May 8, 2015
Dear BVSD Weekly Legislative Update reader:

First Session of 70th Colorado General Assembly adjourns;
Second Regular Session will convene Jan. 6, 2016 
(UPDATED 5/8/2015) Early in the evening of Wednesday, May 6, the state legislature adjourned their current session on its 120th calendar day as required by the Colorado state constitution. House Bill 1323, a compromise concerning state student assessment reform, was passed. It fine-tunes some secondary state assessments but fell somewhat short of the reforms hoped for by Colorado school districts. Please see Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) Executive Director Bruce Caughey's analysis of the compromise here. Student data privacy protection legislation (Senate Bill 173) failed when the Senate rejected the House's amendments, and the House refused to back down from its version of the bill. Because a bill must pass both houses in identical form to be sent to the governor, SB 173 was lost.

On another front, the proposed state budget for the 2015-16 state fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) is passed. The 2015-16 amendments to the Colorado School Finance Act (Senate Bill 267) are headed to Governor Hickenlooper. SB 267 factors in a projected enrollment growth of approximately 11,000 students statewide and a cost of living increase for the 2015-16 state fiscal year pegged at 2.8 percent. Added to the normal increase for projected growth and inflation is an additional $25 million statewide (approximately $875,000 to BVSD) to further buy down the negative factor now determined annually to be approximately $890 million statewide ($31 million to BVSD). The negative factor is what was applied to the annual school finance act amendments during the Great Recession to account for the difference between what Colorado K-12 education should have received according to Amendment 23 of 2000 and the actual revenue available according to legislators. Colorado superintendents signed a letter urging $270 million ($70 million dedicated to high needs students) in additional funding to further buy down the annual impact of the legislature's negative factor in the under funding of Colorado K-12 education. 

Several readers of this newsletter have commented over the years just how difficult to understand the key issues surrounding our state's funding approach to public schools. If you or anyone you knows feels this way, I have an excellent suggestion. Go to the Great Education Colorado website. Once there, click on "Statistics & FAQs" which contains all the information that anyone getting started advocating for adequate Colorado public education funding will need.

On Tuesday, April 14, the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education unanimously passed Board Resolution 15-06 calling upon the Colorado General Assembly and Governor Hickenlooper to make further buy down of the negative factor a higher priority this session.

The Second Regular Session of the 70th Colorado General Assembly will convene Wednesday, January 6, 2016. 

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 May 6 story by reporter Todd Engdahl entitled,​ "Testing agreement comes in session’s final hours."

Current update on bills currently supported, opposed and monitored by BVSD.​

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. 

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​.​​​​​​