponsored in the House by Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon), is the first update since 1994 to the formula used each year to allocate state dollars to each of Colorado’s 178 school districts.

The bill mandates a base level of per-pupil funding for all school districts and ensures that dollars follow students to their schools. Subject to a statewide citizen initiative, the bill adds additional funding to disadvantaged districts to bring them up to par. It would also fund full-day kindergarten and increase support for at-risk students.

To elevate a K-12 education system that ranks among the worst-funded in the country and ensure that every child in Colorado has the resources to succeed, the bill will correct severe overall underfunding of public schools, reduce wide disparities in per-pupil funding, provide support for a series of unfunded reform mandates and cure our inability to address increasing demand from English language learners and other at-risk students.

Rep. Hamner told the House that the bill “puts in place the policy we need for education reform in Colorado and then puts the question right where it belongs, as per TABOR, in the hands of the people of Colorado to make the final decision.”

Because the bill was amended in the House, it will go back to the Senate for its concurrence.

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