Lawmakers Seek Equitable Funding for Charter Schools

Denver -- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together Thursday to call for an end to inequities in funding for Colorado’s charter schools and the 108,000 students they serve. They predicted bills would be coming in the days ahead, most likely on the Senate side of the General Assembly, aimed at ending those longstanding inequities.

"For more than twenty years, charter public schools have met student needs, lifted achievement, and demonstrated fresh approaches to education," said State Representative Angela Williams (D-Denver). "Yet they’ve been hindered by inequities. It is time to provide equitable financial support to charter school students."

Under current law, school districts can withhold funds from charter schools, leaving tens of thousands of students shortchanged on the resources received by non-charter peers. This creates a two-tiered education system in which charter school students receive only 80 percent of the per-pupil funding received by non-charter students. One of the bills would require local school districts to split mill levy override dollars equally with charter students and traditional public school students in their district.

"If all Colorado charter school students were combined into a single school district it would be the largest district in the state," said Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs). "No group of students should be systematically underfunded, but a group this large and vital to the health of our public school system certainly deserves a level, fair playing field."

Lawmakers believe the bills will be introduced by week's end. The Senate will take the lead because a funding fairness measure expected in the Democrat-majority House has not materialized.

Please contact Sean Paige at 719-337-0355 with any questions.

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