bg

Five months ago Colorado schools were bracing for the worst. Here’s how much money they’ll get next year.

Five months ago Colorado schools were bracing for the worst. Here’s how much money they’ll get next year.

Despite gloomy economic forecasts, Colorado lawmakers managed to keep the state’s school funding shortfall from growing this year.

The state’s public schools will see on average an additional $242 per student next year after state lawmakers approved this year’s school finance bill Wednesday, the last day of the legislative session.

The state’s per pupil funding amount will be $6,546. The state will spend more than $6.5 billion in total on per pupil funding. Schools districts receive other funds for additional factors, such as their size and geographic location, and the number of at-risk students they serve.

An earlier change to how the state calculates property taxes made the increase possible.

“I think it was a great accomplishment for our schools that we were able to pass a budget that didn’t make the cuts that we had originally anticipated,” said state Rep. Millie Hamner, a Dillon Democrat and vice-chair of the Joint Budget Committee. “I remain fully committed to continuing the conversation around how Colorado can continue adequately and equitably funding our public schools.”

Lawmakers in both chambers agreed that this year’s budget process was one of the most complex and difficult in recent memory.

Even before the session started, Capitol observers and school districts worried about deep cuts. But as lawmakers got to work, the funding outlook became even more dire.

Officials began forecasting that the amount of money that goes to schools from local property taxes would decrease sharply. The state would have to find hundreds of millions of dollars — that it didn’t have — to make up the difference.

When the budget was first introduced, the state’s $828 million education funding shortfall would have increased by about $48 million.

But the State Board of Equalization made a technical adjustment to its formula that values commercial property tax. That gave lawmakers extra revenue to send to schools and the state’s education savings account.

The additional money didn’t stop this year’s school finance bill from becoming a political fight. Lawmakers in both chambers attempted to attach controversial amendments to the bill. But a bloc of Democratic senators forced their peers to remove provisions on charter schools that they didn’t like.

Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.

Got a tip? Story pitch? Send us an e-mail. Follow The Colorado Independent on Twitter.



About the Author

Nicholas Garcia, Chalkbeat Colorado

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

"Small Media, Big News"

- Founded, 2006. Born again, 2013.

THE HOME FRONT

THE HOME FRONT

Today's front pages from across Colorado

WIRETAP

WIRETAP

Must-reads from around the web

DONATE

KGNU Community Radio

Hear headlines from The Indy every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:55 pm

KEEP IN TOUCH

Just In

scroll
Read More

EVENTS

img
Dance like independent media depends on it!

We at The Indy aren’t big on rubber chicken dinners. But we love to dance. Join us on the evening of Friday, July 14th to […]

Read More

TWITTER

THE BLOGS

img
The Home Front: Pension tension in Colorado

“Colorado’s three largest public pension funds now have about a 40 percent chance of running out of money in the coming decades, putting the Public […]

Read More