Colorado Senate Republicans today welcomed the beginning of National School Choice Week 2014 and emphasized their dedication to providing school choice to Colorado’s parents and students.
“Parents from across Colorado send us to Denver as lawmakers to ensure that nearly 850,000 students receive a world-class education and school choice makes that possible for students from every background,” saidSenate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs). “Education is the key to economic opportunity and social advancement; however the Democrats in Denver would rather keep children in failing schools than allow parents an opportunity to send their kids to successful schools. The Democrats continue protecting the unions that fund their campaigns while victimizing our children.”
SB 33, a school choice tax credit bill, is the only school choice bill to be heard by committee so far this session and it was defeated by Senate Democrats on a 3-2 party line vote in committee.
To highlight their opposition to school choice, Senate Democrats sent SB 33 to the State Veteran and Military Affairs Committee, or what is known around the Capitol as the “Kill Committee” because Democrats send legislation there to die. The decision to send SB 33 to the “Kill Committee” not only sealed the legislation’s fate, but also prevented it from receiving the fair hearing it deserved in the Senate Education Committee.
“Senate Democrats are so radical in their opposition to school choice that they won’t even allow the issue a fair hearing at the capitol,” said the sponsor of SB 33, Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud). “With every day that Democrats continue to oppose school choice, they take choice away from parents who are only interested in giving their children the best educational opportunity available.”
Republican Senators have proposed a wide array of bills this legislative session aimed at ensuring school choice for parents and students in Colorado from inner city Denver to rural Colorado.
2014 Republican Legislation on School Choice:
SB 33 by Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) creates a tax credit for parents who choose to move their child from a public school to a private or home-based school. The tax credit will help families offset the cost of alternative education options.
SB 86 by Senator Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) creates the Charter school Capital Construction Revolving Loan Program to provide loans to charter schools that have been in existence for 4 or fewer years. The loans will help new charter schools grow by helping them purchase buildings or expand existing facilities.
Senator Mark Scheffel (R-Parker) will introduce a bill to allow established charter schools to use the state's credit rating to get better financing for building loans.
Senate Republicans will propose amendments to create greater equity between funding for traditional and charter schools in this year's School Finance Act.