March 3, 2022

BILL TO INCREASE FUNDING TO SCHOOL TO PREPARE AT-RISK STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS PASSES COMMITTEE

DENVER, CO – The House Education Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and Julie McCluskie to create a new method for identifying and serving at-risk students that will count more students as at-risk and direct additional resources to school districts that serve a high population of at-risk students.

“Modernizing how Colorado identifies at-risk students is crucial to the success of our students, educators and schools,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “This bill creates a new formula for identifying at-risk students that goes beyond those eligible for free and reduced-price lunches to include neighborhood index and unhoused status, among other factors. We know when schools are provided with the proper funding, they can better serve our students. This bill would boost funding for school districts and help them prepare our students for success.”

“We’re focused on finding new ways to identify and serve at-risk students in Colorado so we can prepare them for success,” said Rep. Julie McCluskie D-Dillion “Our legislation takes a modern approach to pinpointing at-risk students by considering multiple factors that can hinder their academic performance. With this information, we can work together with school districts and help them pave the way to better meet the needs of their students.”

HB22-1202 which passed by a unanimous vote, 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 new 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.