HB21-1325 (McCluskie & Herod/Zenzinger & Rankin) Funding Public Schools Formula
The bill, as amended creates a Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance that would meet in the 2021 and 2022 legislative interims and consist of four senators and four representatives balanced by party. The bill lists specific topics for the committee to address and bring recommendations around in the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions, and commissions a study to explore alternative methods for measuring student economic disadvantage. The introduced version of HB-1325 included provisions to add students eligible for reduced-price lunch to those eligible for the “at-risk” weight in the funding formula, and created a new formula factor for English Language Learners that was funded with an eight percent weight. These two provisions were amended out of HB21-1325 and amended into the School Finance Act (HB21-268).
The Children’s Campaign supports the bill. Colorado’s school finance formula is more than a quarter century old and well past due for an overhaul. With real progress made this year to grow the amount of revenue available for education through the property tax system reforms in HB-1164, we are encouraged that there is finally an opportunity to make new, targeted investments. HB-1325 proposes addressing specific issues that would improve and make more student-centric our funding formula, like determining better methods for identifying and providing resources to support students’ economic disadvantage. The committee would also be charged with designing and recommending a state role for supporting low property wealth districts who successfully pass local mill levy overrides.
Passed third reading in the Senate on a vote of 34-0 and now heads to the Governor for signature.
June 4, 2021
The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously, where Vice President of Education Initiatives, Leslie Colwell, testified in support. It also passed the House Appropriations Committee and 2nd reading in the House, and is scheduled for 3rd reading next.