GSTC Letter to Interim School Finance

We’ve shared the letter we wrote to the Interim Committee on School Finance –

Public Comment on School Finance

Now, we’re sharing the letter that the Great Schools, Thriving Communities Coalition wrote for public comment:

To: Colorado Legislative Council Staff

From: Great Schools Thriving Communities Coalition (see end of letter for full list of organizations)

Date: October 17, 2019

RE: Public Comment to the Interim Committee on School Finance

The currently available form that the Committee has published seeking public comment asks, in part, that respondents sort and rank selected factors and categoricals by need for change or desire for improvement. As a coalition, we believe that we must focus on a more adequate, equitable and sustainable formula while we also work  on the severe lack of funding our schools face. Due to insufficient and inequitable funding:

  1. Colorado students do not have adequate and/or equal access to critical educational opportunities, supports, and individual educational support;
  2. Colorado’s school districts are unable to support a highly professional teaching force, equitably available to all students;
  3. Unintended inequities among districts continue to grow;
  4. These issues are affecting students who need funding the most, including, but not limited to, special education, gifted and talented, students impacted by poverty, and students whose first language is not English; and,
  5. These issues are disproportionately affecting communities of color.

As our funding currently stands, we are not currently enabling all students to graduate ready for the workforce or post-secondary opportunities.

Additional revenue AND formula changes will be necessary to begin reversing these consequences and move Colorado closer to a public education system that works for every student. However, neither rearranging the current (or shrinking) pie, nor simply adding piecemeal resources to the existing formulas, is a solution.

While an examination of the current formula is required, we encourage you to:

  1. Study the work already completed by the Superintendents (contained in HB17-1262) as a research-based model for a more adequate and equitable formula; and,
  2. Work towards a solution to our continued funding challenges for public schools in our state, with open minds towards the idea that Colorado’s constitutional revenue and spending restrictions may need to be amended to secure the adequate revenues we seek.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit public comments to the Committee. We look forward to continuing to work directly with you to assist in the crafting of policy and political solutions towards these ends.