Section 2 of the act increases the statewide base per pupil funding for the 2020-21 budget year by $132.08 to account for inflation of 1.9% for a new statewide base per pupil funding of $7,083.61. In addition, it sets the minimum statewide district total program funding amount for the 2020-21 budget at $7,230,448,891 and removes the requirement for the dollar amount of the budget stabilization factor to remain the same as during the 2019-20 budget year.
Section 3 makes changes to budget procedures for school districts, charter schools, and local college districts for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Under current law, a proposed school district budget must be submitted to the local board of education 30 days prior to July 1, the beginning of the budget year. The act requires the proposed budget to be submitted on or before June 25, 2020. Further, the act requires publication of the notice not later than June 25, 2020. Notice of the budget shall be posted for at least 2 business days.
Sections 4 and 5 repeal the required statutory appropriations of $250,000 for the 2020-21 budget year for both the school counselor corps grant program to assist students and families with completing state and federal financial aid forms and the computer science education grant program to increase enrollment or participation of traditionally underrepresented students in computer science education.
Sections 6 and 7:
- Reduce the state fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 appropriation from the public school capital construction assistance fund (assistance fund) for "Building Excellent Schools Today Act" program cash grants for public school capital construction from $160 million to $60 million;
- Transfer $100 million from the assistance fund to the state public school fund on July 1, 2020; and
- For FY 2020-21, divert revenue above the first $40 million received from the state retail marijuana excise tax from the assistance fund to the state public school fund.
Sections 8 through 12 suspend the implementation of the K-5 social and emotional health pilot program and make conforming changes to the dates for selecting pilot program participants, the pilot program coordinator, maintenance of effort requirements for the pilot districts, and the initial and final pilot program evaluations. The department of education (department) shall implement the pilot program subject to available appropriations or gifts, grants, or donations for the 3-year term of the pilot program. Further, the general assembly is not required to appropriate money for the pilot program for the 2020-21 state fiscal year but authorizes the general assembly to appropriate marijuana tax cash fund money for the pilot program in the future. The department may accept and expend gifts, grants, or donations for the pilot program. The repeal date of the program is extended by 10 years to allow for future implementation of the pilot program.
Sections 13 through 17 repeal the grow your own educator program.
Section 18 repeals the advanced placement incentives pilot program on July 1, 2020, instead of July 1, 2021.
Sections 19 and 20 require the state treasurer to transfer to the state education fund on July 1, 2020, $3.5 million from the early literacy fund and $11,831 from the Colorado teacher of the year fund.
Sections 21 through 23 repeal the school cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator training fund and the closing the achievement gap cash fund, which are inactive; requires the state treasurer to transfer all unexpended and unencumbered money in each of those funds to the state education fund; and makes conforming amendments.
Sections 24 through 27 require the state treasurer to transfer all unexpended and unencumbered money credited to each of the following funds to the state education fund:
- The great teachers and leaders fund on July 1, 2020;
- The nonpublic school fingerprint fund, as it existed prior to its repeal in 2006, on July 1, 2020;
- The student re-engagement grant program fund, as it existed prior to its repeal in 2019, on July 1, 2020;
- The retaining teachers fund on July 1, 2020; and
- The full-day kindergarten facility capital construction fund on June 30, 2020.
Section 28 requires the state treasurer to transfer any unexpended and unencumbered principal of the high-cost special education trust fund to the state public school fund on July 1, 2020.
Section 29 transfers $2.5 million from the marijuana tax cash fund to the state public school fund on July 1, 2020.
Sections 30 through 32 delay certain provisions of the local school food purchasing program by one year, including delaying the start of reimbursements to October 2021; the first report to on or before December 1, 2022; and the repeal of the program to January 1, 2024.
Sections 33 through 38 reset the total program mill levy for the 2020 property tax year for each school district as follows:
- If the school district has obtained voter approval to keep revenue that exceeds the constitutional limit, the lesser of: 27 mills; the number of mills necessary to fully fund the school district's total program; or the number of mills the school district would have levied in the preceding property tax year but for unauthorized reductions in the school district's mill levy after the school district received voter approval to retain excess revenue; or
- If the school district has not obtained voter approval to keep revenue that exceeds the constitutional limit, the lesser of: 27 mills; the number of mills levied in the preceding property tax year; or the number of mills that generates an amount of revenue that does not exceed the constitutional limit.
