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April 27, 2023

House Education Committee Passes School Finance Act and Support for Preschool Providers

The 2023 School Finance Act invests a record $665 million more toward K-12 public education, commits to buying down the Budget Stabilization Factor in the 2024-25 school year

DENVER, CO – The House Education Committee today passed the 2023 School Finance Act, increasing per pupil funding by $1,018. This record investment toward K-12 public schools also reduces the Budget Stabilization Factor by $180 million, mapping out a course to eliminate the Budget Stabilization Factor by the 2024-2025 school year. 

“The 2023 School Finance Act is another record investment in our public schools that will improve educational outcomes for students,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, Chair of the House Education Committee, D-Durango. “This bill increases per pupil funding by more than $1,000 per student, and sets us on a path to eliminate the Budget Stabilization Factor in the next two years. I’m also pleased that this legislation allocates more than $30 million specifically for rural school districts to help them hire more qualified teachers and set our students up for success. This bill reaffirms our commitment to funding and supporting our students, teachers, and schools.” 

“This year’s School Finance Act invests $665 million more in Colorado’s K-12 public schools to reduce classroom sizes, increase teacher pay and ensure schools have the resources they need to provide every student the high quality education they deserve,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins. “A strong public education system is essential for the future of our state, and this bill will improve our schools by increasing support for students and teachers while putting  us on a sustainable path to fully fund K-12 education. I’m proud to champion this legislation that sets up our students to thrive.”

2023 School Finance Act: SB23-287, sponsored by Representatives Barbara McLachlan and Cathy Kipp, passed committee unanimously. This bill invests a record-breaking $665 million more in total program funding and raises the statewide average of per pupil funding by $1,018, up to $10,614 per pupil. It reduces the Budget Stabilization Factor by $180 million, while committing lawmakers to fully eliminating the Budget Stabilization Factor for the 2024-2025 school year.

With this funding, school districts can reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, and provide individualized support to help students succeed. Additional allocations include:

  • $30 million specifically for large and small rural schools

  • $10 million toward special education preschool support

  • $1 million for gifted and talented universal screening for students 

  • $500,000 to support English language learning students and the translation of Individualized Education Programs program documents within special education

  • $300,000 to reimburse schools for expenses related to replacing an American Indian mascot

Supporting Universal Preschool Providers: The House Education Committee also passed SB23-269 unanimously. Sponsored by Representative Meghan Lukens and Mary Bradfield, this bill invests $2.5 million in bonus payments for Universal Preschool (UPK) providers to support their programs, staff and facilities.  

“As Colorado gears up for Universal Preschool, providers across the state have been working tirelessly to support our youngest learners,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs. “This bipartisan bill will help recruit more providers and will send UPK providers a bonus to help them renovate spaces, purchase new educational materials, and support their staff. Each and every participating provider is vital to implementing UPK, and we’re grateful for all the effort and planning that goes into educating our children.”

This bill would provide one-time bonus payments for early childhood care providers participating in Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program. The bonuses must be used to implement the UPK, or to maintain or expand infant and toddler care capacity. This bill will help ensure there are enough providers in the state so all families who want to participate in UPK can choose the right setting for their child, and provides support to child care providers in licensed community-based and home-based programs who are participating in state-run preschools for the first time. 

Yesterday, the Polis administration announced that more than 25,000 families who signed up for the first round of UPK Colorado have been matched with a provider, with more than 90-percent being matched with one of their top five providers. It is estimated that families who participate in UPK Colorado will save $6,000 per year. UPK sign up is available online on a rolling basis. 

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