HB22-1202 (Herod & McCluskie/ Zenzinger & Coleman) School Finance Student Poverty Measure

Originally Posted: February 11, 2022
Last Updated: May 8, 2022


This bill establishes a process for creating a new measure to identify students at risk of poor academic outcomes due to economic disadvantage. This will allow the state’s school funding formula to more accurately allocate resources to serve those students. The new measure would consider the percentage of students certified as eligible for the federal school lunch program based on eligibility for other public benefit programs, supplemented by enrollment in the medical assistance program or the children’s basic health plan. It would also include neighborhood or community level socioeconomic factors linked to each student’s census block group. The bill also specifies the membership of a working group, which would convene to make recommendations for the implementation of the new at-risk measure in a future school year.


The Children’s Campaign supports this bill, and submitted comments to the School Finance Legislative Interim Committee supporting the approach it recommends. The experience of child poverty presents barriers to learning. To provide students from low-income families with the resources and opportunities to succeed, we must use an accurate measure of economic hardship. Unfortunately, our reliance on free and reduced-price lunch forms for school funding purposes has been a growing problem for years, and the pandemic made this especially apparent as we saw at-risk student counts decline dramatically. Because of Colorado’s high enrollment rate in Medicaid and CHP+, we believe that using Identified Student Percentage (ISP) supplemented with Medicaid would have the effect of automatically capturing a larger number of students who qualify for means-tested social services. We also see benefits to using a multi-pronged approach that includes student-centered neighborhood weights. For example, indicators such as parental educational attainment and home ownership rates have the potential to capture other measures that affect children’s educational trajectories.

Current Status

The bill was signed into law on May 3.

Previous Statuses

April 15, 2022

The bill passed out of the Senate on a vote of 32-1. It now heads to the governor for signature.

April 1, 2022

The bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee. Leslie Colwell, our Vice President of K-12 Education Initiatives, testified in support. The bill now heads to appropriations.  

March 25, 2022

The bill passed out of the House, unamended, after its third reading. It now heads to the Senate Education Committee, where it will be heard on March 31 at 1:30 p.m. 

March 4, 2022

This bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously and now heads to the House Appropriations Committee. Vice President of Education Initiatives, Leslie Colwell, testified in support.  

February 11, 2022

This bill was introduced and assigned to the House Education Committee.