First regular session of the 72nd General Assembly convenes in January
The first regular session of the 72nd General Assembly convened Jan. 4, 2019.
Democrats lead both chambers of the Legislature, as well as the executive branch with the election of Governor Jared Polis. Democrats also regained control of all the statewide offices in Colorado.
Colorado school districts are on track for a funding increase in Governor Hickenlooper’s Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget request, the last of his administration, which ends in January 2019.
Total program funding, the amount of state and local revenues allocated for basic school operating costs, received an increase of $356.3 million in the budget request. This amounts to a per pupil increase of 4.4 percent or $357.81.
That includes a $77 million reduction in the Budget Stabilization (BS) Factor – the term lawmakers use for what used to be called the Negative Factor. The BS Factor takes away money intended for education and reduces revenue for all Colorado districts. The proposed reduction in the BS Factor would bring it to $595.4 million in 2019-20, a new low.
The BS/negative factor represents the difference between what full K-12 funding would be under the Amendment 23 formula and what the Legislature decides school funding actually will be in a given year.
The newly-elected governor will have the opportunity to make changes to Hickenlooper’s budget proposal. Additionally, the numbers listed above will change in the coming months when enrollment numbers are revised, the inflation rate is set and the local share from property taxes is determined. The Joint Budget Committee typically sets the final numbers for school finance in March.
Governor-Elect Polis has made it a campaign promise to deliver statewide full-day kindergarten to Colorado. The dollar amount to fully fund full-day kindergarten is estimated at well over $200 million dollars. This estimate does not include capital costs for the school districts that would need to expand facility space to accommodate full-day kindergarten. The Legislature is currently exploring options for funding this proposal.