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Funding Public Schools Formula

Concerning establishing a school finance legislative interim committee to consider changes to the method for funding public schools to improve student achievement, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2021 Regular Session
Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12)
Bill Summary

The bill makes the following changes to the "Public School Finance Act of 1994" (school finance formula), commencing with the 2021-22 budget year:

  • Modifies at-risk funding by adding pupils who are eligible for reduced-price lunch under the federal school lunch program, in addition to the free-lunch pupils in the existing definition, and removing from the definition of "at-risk pupils" the subset of English language learners who are currently included in the at-risk pupil count;
  • Adds a new English language learner funding factor to the school finance formula for all English language learners included in the prior year's pupil enrollment. The factor is 8% of per pupil funding multiplied by the English language learner enrollment, as defined in the bill.
  • Makes corresponding changes to the calculation of district total program funding, minimum per pupil funding, and the minimum per pupil funding base to reflect the school finance formula changes relating to English language learner factor funding; and
  • Makes a corresponding change to the statutory district total program amount to reflect the changes to the at-risk funding factor and the addition of the English language learner funding factor.

The bill includes the general assembly's finding that state education fund money may be used for the school finance formula changes in the bill.Beginning in the 2022-23 budget year, the bill directs the department of education to calculate an override mill match amount for distribution to each school district that is levying 27 mills for total program and that would have to levy more than 30 mills to reach the maximum amount of mill levy override revenue permitted by law. The bill specifies a formula for calculating the amount of the distributions. The bill creates the mill levy override match fund (fund) and the actual mill match amount distributed to school districts is subject to annual appropriations to the fund. A school district must distribute a portion of the override mill match amount that it receives to the charter schools of the school district in the same way it distributes mill levy override revenue.

The bill creates the legislative interim committee on school finance (interim committee). The interim committee will meet during the 2021 and the 2022 legislative interims and during the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions to approve legislation . The committee consists of 4 senators and 4 representatives with equal representation from each party. The bill specifies the issues the interim committee must consider. The interim committee may introduce up to a total of 5 bills, joint resolutions, and concurrent resolutions in each of the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions.

The interim committee will contract with a qualified third-party vendor to study approaches to better measure student economic disadvantage in Colorado in addition to or in lieu of using eligibility for the federal school lunch program as a proxy for at-risk students.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text