For the 2021 property tax year and each property tax year thereafter, each school district must levy the lesser of: 27 mills; the number of mills levied in the preceding property tax year; the number of mills necessary to fully fund the school district's total program; or if the school district has not obtained voter approval to keep revenue that exceeds the constitutional limit, the number of mills that generates an amount of revenue that does not exceed the constitutional limit.
In a property tax year in which a school district is required to levy more mills than it levied for the 2019 property tax year, the school district board of education must approve a tax credit in the amount of the increase in the number of mills. The amount of revenue attributable to the number of mills for which there is a tax credit is not included in calculating the school district's state share.
Section 39 increases the maximum total annual amount of lease payments from $110 million to $125 million for FY 2020-21 and for each state fiscal year thereafter for lease-purchase agreements entered into by the state for public school facility capital construction projects under the "Building Excellent Schools Today Act".
Section 40 requires the department, for the 2020-21 budget year only, to use student enrollment numbers for the 2018-19 budget year in calculating a local education provider's per-pupil intervention money under the READ Act.
Section 41 clarifies that students enrolled part-time in a kindergarten program are counted for school formula funding as 0.58 of a full-day pupil.
Section 42 authorizes 5-year-old first graders to receive full school finance formula funding.
Section 43 requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to convene education stakeholders to review the impact of the cancellation of assessments, accountability, accreditation, and educator evaluations for the 2019-20 school year and whether future modifications are needed for the accountability, accreditation, and educator evaluation systems as a result of, and in response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and possible further disruptions.
Section 44 authorizes the commissioner to expend appropriations to correct the underpayment of state funding to a school district, board of cooperative services, the state charter school institute, or to a group care facility or home due to errors in information certified to the department of education for the determination of state funding.
Sections 45 through 47 remove the requirement that the department determine the level of attainment on performance indicators achieved by each public school, each school district, the state charter school institute, and the state as a whole for the 2019-20 school year. In addition, the department shall not assign accreditation ratings for school districts or the state charter school institute, and shall not recommend improvement plans for public schools, for the 2020-21 school year. A school district, the state charter school institute, and schools shall continue to implement the plan type that was assigned for the 2019-20 school year.
Section 48 extends the June 1 deadline for written notice of contract nonrenewal to June 26, 2020, for probationary teachers employed by a school district on a full-time basis during the 2019-20 school year, so long as the recommendation for contract nonrenewal is for reasons relating to budgetary shortfalls.
Section 49 sweeps the revenue received by the state for the 2020-21 state fiscal year for natural resources purchased or extracted from state lands and the use of state lands that would otherwise go into the permanent school fund and instead places the revenue in the state public school fund for use for school finance.
The act includes the following in reductions in appropriations to the department of education (department) in the 2020-21 long bill:
- $15,000,000 decrease in the appropriation from the public school capital construction assistance fund to provide additional spending authority for lease payments (section 50);
- Decreases in general fund appropriations by (section 51):
- $675,255 and 0.4 FTE for local school food purchasing programs;
- $250,000 for the counselor corps grant program;
- $250,000 for computer science education grants;
- $22,933 and 0.3 FTE for the grow your own education program;
- $100,000,000 decrease in the appropriation from the public school capital construction assistance fund for cash grants (section 51);
- $2,500,000 decrease in the appropriation from the marijuana tax cash fund, and 1.0 FTE, for the K-5 social and emotional health program (section 51);
- $2,500,000 decrease in the appropriation from the retaining teachers fund, and 1.0 FTE, for the retaining teachers grant program (section 50);
- $262,763 decrease in the appropriation from the state education fund, and 0.3 FTE, for the advanced placement incentives pilot program (section 51); and
- $721,579,451 decrease in the appropriation from the general fund (section 52) for the state share of districts' total program funding.
Section 53 authorizes the use of up to $3,655,000 of appropriations to the department for ASCENT program funding for an estimated 500 pupils at a cost of $7,330 per pupil.
Section 54 appropriates $2,200,000 from the state public school fund to the department for audit recoveries and payments relating to school finance.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)