February 5, 2016

Dear Legislative Update reader: Legislators take on challenging 2016 agenda

Slightly more than three weeks into the 2016 Colorado legislative session, school funding and TABOR are, as expected, emerging as the issues that will impact public education. Each of these issues is important to BVSD.

Funding: During the past year, BVSD Superintendent Bruce Messinger has been working with other Colorado superintendents to develop a clearly stated position on this issue. Dr. Messinger currently serves as the legislative committee co-chair for the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) and is a grassroots organizer of more than 165 of the state’s 178 superintendents dedicated to ultimately restoring the more than $870 million ($30 million to BVSD) in annual statewide K-12 funding cuts that began during the Great Recession (2007-2013). In 2014, the superintendents and other K-12 allies were successful in buying down $110 million ($3.8 million for BVSD) of the annual negative factor. In 2016, due to the possibility of state refunds being required due to the TABOR Amendment of 1992, Governor Hickenlooper has proposed increasing the negative factor for 2016-17 by $50 million ($1.8 million from BVSD). BVSD, Colorado superintendents, the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), and the Colorado Education (CEA) are lobbying hard to maintain the buy down victory of 2014.

TABOR: 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 growth plus inflation percentage growth). This requirement limits the ability of state government to lessen reductions during future economic downturns or to make up for previous state budget cuts. There will be a legislative effort, led by Governor Hickenlooper and Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Gunbarrel), to move these fees collected under the Hospital Provider Fee to an enterprise fund. If successful, this move would alleviate the need for State general fund cuts for at least the next few years until a more long term fix can be found for Colorado's dysfunctional State constitutional provisions that both require spending increases in some areas while also requiring tax revenue refunds.

Student data protection: Bipartisan legislation is being drafted attempting to protect the privacy of data related to students while still allowing school districts the necessary information to measure the effectiveness of efforts to increase academic achievement. More on this bill after it is introduced.

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 Feb. 5 story by reporter Todd Engdahl entitled,​ "Lawmakers go back to class on school funding."

Policy Matters
Beginning with the February 12th 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​.​​​​​​