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January 12–January 16, 2015
Similar to the first few days of session, last week was also consumed primarily by procedural meetings, introductory sessions, and ceremonies. Governor John Hickenlooper and Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia were inaugurated for their second term on Tuesday, January 13, and the Governor delivered his annual State of the State speech on Thursday, January 15. In his speech, Governor Hickenlooper urged cautious funding commitments to both K–12 and higher education and asked legislators to be thoughtful when considering the future of the state’s standardized assessments system. Additionally, the Governor emphasized the necessity for quality teachers and leaders in schools across the state.
The legislature did not convene on Monday, January 19 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Committees will slowly begin to tackle less controversial legislation this week. Bills dealing with assessments are all being held until after the HB14-1202 committee presents its recommendations to the legislature at the end of January. The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) will spend the majority of the coming week finalizing supplemental recommendations to adjust the fiscal year 2014–2015 budget. No significant supplemental requests related to K–12 or higher education are anticipated.
Joint House and Senate Education and JBC Meeting
On Wednesday, January 14, the House and Senate Education committees met for the first time as a joint committee to hear updates from Legislative Council, the HB1202 Task Force, and the JBC. Former House Education Chair and current JBC freshmen Representative Millie Hamner (D, Summit County) updated her former committee on several items impacting the State Education Fund in the coming fiscal year 2015–2016.
Minimum State Aid
JBC staff has recommended the committee eliminate or extend the suspension of school district Minimum State Aid funding. Currently, statute requires that each Colorado school district receive a minimum amount of state funding (i.e., Minimum State Aid), notwithstanding the state and local shares of total program funding. This is calculated utilizing anticipated federal mineral lease revenues available for education, certain funds generated by the state public school lands, and interest and income earned on the permanent Public School Fund. Five districts (Clear Creek, Meeker, Cripple Creek, Platte Valley, and Pawnee) are eligible to receive a total of $363,079 in Minimum State Aid funding in fiscal year 2015–2016. The Minimum State Aid provision was suspended in 2010, which was the same year the Negative Factor was established. As a result, both provisions have not operated together in any School Finance Act. If the state’s share of total program funding increases to provide Minimum State Aid in fiscal year 2015-2016, the amount of the Negative Factor will increase, causing an overall funding reduction to the remaining 172 school districts. The JBC is expected to suspend the Minimum State Aid provision for another several years.
HB14-1202 Standards and Assessments Task Force
The HB14-1202 task force finished up its final meeting on Monday, January 12. Chairman and Durango Superintendent Dan Snowberger provided an update at the Joint Education Committee meeting on Wednesday on the remaining work plan but did not provide details on what the plan would contain. The final report will be presented to Joint Education on Wednesday, January 28.
A draft matrix of the HB14-1202 task force’s recommendations can be found at:
Federal Test Requirements Option for Local Education Providers (Rep. Jack Tate/Sen. NONE)
- Allows the governing board of a school district to adopt a resolution to administer the statewide assessments in English language arts, mathematics, and science only to the extent required by federal law.
Upcoming Legislative Hearing Schedule
January 20–23, 2015
- Wednesday, January 21
o Joint Meeting of House and Senate Education committees, upon adjournment, State Capitol Room 271
§ Unimplemented Audit Recommendations – State Audit Report
§ Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention Report – CDE
§ State Land Board Report
o House Finance, 1:30 p.m., LSB-A
§ HB15-1058 (Rep. J. Becker) - General Fund Surplus Transfers for Education
- Thursday, January 22
o Senate Education, SCR356, 1:30 p.m.
§ SB15-051 (Sen. Todd) - Students Appeal Process Injunctions
§ SB15-062 (Sen. Kerr) - Extend 6% Tuition Increase Restriction at Higher Education Institutions