We Do NOT Have More Than Enough Money, Even If…

Again the other day, a person on social media noted “there’s more than enough money for our schools.” “Just get rid of testing and everything is solved!”

First, there’s an issue that not everyone agrees with eliminating testing (business community members are largely in favor of testing) and there is viable data that comes out of that testing that can be used beneficially to both parents and teachers and administrators. Should it be used in teacher/school/administrator evaluations – no. Should it be used to grade schools – absolutely not. Should it be the only data used – never!

A great example is the growth model that showed Denver 8th graders having a significant improvement in growth about 3 years ago which was reviewed in our district accountability committee. Of course, we went through a huge upheaval in our district and lost several high level staff doing that analysis work and, well, that work got lost somewhere. But it could have been an asset for districts across the state to find out why and possibly implement instruction that would have benefitted 8th graders everywhere.

Getting back to the “eliminate testing and it’s more than enough money” argument. Per the sources cited in the Denver Post article below as well as information on the CDE website for this past calendar year, that argument doesn’t even come close to holding water.


$36.8 million

Cost to the state for this spring’s tests

$7.7 million About how much of that is covered by federal funds

$8.1 million Estimated cost borne by districts to give the tests, not including staff time

$26.8 million How much the state says it will pay vendor Pearson in 2014-15 for PARCC and CMAS testing

Sources: Colorado Department of Education; Augenblick Palaick & Associates study


Even if Jeffco could have the funding for testing costs in the entire state (which would be unethical and unfair to other students in Colorado), it doesn’t come close to the needs.

Then let’s consider the fact that the “schools have enough money” argument has been proven wrong repeatedly by numerous organizations over the past 5 years. Even the Colorado Priorities campaign brought together a bipartisan effort of those aware that education funding has suffered severely.

Here again are just a few of the numerous sources to review:

The Principles of School Finance: What is a School Finance System? For more information on School Financeclick on the School Finance tab on the left side of this page. Introductory pages within School Finance tab:

  • School Finance 101 contains overview information on school finance;
  • Briefing Documents is a series of one and two-page documents with short descriptions on a variety of school finance related topics
  • School Finance 201 (created in August 2015) contains information about potential budget impacts to K-12 funding and budgets. The information in School Finance 201 was created to help districts and state education leaders prepare for what may happen with school finance and how it could impact Colorado’s school districts.

 From our friends at http://www.cosfp.org/:

July 2016

The Gap in Per Pupil Spending 2012-13 (audited data so lags behind current data) document is here.

2016-17 District Budget Cut Conversations – DRAFT – UPDATED 7/18/2016 – Subject to change as new information becomes available. Prior year District Budget Cut Conversations (FY 2009-10 through FY 2015-16, the negative factor years) is here.


The gap between Colorado’s per pupil spending in 2012-13 and the U.S. Average:

With the Negative Factor:
*    Colorado spent $ -2,053 less than the U.S. Average.
*    Ranking Colorado 40th in per pupil spending.

If Colorado with no Negative Factor:
*    Colorado would have spent $ -816 less than the U.S.
*    Ranking Colorado 28th in per pupil spending, below the
U.S. Average.

The gap between the average per pupil spending of the top 5 states
compared to the U.S. Average:

*    The top 5 per pupil spending states (New York, Alaska,
Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and Connecticut) spent $7,330 more than the U.S. Average.


Please help share this information people become better informed. Please click through and read the information so you can help dispel these rumors that negatively impact our kids and schools. If you want to Support Jeffco Kids, it’s more important than ever to speak up with the facts.