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February 29, 2024

Governor Polis, State Legislators & Educators Celebrate Historic Education Funding

DENVER - Today, Governor Polis, Speaker Julie McCluskie, Senate President Steve Fenberg, Representatives Jennifer Bacon and Barbara McLachlan, and Senators Rachel Zenzinger and Janet Buckner, joined educators and students to celebrate this year’s historic proposal to fully fund Colorado schools and eliminate the Budget Stabilization Factor. In November 2023, Governor Polis unveiled a budget that fully funds Colorado schools for the first time since 2009, providing teachers with the resources they need to ensure student success. 

“Supporting students by ensuring educators have the resources they need to succeed in helping every child get a world-class education strengthens Colorado’s future and creates more economic opportunities for all Coloradans. This year's historic education funding marks the beginning of a new era of education funding in Colorado and I thank the General Assembly for its partnership in this important effort. I am proud to deliver for our students and our educators,” said Governor Polis.

The Governor’s budget proposal, currently before the Joint Budget Committee for approval, fully funds the school finance formula through a K-12 program increase of $520.7 Million dollars, an average of $729 more per student or $16,000 for a classroom of 22 kids. This funding builds on the previous year's budget increase of $1,073 per student, totaling $11,399 per student for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. 

"I am proud to witness Colorado take this most vital step forward towards fully funding public education in our state,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of the Colorado Education Association. “This crucial investment is a step toward ensuring our educators have the resources and supports they need to provide students with the high-quality public education they deserve.”

“Today is an extraordinary milestone for Colorado’s public schools; we’re paying off the budget stabilization factor!,” said Speaker McCluskie, D-Dillon. “This massive accomplishment is a direct result of years of strategic, thoughtful governing and our unwavering commitment to fully funding our K-12 public schools. Paying off the budget stabilization factor means school districts across Colorado can continue to boost teacher pay, reduce classroom sizes and address the unique needs of our rural schools.”

"For too many years we have been shortchanging our kids and our schools, which is why I am thrilled to be a part of the team that is finally going to eliminate the BS factor once and for all," President Fenberg said. "Fully funding Colorado's schools will put us on a path towards paying teachers what their profession deserves, and will allow us to provide the much-needed classroom resources our students need to thrive."

“The students hit hardest by budget stabilization factor underfunding have been students of color and students in the districts that serve greater numbers of vulnerable students,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Bacon, D-Denver. “Throughout my legislative career, we’ve taken significant steps to pay off large portions of the budget stabilization factor, and now it is time to fully pay it off. While this is a monumental accomplishment, we’re also laying the groundwork now to drive funding toward our schools so that every student has the support, education and resources they need to thrive.”

“Buying down the budget stabilization factor honors our financial commitment to schools, teachers and students,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “While there is still progress that must be made to address the unique educational challenges of our K-12 public schools; buying down the budget stabilization factor is a huge accomplishment. We’re committed to championing future legislation that will continue to support our schools.” 

"Fully funding our schools and eliminating the BS factor is one of the main reasons I chose to run for the state senate, and every year I’ve been here I’ve fought tooth and nail to make it happen," Senator Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, said. "But I think we all know that today is really just the start. We’ve got so much more to do to truly fully fund our schools–not just meeting the bare minimum, but exceeding it, so we can invest more critical resources that will help reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, and provide a world class education for our children and youth."

“As Chair of the Senate Education Committee and a former educator, ensuring our schools and students have the resources they need is personal to me,” said Senator Janet Buckner, D-Aurora. “By eliminating the Budget Stabilization Factor and fully funding K-12 education, we’re opening the door to so many more opportunities to improve our schools, support our teachers, and make Colorado the best state in the nation to learn and grow.”

“Our teachers and students today, including my own child, only know underfunded schools; and one of the main reasons I ran for office was my passion for eliminating the budget stabilization factor in Colorado,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “This monumental achievement brings us up-to-date with our constitutional requirements for school funding, and sets us on a path forward to help reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, and support our students with diverse needs.” 

Governor Polis and the General Assembly have consistently worked together to increase funding and expand access to educational opportunities. From increasing per-pupil funding by $3,276 per student since Governor Polis took office to providing free full-day kindergarten and free Universal Preschool, Governor Polis and the General Assembly have saved Colorado families money while giving Colorado’s students and teachers the tools and resources they need to thrive.

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