Senate Bill 61

There’s always a lot of chatter this time of year about school funding. In particular, every single year there are bills introduced at the Capitol (they’re also always nearly identical) to introduce vouchers and/or tax credits, even though it is unconstitutional in Colorado and Colorado voters have said NO very loudly to ballot issues twice in the past.

The other that comes up is funding charter schools equally. The past few sessions have brought up sharing of local district mill and bond dollars.

We’ll say it again, there’s a different between EQUAL and EQUITY. There’s an Action Item at the bottom of this, help us make calls and emails!

We need to have serious discussion about this topic so people really understand the funding issues. Choices can be great and the charters and options in Jeffco, in addition to strong neighborhood schools, make for a variety of programs to suit the needs of every child. However, the cost to educate children as individuals varies greatly. Every child has different needs and every area has different needs.

Senate Bill 61 brings up the topic yet again this year. Senate Education passed this today, March 13th. It now goes to the Senate as a whole to vote and then to House Education.

We have to ask you to contact your House Representatives about this. We ask you to contact ALL House Representatives about this to give your feedback.

In the grand plan for education funding and how pathetic our funding is in Colorado, this is just ridiculous. We end up taking away from some students to give more to others. We SHOULD be working together to advocate for more education funding for ALL Colorado students, not dividing our communities.

An Amendment was approved on SB61 that would force cash-strapped districts to run an election this fall to ask voters whether or not they want current mill levy revenue to go to charters. Regardless of the outcome of that election, districts would be forced to share any new revenue approved by voters with charter schools whether they need it or not.

This puts voters in a position this fall in which they could overwhelmingly ‘vote no’ on giving charters current local money, but then on the very same ballot, ask voters to approve a separate question that gives additional mill levy revenue to charter schools in a fixed amount.

There are many good charters in Colorado. There are also many good neighborhood schools. Charters get 100% of their PPF passed directly to them (less about 5% for services that districts provide for them, though the cost of those services is more than 5%.)

Charters also receive $277.98 per student for capitol funding (buildings), directly from the State from Marijuana funding. Neighborhood schools do not get those funds and must share approximately $40 Million per year in 178 school districts and can only apply for matching grants from the BEST funds. Charters are also able to obtain waivers from a variety of mandates that other schools cannot opt out from. This enables charters to operate their schools more economically through their independent choices and less expensively.

In Jeffco, we have always shared our mill and bond monies with charters. ALWAYS! There has always been a seat at the table for charters on the mill and bond campaigns and we’d like to see more parents helping advocate for ALL students. Not many show up to help and some have even advocated against mill and bond issues, even though they receive funds from the initiative.

Some districts have chosen to run mill and bond campaigns for items such as full-day kindergarten or other specifics such as a new high school. Diverting those funds would be ignoring the will of the voters in an already complex funding structure and with negative talk about charters that have failed (Edison is only one example) and for profit charter entities, this may negatively impact education funding for all students in Colorado.

Charters offer another option for families and a little over 10% of students in Colorado make the choice of a charter. There are good charters, please remember that. However, note what Senator Nancy Todd had to say, “Charter schools are not the silver bullet to solve our education issues. Let’s work together and not override local districts’ power.”



Local control allows all 178 school districts to use funding to operate in ways that suit their economic condition and the specific needs of their communities when it comes to mill and bond monies. SB61 doesn’t serve all Colorado students, it further separates students and produces more winners and more losers and adds to the division. No one should be picking and choosing on local control issues.

Please stop bills that divide our communities and allow local control, accountability, and transparency to serve communities.

Now make those calls and emails! Start with the ones on top in bold, those are the members of the House Education Committee. Please vote NO on SB61!

First Name Last Name Email Work Phone
Jeff Bridges 303-866-2921
Janet Buckner 303-866-2944
Justin Everett 303-866-2927
Tony Exum 303-866-3069
Alec Garnett 303-866-2911
Pete Lee 303-866-2932
Timothy Leonard 303-866-2582
Paul Lundeen 303-866-2924
Barbara McLachlan 303-866-2914
Clarice Navarro 303-866-2905
Brittany Pettersen 303-866-2939
Lang Sias 303-866-2962
James Wilson 303-866-2747
Jeni James Arndt 303-866-2917
Jon Becker J. 303-866-3706
KC Becker K. 303-866-2578
Susan Beckman 303-866-2953
Adrienne Benavidez 303-866-2964
Perry Buck 303-866-2907
Terri Carver 303-866-2191
Marc Catlin 303-866-2955
James Coleman 303-866-2909
Phil Covarrubias 303-866-2912
Jessie Danielson 303-866-5522
Crisanta Duran 303-866-2925
Daneya Esgar 303-866-2968
Mike Foote 303-866-2920
Joann Ginal 303-866-4569
Matt Gray 303-866-4667
Millie Hamner 303-866-2952
Chris Hansen 303-866-2967
Leslie Herod 303-866-2959
Edie Hooton 303-866-2915
Stephen Humphrey 303-866-2943
Dominique Jackson 303-866-3911
Chris Kennedy 303-866-2951
Tracy Kraft-Tharp 303-866-2950
Lois Landgraf 303-866-2946
Polly Lawrence 303-866-2935
Steve Lebsock 303-866-2931
Kimmi Lewis 303-866-2398
Larry Liston 303-866-2937
Susan Lontine 303-866-2966
Hugh McKean 303-866-2947
Jovan Melton 303-866-2919
Dafna Michaelson Jenet 303-866-2945
Diane Mitsch Bush 303-866-2923
Patrick Neville P. 303-866-5523
Dan Nordberg 303-866-2965
Dan Pabon 303-866-2954
Bob Rankin 303-866-2949
Kim Ransom 303-866-2933
Paul Rosenthal 303-866-2910
Lori Saine 303-866-2906
Joseph Salazar 303-866-2918
Jonathan Singer 303-866-2780
Dan Thurlow 303-866-3068
Donald Valdez 303-866-2916
Kevin Van Winkle 303-866-2936
Mike Weissman 303-866-2942
Yeulin Willett 303-866-2583
Dave Williams D. 303-866-5525
Faith Winter 303-866-2843
Cole Wist 303-866-5510
Dave Young 303-866-2929