January 29, 2016

Dear Legislative Update reader:

On Wednesday, January 13, 2016, the Second Regular Session of the 70th Colorado General Assembly convened. It must adjourn, according to the terms of the state Constitution no later than Wednesday, May 11. During these 120 calendar days, school funding, student data privacy, and TABOR budget impacts are among the issues that state legislators are expected to focus on this year that will impact public education. Each of these issues has significant potential impacts on Boulder Valley School District.

Bruce pic3.pngA top priority remains to get more state funding for public schools in Colorado. During the past several years, a united group of superintendents representing the vast majority of Colorado's 178 public school districts has been working to develop a clearly stated position on this issue. In their statement delivered to the legislature for the 2016 session, superintendents urged the legislature not reverse the positive steps of the 2014 legislative session when there was a $110 million ($3.8 million to BVSD) buy down of what had become by then a $1.1 billion ($36 million to BVSD) annual shortfall in statewide school funding. In November 2015, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper proposed increasing the negative factor by $50 million ($1.75 million further under funding to BVSD) for the 2016-17 state education budget. Read the full 2016 Superintendent's Advocacy Letter.

For the first time since before the Great Recession, state tax revenues are expected to grow faster than the rate allowed by the 1992 TABOR Amendment. This voter-approved constitutional amendment requires refunds of all state tax revenue above TABOR’s annual state growth formula (population plus inflation percentage growth). This requirement limits the ability of state government to utilize increased revenue in strong economic times to lessen reductions during future economic downturns or to make up for previous state budget cuts.

The issue of student data privacy protection continues to garner attention from parents, students, teachers and administrators throughout the state. BVSD's chief information officer Andrew Moore has, through the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), been assisting in the drafting of bipartisan legislation that will seek to address parent and school district concerns. This legislation is expected to be introduced in February.

BVSD, along with most of the rest of the Colorado public education advocacy community, is strongly supporting legislative efforts to move revenues generated from the Hospital Provider fee (passed in 2009) to a separate enterprise fund where it should have been put in the first place. If successful, this would remove the fee revenue from the TABOR calculation of the State general fund and remove the need in the short term for a TABOR refund which would preserve the availability of more than $100 million for Colorado K-12 funding.

To learn more about what guides the position that BVSD takes on legislative questions, read the 2016 Legislative Platform, which the Boulder Valley Board of Education adopted during its January 12, 2016 meeting.

ChalkbeatCOLORADO​ covers PK-20 education issues throughout Colorado including one of the most in-depth and accurate PK-12 daily news to be found anywhere during the session.

This week, BVSD Communications draws your particular attention to an Jan. 10 story by reporter Todd Engdahl entitled,​ 

Policy Matters
Beginning with the February 5th edition of BVSD Legislative Update, we will provide an update on bills currently supported, opposed and monitored by BVSD.​

2016 Legislative Platform
Each year the Boulder Valley Board of Education approves a legislative platform that sets the district’s legislative priorities and guides the BVSD contract lobbying firm, Policy Matters, LLC, led by veteran lobbyists Tanya Kelly-Bowry and Ernestine Mondragon. BVSD’s effort is overseen by Superintendent Bruce Messinger and Communications and Legislative Policy Director Briggs Gamblin. School board members Tina Marquis of Boulder and Jennie Belval of Broomfield serve as the seven-member school board’s legislative liaisons. 

Contact your legislators
A list of legislators whose districts are wholly or partially within the boundaries of BVSD. ​

View the Legislative Update homepage for access to past issues. If you have any comments or questions, please contact me at​.​​​​​​