Happy Friday! This week we saw the introduction of some new education bills along with the budget. Importantly, after an improved economic outlook, the general assembly has some extra money to work with and some of that is earmarked for schools. Keep reading to learn more.
On Monday, we kept our eyes on five bills that were introduced in the House:
- HB-1335, County Child Care Assistance Program Block Grants (Rep. D. Young, D-Greeley; Sen. K. Lundberg, R-Berthoud) was assigned to Appropriations . The bill would establish eligibility requirements and a new formula for block grants for counties in regard to the Colorado child care assistance program (CCCAP).
- HB-1341, Apprenticeship and Vocational Technical Training (Rep. J. Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge; Rep. P. Covarrubias, R-Brighton): It was assigned to the Education Committee. The bill requires the creation of an apprenticeship resource directory that would collect detailed information regarding apprenticeship programs in the state.
- HB-1322, 2018-2019 Long Appropriation Act (Rep. M. Hamner, D-Dillon; Sen. K. Lambert, R-Colorado Springs). The budget was passed by the House on Thursday with a significant amount of money added for school safety. We expect to see a different version of the bill when it goes through the Senate next week. The Joint Budget Committee will be responsible for negotiating the differences.
- HB-1331, Higher Education Open Educational Resources (Rep. D. Young, D-Greeley; Rep. B. Rankin, R-Carbondale; Sen. K. Lundberg, R-Berthoud) passed third reading in the House without amendments on Thursday. The bill would create a state open educational resources council and create a grant that supports the creation and use of open educational resources.
- HB-1332, Collaborative Educator Preparation Program Grants (Rep. M. Hamner, D-Dillon; Rep. B. Rankin, R-Carbondale; Sen. D. Moreno, D-Commerce City) passed third reading in the House without amendments on Thursday. The bill would create a grant program that supports collaborative educator preparation initiatives.
SB-200, Modifications to PERA Public Employees’ Retirement Association to Eliminate Unfunded Liability (Sen. J. Tate, R-Centennial; Sen. K. Priola, R-Henderson; Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder; Rep. D. Pabon, D-Denver), passed a third reading in the Senate on Tuesday and is awaiting introduction in the House.
We saw quite a bit of bill activity on Thursday. In addition to the movement of the bills introduced on Monday (as mentioned above), the House Committee on Judiciary heard HB-1269, Parent Notice For Student Safety And Protection (Rep. P. Lundeen, R-Monument; Rep. B. Pettersen, D-Lakewood; Sen. O. Hill, R-Colorado Springs; Sen. R. Fields, D-Aurora). Two bills were also sent to the Governor: SB-099, Align Early Childhood Quality Improvement Programs (Sen. M. Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs; Sen. K. Priola, R-Henderson; Rep. B. Pettersen, D-Lakewood; Rep. J. Wilson, R-Salida) and SB-160, Charter School Induction And Alternative Licensure Program (Sen. K. Lambert, R-Colorado Springs; Rep. M. Hamner, D-Dillon).
Next Monday, both HB-1277, BEST Building Excellent Schools Today Financial Assistance Grant (Rep. J. Becker, R-Fort Morgan; Rep. D. Esgar, D-Pueblo; Sen. R. Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs; Sen. J. Kefalas, D-Fort Collins) and SB-011, Students Excused From Taking State Assessments (Sen. C. Holbert, R-Parker; Sen. A. Kerr, D-Lakewood; Rep. T. Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada; Rep. P. Lundeen, R-Monument) will both go through a second reading in the House. SB-151, Colorado Department of Education Bullying Policies Research (Sen. K. Priola, R-Henderson; Sen. R. Fields, D-Aurora; Rep. J. Wilson, R-Salida; Rep. J. Buckner, D-Aurora) will go through a third reading in the House. The House Education Committee will go over HB-1232, New School Funding Distribution Formula (Rep. D. Young, D-Greeley; Sen. D. Coram, R-Montrose; Sen. A. Kerr, D-Lakewood) on Monday as well. The bill would create a new funding formula for preschool through secondary schools in Colorado.
On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will look at SB-158, School Access To Interoperable Communication Technology (Sen. D. Coram, R-Montrose; Sen. L. Garcia, D-Pueblo; Rep. C. Duran, D-Denver; Rep. M. Catlin, R-Montrose). SB-158 creates a grant program that would provide funding for communication systems between existing school systems and first responder communications system in with the goal of improving school safety.
Enjoy your spring weekend and watch out for pranks on April Fool’s Day! Come back for more legislative updates next week!