House OKs School Finance Reform Bill

(April 22) – The House gave preliminary voice-vote approval this afternoon to a bill 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.

Rep. Hamner described severe overall underfunding of public schools, wide disparities in per-pupil funding, a series of unfunded reform mandates and an inability to address increasing demand from English language learners and other at-risk students.

“Our current School Finance Act is not working,” Rep. Hamner told the House. “Senate Bill 213 has been designed to come to the rescue.”

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.

“There is nothing more important to Colorado than a well-educated population,” Rep. Hamner told the chamber. “We can and we should do better for our K-12 education system.”

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