Capitol Week in Review

Legislation | 06/02/2021

Bri Buentello
Government Affairs Director

Legislative Update

After an affirmative opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court, the Senate passed HB21-1164, which directs the Colorado Department of Education to start phasing out the tax credits which disproportionately affect funding in lower-income school districts.

HB21-1325 was introduced in the House and will be heard in the House Education Committee next week. This bill aims to redesign and modernize Colorado’s school finance formula, prioritizing equity by 1) investing more in students who are economically disadvantaged and emerging bilingual students and 2) addressing inequities that arise from differences in local property wealth and mill levy override funding.

Governor Polis signed HB21-1103 into law. This bill creates standards for media literacy in reading, writing, and civics, providing guidance on what students need to be able to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate regarding media consumption.

HB21-1315, which eliminates fees associated with the juvenile justice system, passed out of the House on a vote of 38-23 and out of the Senate Finance Committee on a 6-1 vote.

HB21-1304, which creates the Department of Early Childhood Education is up for its third reading on the Senate floor next week.

HB21-1295, which would allow local school boards to have the final say regarding the authorization of charter schools, without any appeals process, was struck down in the House Education Committee on a vote of 5-4.

HB21-1214, which seeks to address some of the lifelong challenges that families face once they or a family member has encountered the criminal justice system, passed the Senate with a 24-11 vote and is now headed to the Governor to sign into law.

For a full list of education bills, check out Chalkbeat’s Colorado Education Bill Tracker.

Our Take

School Funding

Stand for Children Colorado applauds the nearly unanimous decision of our Supreme Court, and the quick action of Senate Leadership to pass HB21-1164 to implement this vital policy change in school finance for our kids! This is an important step towards correcting our school finance system to ensure equitable access and distribution of funding for our schools.

With the introduction of HB21-1325, we are excited to see long-awaited changes in school funding and believe it will help close the drastic financial disparities that exist within our Colorado classrooms. Stand applauds the courage of the sponsors to boldly take on this legislative challenge, and we are so excited to see the strong bipartisan support.

Take Action

Early childhood

HB21-1304, consolidates various early childhood programs currently scattered across multiple state agencies into the Colorado Department of Early Childhood to increase efficiency and better govern programs serving young children and families.


Massive Funding Headed to CO Schools--How Do YOU Want it Spent?

The American Rescue Plan, designed to help the nation recover from the financial devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, includes K-12 education. Colorado districts and schools are receiving a massive infusion of funding (more than $1.7 billion).

Take the poll: How do you want your school district to spend this money?

For More Information

Rep. Herod: Eliminating juvenile-justice fees means better justice for juveniles, Colorado Sun

Colorado Supreme Court clears way for property tax increases, more school funding, Chalkbeat

Colorado bill to expand school district power to reject charters fails, Chalkbeat

Colorado’s public colleges may be going test optional. Will it help more students graduate?, Chalkbeat

Colorado Education Bill Tracker, Chalkbeat

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