A Recap of HB1232

As Support Jeffco Kids, Shawna and I were honored to be invited by the superintendents to testify yesterday on HB1232.   If you’ve read some of our previous FB posts and website, you know it’s no secret we are strong supporters of this bill.

Keep in mind, the current formula was written in 1994.  Almost 25 years ago.  In 1994,

  • the year end close of the Dow was 3834; and
  • The first conference devoted entirely to the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web was held in San Francisco.

96% of the state’s 178 superintendents support this bill.  This means superintendents of large metro districts like Jeffco and Denver needed to come to the table with those superintendents from smaller, rural districts to develop a consensus for what is good for the state’s public ed students – ALL of them. This alone demonstrates their commitment to putting all of Colorado’s kids first.

This Chalkbeat article tells a lot about how things went during the hearing in the House Ed Committee.

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2018/04/02/lawmakers-delay-first-vote-on-overhaul-of-colorados-school-finance-formula/

But here are some things it does not tell you:

About the hearing –

We were appalled by some of the insinuations from committee members during their questioning of many of the superintendents who testified in support of the bill.   By the way, NO one testified in opposition and there were 4 hours of testimony. 

Ridiculous and insulting comments and questions from various legislators who sit on the committee were thrown at superintendents and others testifying:

A known conservative representative from Jeffco asked point blank why the assertion that more money for public education is necessary.  The state already provides a lot of money for public education.   Once again during his comments he referred to wanting “faster” and “better” in exchange for any additional funding.  Our thoughts:  we’re talking about children, not sports cars.

A representative from the Denver area implied the superintendents in El Paso County were all receiving large salaries, and perhaps there were too many school districts in El Paso County.  He seemed to have no interest in supporting or honoring this work which was over 3 years in the making.

Another representative known for his ultra conservative positions, challenged the superintendents’ ethics by implying they were all getting something for their agreement to support it.   The answer to that one is the superintendents were in fact looking to see more funds for their students, schools, and district via this formula, should the citizens’ initiative Great Schools Thriving Communities pass.

A representative from Jeffco seemed dead-set on applying the formula of HB1232 to current funding – Bill sponsor, Rep. Young and the superintendents have all very clearly stated (multiple times) to do that would create many losers which is not their intent.  Perhaps this representative does not understand the intention of the bill, or is he just looking to underfund more schools?

And yet, another representative asked what is “guarantee” the committee members had toward increased results with the passing of this bill and ultimate funding (should GSTC pass).   One school board member from Greeley, during his testimony, told the committee he didn’t know what adding more dollars to public ed would do because he’s never seen it. We couldn’t agree more.

Here’s the ordeal for the superintendents.  They are committed to the work they’ve done in coming up with this formula. They are not politicians; but they understand that politics are at play here, and worry desperately about putting at risk any additional funding for our schools from current legislation going through the process now (i.e. the Long Bill for one).

It’s not too late to contact your legislators about the need to make sure they follow through with the buy-down of the B.S. Factor and the proposed $35 million for security, as well as support  HB1232 for the future.  We encourage you to do that today.

For starters, here’s a link to the House Ed Committee: http://leg.colorado.gov/committees/education/2018-regular-session-0

 

“They say, if you want to know what a community values, look at how its children are treated.  If you want a sense of what a community hopes for the future, look at how it values its schools.”