(April 24) – The House Education Committee voted 11-2 today to approve the annual school finance bill, which appropriates state funds to Colorado’s K-12 schools and related programs.
SB13-260, sponsored by Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon), increases state support for local school districts by $51.8 million. This increase represents a small step toward reducing the K-12 funding shortfall created by the Great Recession.
“We’re still not out of the woods,” Rep. Hamner said, “but I’m pleased we can finally start reinvesting in public education this year.”
The bill also increases funding for special education and early literacy programs, charter school facilities, and the Colorado Preschool Program, and invests in a quality teacher recruitment program designed to attract great teachers to schools across Colorado that have struggled to recruit or retain highly qualified teachers.
“These increased investments are important parts of the big picture for education in Colorado,” Rep. Hamner said.
The bill moves on to the Appropriations Committee.
While SB-260 deals with funding for the 2013-14 year, Rep. Hamner is also sponsoring SB13-213, which reforms the school funding formula for future years. SB13-213 passed second reading in the House on Monday and will be up for a final vote soon. The bill will only be enacted if voters approve a ballot initiative this November to fund the program.
“I am committed to improving education for all of Colorado’s kids, both now and in the future,” Rep. Hamner said. “Senate Bill 260 begins to address the problem by increasing state support for our local schools next year, and I’m hopeful that the voters will agree to increase this investment in future years.”