Governor’s budget proposal calls for funding for schools

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 1:00pm

Joint Budget Committee will make final budget determinations in March 2018

The second regular session of the 71st Colorado General Assembly will convene on Jan. 10, 2018. Legislators have already started working on bills they’d like to introduce. The 2018 legislative session will fall on an election year and that will likely complicate the politics of the session.

Governor Hickenlooper is constitutionally required to submit a budget request each year on Nov. 1. For Fiscal Year 2018-19, the increases in spending included in the request reflect a stronger economy and increased state revenues as a result. Both the Governor’s Office and Legislative Council forecast continued modest growth for the overall economy.

This is Hickenlooper’s last “full” budget proposal, and the 2018-19 budget is the last one his administration will implement after the budget year begins July 1, 2018. He will have to submit a FY 2019-20 budget plan on Nov. 1, 2018, just before the election that will choose his successor. But the governor-elect will have the opportunity to make modifications when the 2019 legislative session starts.

For K-12 education, the request is a real sign of some relief, as last year at this time, school districts were facing deep cuts from the state. The following are the highlights of the request for K-12 education:

  • Total program funding totals $6.9 billion statewide, a 5.2 percent increase. Per pupil funding would increase $343 per student or 4.5 percent.
  • The Budget Stabilization Factor (previously known as the “negative factor”) would be reduced by $70 million to $758.3 million.
  • The State Education Fund would be left with a reserve of $105.9 million.
  • An $8.9 million increase for categorical funding (includes funding for vocational education, special education, transportation, and gifted and talented).
  • An $11 million appropriation to equalize mill levy funding for the Charter School Institute.

The Joint Budget Committee will make final budget determinations in March 2018. Until then, the state will receive two more economic forecasts and the March forecast will be used to balance the final budget that is submitted to the Legislature. The Executive request is merely a starting point for the budget committee to begin its work in crafting a balanced budget.