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Press Releases: Charter School News

First-of-its-Kind Charter Funding Equalization Bill to Become Law

Wednesday, May 10, 2017  
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HOUSE BILL 17-1375 HEADS TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNATURE

DENVER -- A new piece of bipartisan legislation that will provide more equal distribution of local mill levy override (MLO) dollars to charter public schools will soon become law.


This is a significant step towards ensuring all public school students, regardless of the type of public school they attend, receive the equal funding they deserve. 

HB 17-1375 was introduced earlier this week. It incorporates many of the key components of Senate Bill 61, which was designed to provide a more equal share of local mill levy override dollars to charter public schools. 

Not only is this law a significant step towards public school funding equity in Colorado – no other similar law has ever passed in the United States. 

“We are incredibly thankful for the bipartisan effort that went into the creation and passage of HB 17-1375,” said Dan Schaller, Director of Governmental Affairs at the Colorado League of Charter Schools. “Bill sponsors Representatives Lang Sias and Brittany Pettersen, and Senators Owen Hill and Angela Williams should be commended for creating this historic piece of legislation that will help ensure that all of Colorado public school students receive equal funding for their public education regardless of what type of public school they attend.”

Currently, in Colorado, school districts are not required to share local revenue such as mill levy override dollars with their charter public schools. This has resulted in an approximately $34 million funding disparity between the state’s traditional public schools and charter public schools.

Currently, 115,000 students attend public charter schools in Colorado. This represents nearly 13% of total K-12 public school enrollment in the state. If Colorado charter public schools were combined into one school district, it would be the largest school district in the state. Yet, prior to the passage of HB 17-1375 only about one-third of Colorado school districts shared MLO revenues equitably with charter public school students. 

“Finally, district charter public school students across the state will receive a share of local mill levy override dollars that is more in line with what traditional public school students are receiving,” said Schaller.

Not resolved in HB17-1375, however, is the issue of local funding for charter public schools that are authorized by the Colorado Charter School Institute in lieu of a school district. HB17-1375 creates the structure for a fund to help equalize funding for CSI schools, but no money is appropriated under HB17-1375 toward the fund this year. It is estimated that it would take approximately $15 million to truly equalize funding for children attending CSI schools. 

The Colorado League of Charter Schools is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to supporting the charter public schools in the state. The League is committed to helping these schools reach higher levels of student performance and overall success by providing information and resources, including technical support, advocacy, and public relations assistance.

INFORMATION:  Stacy Rader, Director of Communications, Colorado League of Charter Schools, srader@coloradoleague.org or www.coloradoleague.org.

 

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