May 12, 2016

Final Wrap Up: Legislature adjourns May 11 with key issues addressed in its final days

The Second Regular Session of the 70th Colorado General Assembly adjourned – per state constitutional requirement – on Wednesday, May 11. Passage of the 2016-17 amendments to the Colorado School Finance Act resulted in an average annual per pupil funding increase of $112 for next school year beginning July 1. This increase does not include any buy down of the existing statewide $831 million (approximately $30 million to BVSD) negative factor’s impact on Colorado public education funding. However, it does protect state K-12 funding from a statewide $50 million cut (approximately $1.75 million to BVSD) as originally proposed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in November 2015.

Creative structuring of the collection of the Hospital Provider Fee by the six-member Joint Budget Committee (JBC) and intense lobbying by a coalition of PK-12 supporters throughout Colorado combined to block further cuts to K-12 funding. Unfortunately, from the perspective of BVSD and Colorado public education advocates, the two possible approaches (House Bills 1420 and 1450) to moving the Hospital Provider Fee from state government’s general fund to its own enterprise fund were defeated in the Senate Education Committee on May 10 by identical 3-2 party line votes.

Failure to move the Hospital Provider Fee out of the general fund will, unless another solution is found, force the state government to return all general fund revenue above the TABOR limit at a time when educational, health care, and transportation needs are going unmet even though Colorado’s economic growth is, by all measures, among the highest of any state in the nation. Colorado PK-20 advocates, led by the grassroots organization Great Education Colorado, are expected to kick off an initiative campaign that, if successful, could create a 10-year timeout from TABOR limits for purpose of creating additional funds for PK-20 education, transportation, and health care.

House Bill 1423, concerning student data privacy, unanimously passed the Senate. The House concurred with the HB 1423 Senate amendments and re-passed the bill. It will be on Governor John Hickenlooper's desk for action soon. All indications are that he will sign it into law. BVSD, through the tireless leadership of BVSD Chief Information Officer Andrew Moore, was directly involved in the bill’s development and advocacy.

Because compromise language concerning charter school interaction with their respective school district was amended into the School Finance Act (HB 1422), two Senate bills (SB 187 & 188) were defeated May 10 in the House Education Committee.

On April 26, the BVSD Board of Education unanimously voted to formally oppose both SB 187 and SB 188.

Two high profile members of the legislative delegation whose district overlap BVSD boundaries – House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Gunbarrel) and Senate Assistant Minority Leader Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) – are coming to the end of distinguished legislative careers as both are term-limited. BVSD thanks Speaker Hullinghorst and Senator Heath for their commitment to Colorado students in general and BVSD students in particular.

The 71st Colorado General Assembly will be elected November 8, 2016 and convene January 11, 2017.

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 a May 9​, 2016 article by Todd Engdahl titled "Plan to reduce accountability paperwork clears the legislature."

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Policy Matters, LLC BVSD Bill Tracker
During each regular session (January - May) of the Colorado General Assembly, the Boulder Valley School District is represented on a day-to-day basis by Tanya Kelly-Bowry and Ernestine Mondragon of the firm Policy Matters, LLC. They regularly communicate with BVSD Superintendent Bruce Messinger and Director of Communications & Legislative Policy Briggs Gamblin. This is a link to an online bill tracking system for legislation being monitored by our district. 

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Understanding Colorado School Finance
Colorado supporters of PK-12 public education have found nonprofit Great Education Colorado to be a valuable resource both for important factual information concerning state funding of Colorado public schools and advocacy opportunities if interested. For the BVSD Weekly Legislative Bulletin's purposes, our focus will be setting context especially for those readers not yet familiar with the factors involved in Colorado state government's complex funding of public education across the state's 178 school districts. Colorado PK-12 Public Education Funding - Frequently Asked Questions.

​​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. 

​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 briggs.gamblin@bvsd.org​.​​​​​​