Briefing by the Joint Budget Committee per Joint Rule 25
COMMITTEE ON JOINT EDUCATION
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Representative Lee, chair, welcomed the committee and introduced the Joint Budget Committee (JBC). Representative Hamner introduced the members and the staff of the JBC. Representative Hamner discussed the upcoming six joint meetings relating to school finance. She spoke about the governor's proposed budget and issues relating to the budget request. She discussed local share of school finance and how those funds relate to state funding of schools. She went over revenue projections. Representative Hamner responded to questions from the committee. Representatives Hamner and Rankin disussed sources of funding for K-12 schools in Colorado. Representative Hamner described funding for special education programs. She discussed each of the funding requests in the JBC FY 2016-17 Staff Budget Briefing Summary. She spoke about Proposition BB, districts who can fund their entire funding formula through local share, and districts who refuse to repay their categorical funding buyback. Representative Hamner responded to questions regarding the categorical buyback and the three districts who refuse to repay: Pawnee, Genoa-Hugo, and Cripple Creek. Senator Steadman spoke about the future likelihood of districts who refuse to pay what they owe. Representative Hamner continued speaking about funding requests and legislation that was requested by JBC staff. She discussed the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program funding, and responded to questions from the committee regarding funding and teacher licensure fees. Representative Hamner discussed the recent supreme court decision regarding the negative factor.
Representative Young began the discussion of higher education. He spoke about the Governor's budget requests for higher education institutions and the Department of Higher Education (DHE). He responded to questions regarding Colorado's membership in the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) and continued speaking about the balance between tuition increases and state funding. Representative Young responded to questions regarding tuition increases. The committee continued discussing tuition. The committee discussed the reasons, other than state funding decreases, why tuition has decreased. They discussed early college high schools and other programs that help students complete degree programs more quickly. The committee discussed the provisions of House Bill 14-1319, which changed the higher education funding model for Colorado. Committee members also discussed concurrent enrollment.
JBC members responded to questions from the committee. Senator Lambert discussed JBC bills that may come to the education committees. Representative Rankin discussed History Colorado, the organization's audit and management issues, and its recent fiscal turnaround. He discussed the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, subsidized by the state. He stated that it has completely reorganized and is gaining new revenue, and that it is projected to be successful within three years.