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January 23, 2015

Almost three weeks into the 2015 Colorado legislative session, school funding, student assessments, school safety 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 an grassroots organizer of nearly all of the state’s 178 superintendents dedicated to restoring the nearly $900 million in statewide K-12 funding cuts experienced during the Great Recession. Please read the statement delivered to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee in November, as superintendents requested additional funding for public education and requested funding allocation decisions be made by local boards of education. Read the full Colorado Superintendent’s Position Statement on School Funding.

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 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.

ASSESSMENTS: BVSD believes that there is benefit to using quality appropriate assessments to determine the performance of all students which should inform educational strategies, investment of resources and opportunities for students. However, present state assessment requirements are excessive and distract from quality instructional time. The final recommendations of the Colorado student assessment task force are due to the legislature January 31.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Legislation is being drafted requiring increased reporting of student discipline due to concerns by some legislators that Colorado’s school personnel do not consistently report discipline and there is a lack of public transparency. There is a significant challenge to establish common criteria, interpretation and reporting across all schools in Colorado. It is a fine balance between maintaining appropriate levels of privacy as students work through social/emotional issues with school personnel/family and the need for the public to know all activity that takes place in a school setting.

To learn more about what guides the position that BVSD takes on legislative questions, read the 2015 BVSD Legislative Platform which the Boulder Valley Board of Education adopted during its Dec. 9, 2014, regularly scheduled meeting.

January 23, 2015Policy matters graphic.jpg
Policy Matters features links to Bills introduced since the current legislative session convened on January 7. They are under review by BVSD administrative leadership to determine what, if any, position they would recommend to the superintendent the district take. Beginning with the February 1, 2015 update, it can be expected that bills will start to be sorted into “Support,” “Oppose,” “Monitor,” or “No Position.” As bills are amended, the BVSD position could change. If a bill is defeated in committee action, the motion is to “postpone indefinitely,” which, in legislative lobbying jargon is simply too as, “PI.” If a bill is defeated on the House or Senate floor, it is referred to as “Lost.” ​

BVSD Communications is grateful to ChalkbeatCOLORADO co-founder Alan Gottlieb for his kind permission to cite stories in this exceptional online news publication. It 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 January 19 story by reporter Todd Engdahl entitled, "Testing, standards bills keep piling up." ​

2015 BVSD Legislative Platform.pdf2015 BVSD 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