More Children Will Go To Preschool Because of Shool Finance Plan

Apr 12th @ 8:50 am in News by Scott Staley

CO State Senate Majority Office

More children will get to go to preschool because of school finance plan

PLEASE NOTE:  SB 13-260 is the traditional School Finance Bill, and it is what we reference in this press release.  SB 13-213 is the rewrite of the School Finance Act, and it does not affect FY 2013/2014, nor does it have anything to do with this press release.   

DENVER — Last night, the Senate Education committee hashed out the traditional school finance plan for K-12 public schools.  In addition to satisfying basic requirements to fund each student and categorical programs, the plan affords additional funding for early childhood education, special education, and charter school capital construction.

“As the economy continues to recover, we can begin to reverse the budget cuts K-12 education has endured over the past few years.  Given that education suffered nearly $1 billion in cuts, it’s a slow process to get to where we need to be, but we are making headway,” said Sen. Pat Steadman, JBC chair, and bill sponsor.

“This school finance plan is strategic about where we put additional funding in K-12.  We want to get as much bang for our buck as possible.  Investments in early childhood education, and special education, as well as reducing the billion-dollar deficit created over the past few years, will continue to pay dividends,” said Sen. Evie Hudak, Chair of Senate Education, and bill sponsor.

Here are the highlights in the traditional school finance plan:

  • Statewide average per pupil funding: raised to $6,646 per student, up from $6,479.
  • Allow 23,360 kids to participate in the Colorado preschool program, up by 3,200 kids.
  • Raise capital construction funding to $7 million for charter schools, up from $6 million.
  • Allocate an additional $20 million to special education.
  • Devote $16 million a year to early literacy programs to help kids learn to read by grade three.

About 180 school districts and the Charter School Institute rely on funding from the School Finance Act.  State funding provides for nearly 65 percent of education funding with about 35 percent from local governments.

The traditional school finance (SB 13-260) must now go to Senate Appropriations for a vote.