Legislature passes several bills to boost education funding

Friday, May 17, 2019 - 11:45am

Additional money put toward special education and to fund full-day kindergarten

As in many years at the Capitol, several important education bills came down to the last few days of the legislative session. May 3, 2019 marked the last day of the 120 day session. K-12 education saw many positive outcomes in terms of state funding that was appropriated by the Colorado Legislature.

SB 19-246 (Public School Finance) – This is the annual School Finance Act. As school districts across Colorado continue to recover from state funding shortfalls due to the Great Recession of the late 2000s, the Colorado Legislature pledged additional dollars to education to lessen that burden. Aside from funding for full-day kindergarten, Adams 12 Five Star Schools will receive almost $12 million more in state revenue through the Legislature’s passage of the School Finance Act. In addition to this, the Legislature invested additional dollars in special education funding, which will mean $1.1 million more for special education in the Five Star District.

HB 19-1262 (State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten) – One of the biggest and most anticipated initiatives of the year was Governor Polis’ full-day kindergarten bill. Following up on a campaign promise, Polis was able to get this bill through the Legislature with unanimous support. School districts will now be funded to provide full-day kindergarten across the state. Governor Polis is scheduled to sign the bill into law on May 21, 2019.

HB 19-1055 (Public School Capital Construction Financial Assistance) – This bill provides $25 million statewide from the BEST fund to pay for full-day kindergarten implementation costs and about $4.9 million for charter school facilities costs. The bill also raises the limits for what the BEST board can spend this year on both cash grants and lease-purchase projects for school district capital construction. It too is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Through this bill, Adams 12 Five Star Schools anticipates receiving about $1 million in one-time dollars to implement full-day kindergarten. This funding will pay for additional furniture, equipment and any modifications that need to be made to current rooms in schools.