Senate Sends Bipartisan Compromise to Fund Schools Equally to Governor

DENVER--Today, the Senate passed Senator Owen Hill's bipartisan compromise to adequately fund all public schools in Colorado.
Currently, traditional district schools may withhold both mill levy revenue, or revenue remitted from property taxes, as well as 5 percent of per-pupil funding distributed.
House Bill 1375, sponsored by Senators Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Angela Williams (D-Denver), requires school districts to develop a plan by Fiscal Year 2019-2020 to equitably share mill levy revenue in a given district.  
Previous Republican-led attempts required districts to share both mill levy revenue as well as an equitable share of per pupil funding. This compromise asks districts to develop plans for sharing mill levies, while allowing them to continue to withhold 5 percent of per pupil revenue. 
According to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Colorado charter schools have experienced a 30 percent increase in enrollment since 2013, and tend to earn higher scores on state assessments than their district peers. Yet charter teachers tend to make 14,000 less than their counterparts annually, averaging a salary of $39,052. 
On average, 78 percent of charter students in third grade scored either proficient or advanced on reading assessments compared to only 73 percent of district students.
Charters also tend to attract a more socioeconomically diverse population of students, with the CDE reporting that nearly half of all charter students identify as a racial or ethnic minority, more than corresponding district schools. 
Colorado charters also tend to attract a significant population of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, a number that has grown steadily in recent years, halving the gap in representation since 2008.
HB 1375 aims to close these gaps between charter and district schools by providing highly achieving charter students, teachers, and classrooms with the equitable funding they need to continue to succeed.
"Five years ago, I began my time in the Senate. My priority is to always seek out new ways in which we can shift the focus on education in Colorado from a discussion about systems and institutions to one that emphasizes each students' individual needs, goals, and dreams," said Hill. "As the chair of the Senate Education Committee, and the proud father of four unique children, I am proud to deliver this compromise to Colorado families. We are one giant leap closer to putting Colorado's children and families first in all education decisions."
Senator Williams added:
"HB17-1375 is a bi-partisan compromise that first and foremost provides equitable funding for all Colorado's children no matter what type of school they attend," said Senator Williams. "The bill also improves our education system by requiring additional transparency and accountability from charter schools without creating additional burdens for schools. I am proud of the bill we passed this morning and the good that we have done for education in Colorado."
HB 1375 now continues on to the governor's desk. 


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