March 21, 2022

BILL TO BOOST FUNDING TO PREPARE AT-RISK STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS PASSES HOUSE

DENVER, CO – The House passed legislation today that would create a new method for identifying and serving at-risk students. HB22-1202 which passed by a vote of 48 to 17, would more accurately count at-risk students and direct additional resources to school districts that serve at-risk students. “We’re taking a modern, data-based approach to identify at-risk students so schools can better serve them,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “This bill creates a new holistic method for pinpointing at-risk students that goes beyond those eligible for free and reduced-price lunches to include data from Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus program. It also considers important neighborhood socioeconomic factors that can affect academic success including unhoused status, an incarcerated parent and English as a Second Language. Gathering this information is vital for getting school districts that serve at-risk students the funding they need." “We’re setting every Colorado student up for success,” said Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillion “Better serving Colorado’s at-risk students requires a multi-faceted approach and that includes considering more than just a few factors that might hinder academic success. This bill creates a new definition in the formula so Colorado can more accurately identify at-risk students and subsequently provide their school districts with more funding to meet their needs.” HB22-1202, sponsored by Representatives Julie McCluskie and Leslie Herod, would create a new method in the school finance formula to identify students who are at risk of below-average academic outcomes due to socioeconomic disadvantage or poverty. The new formula aims to better pinpoint at-risk students by considering multiple socioeconomic factors that affect them, including eligibility for free lunches, unhoused status and a neighborhood index status. Based on the new formula, school districts would be eligible for more state funding beginning in the 2023-24 school year to better prepare their at-risk students. A recent statewide poll revealed that 83% of respondents consider it important to provide resources and support to students who are falling behind so teachers can make sure every student has an opportunity to get back on track.