Happy Day 101! We have officially broken 100 days of session and the end is (almost) in sight. With less than three weeks remaining in the legislative session, bills are still being introduced and will need to be rushed to make it to the Governor’s desk. Hospital provider fee legislation, sponsored by Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder), will likely undergo a marathon hearing on Monday; a number of education bills are also just starting to see movement. For daily updates on Capitol proceedings and stories happening around the state, follow us on Twitter!
Under the Gold Dome
On April 21, SB16-187 and SB16-188, both sponsored by Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) were heard in the Senate Education Committee. As an overview, SB 188 would require districts to share revenues from mill levies equally between traditional and charter schools, while SB 187 seeks to allow charter schools to submit school performance plans every two years, rather than annually. Charter schools are public schools just like any other district-run school—they are either authorized by the district or Colorado’s Charter School Institute. Both bills passed the Senate Education Committee on a 6-3 vote.
The House Education Committee briefly heard HB16-1099 by Rep. Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) on April 18. The bill, which was postponed indefinitely at the request of the sponsor, sought to repeal the mutual consent provision of SB 191 and initiate “forced placement” of teachers. If this bill had been enacted, districts that undergo a reduction-in-force (RIF) due to budget changes or lower school enrollment would have been required to “force place” teachers at a new schools regardless of whether the school or teacher felt comfortable with the placement.
On April 27, the Senate Education Committee will discuss HB16-1423 by Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs). The bill, which passed the House unanimously, would to give guidelines to schools and districts about how they should maintain the security of a student’s personally identifiable information. Not only would software providers be unable to sell such information, the bill also sets requirements around how student data is destroyed after a contract ends.
The Senate Education Committee will hear HB16-1422 (School Finance Act) by Sen. Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) on April 28. The legislation, crafted by members of the Joint Budget Committee, was able to avoid another funding shortfall, holding the negative factor to $831 million and increasing average per-pupil funding to $7,424. Overall, we are pleased that education funding remained intact, and will continue to track the School Finance Act’s progress as it makes its way through the Senate.