Education column: Spotlight on school finance
Across the Street
The Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee and both Senate and House education committees are holding a six-meeting series to investigate Colorado school finance in depth. I’ve been able to attend the meetings and hope to have them available at an easily accessible online location when the meetings are completed in April.
Last month I highlighted the first of those sessions. The second meeting spotlighted the relationship between property taxes and school funding. Andrew Reschovsky spoke about the Colorado school finance formula, property tax revenue, benefits of mill levy overrides and, of course, the negative factor. There were no conclusions, just the facts about the complicated and unique school finance formula in our state.
The third meeting was led by the Colorado Department of Education finance department’s Leanne Emm and Legislative Legal Services staff member Julie Pelegrin. Julie concluded “without voter approval” of constitutional change, “It’s unlikely the state will get out from under the negative factor.” Questions were posed for the next meeting. All meetings are open to the public and audioed on the state legislative website.
I’ve also been busy with board meetings, school visitations and conferences.
The Online and Blended Learning Conference emphasized technology as a tool to help students learn. Blended learning should open up opportunities for our rural areas where teacher led classroom courses may not be available. A bill supporting blended learning is currently moving through the legislative process.
The CASB (Colorado Association of School Boards) conference brought together local school board members from throughout the state. The entire state board participated on a panel and discussed top level issues. At this conference I was able to connect with, and learn about the challenges facing Pueblo’s superintendent and school board members. I also reconnected with Moffat, Archuleta, Mesa, Saguache and Telluride school board members. The conference offered me an opportunity to join with many who have the same concerns and challenges: the education of K-12 students.
It continues to be an honor to serve the Third Congressional District on the State Board of Education.
Joyce Rankin is a member of the State Board of Education. “Across the Street” will appear monthly.
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