It’s nearing the end of May and in a normal year, legislative news should really be pretty quiet and boring. But as we all know, this is no normal year, because of COVID. News from the Governor’s office and General Assembly are constantly changing. Here’s a “quick and dirty” update with some links that you can turn to for more information:
According to Senator Rachel Zenzinger, a member of the Joint Budget Committee, Colorado’s revenue picture is worse in the state’s history, with projected revenue shortfall of $3.3 Billion, -25.3% of FY2019-20 expenditures.
To quote Senator Zenzinger: “We have deferred decisions that would make deep cuts to education, higher education, and human services until the end of our decision making, in order to make the greatest amount of progress as possible via other avenues.
The size of cuts to departments have been relative to the size of their General Fund impact.”
Because K-12 makes up 36% of General Fund spending, it will be greatly impacted.
We are still waiting to learn what will happen to the BS Factor.
What about the $510 M from the CARES Act?
According to the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), on May 18th, Governor Polis along with Democratic leadership in the house and senate announced they would be directing $510 Million to Colorado K-12 education from the CARES Act. Via executive order. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_8_umztQHPY2H26Wldam45wzFOQSwkHR/view,
Governor Polis mandated allocation of those funds:
- To be distributed on a per pupil basis by the Colorado Dept. of Education (with the exception of $25,000 to BOCES)
- Schools can expect to receive funds by the end of this week (May 22)
- Funds can only be used for COVID related expenses
- They may NOT be used to backfill budgetary shortages
- Expenses (to be eligible) must have occurred after March 1, 2020
- And must be expended by December 30, 2020
- Districts will be required to return a Notice of Award to the CDE within 2 weeks of receiving funds
School districts will receive more guidance from CDE in the coming days.
Based on CDE FY2019-20 data, Jeffco will receive $40,317,319.17 or $490.45 per pupil funding. But remember –
These are one-time funds and cannot be used to backfill state budget shortfall. The state (Legislators) cannot apply them to make up for the Budget Stabilization Factor. They will soften the blow of additional expenses schools have had due to COVID, but they will not solve the long-term structural issues facing our schools.
In short, we still and truly more than ever, need Fair Tax Colorado #271! http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/support-jeffco-kids-endorses-fair-tax-colorado-initiative-271/
If you want to help with this effort, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeffco Schools Budget
As of May 13th Jeffco’s district leadership were planning for a 12% reduction, about $74.3 million reduction.
Here is the presentation provided to board members from staff:
You can watch the video from that study session here:
These numbers will very likely change once the district factors in the funds they will receive from this latest CARES Act distribution. Stay tuned, it will continue to be a very rocky ride.
Did the Governor’s Executive Order on collecting signatures for petitions change anything, if I’m carrying a Fair Tax Colorado #271 petition?
What we know:
Governor Polis issued an executive order that would make it easier for ballot access by allowing for signature gathering through individual affidavits that do NOT require in-person contact with a petition circulator. Rules would still need to be established by the Secretary of State.
But don’t get too excited – that executive order is being challenged with a lawsuit. Though the initial challenge was denied, we anticipate this being appealed.
So, rather than put all our signatures at risk of being cancelled out as invalid because we jumped too fast to go with the executive order, everyone carrying a petition to gather signatures for Fair Tax Colorado #271 is being asked to continue just as you have.
If updated information the Secretary of State or Governor or results of the lawsuit are available, we will let you know. For not, Fair Tax Colorado is asking you to continue to gather signatures using the guidelines from Fair Tax Colorado:
Other SJK Articles on these topics:
JBC Update Budget Balancing Document: http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/jbc-update-budget-balancing-document/
Great Recession Cuts Comparison: http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/great-recession-cuts-comparison/