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2015 Legislation
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LPS Day at the Capitol

Please join us at the Capitol on Thursday, April 2!  We will have breakfast available and the guest speaker will be Henry Sobanet, Director of State Planning and Budgeting.

Please download the invitation flyer with all the details here.  Don't forget to RSVP to Nicole Moyer (nmoyer@lps.k12.co.us or 303-347-3378).  Carpool details are listed on the flyer.

 

PLEASE NOTE: There has been a room change for our Day at the Capitol event. The original flyer lists "Old Supreme Court Chamber" but we have been relocated to Senate Committee Room 356 (SCR 356) (still in the capitol building).  The flyer posted at the link above has been updated.

2015 Legislation

January 7th marked the beginning of the 2015 legislative session. Below is a bill report outlining the status of each bill introduced during the second regular session of the 70th convention of the Colorado General Assembly. Highlighted cells indicate changes from the previous day's bill report.

March 30, 2015 Bill Report Legal Size 

March 30, 2015 Bill Report Letter Size  

March 30, 2015 Bill Report Excel Spreasheet

 

2014 Legislative Digest from Colorado Consulting 

 

Here are a few items of interest for this session of the General Assembly:

How a Colorado Bill Becomes a Law

Letter to GA from Superintendents

Summary of Student Success Act 

 

Here are some links to useful information regarding school finance:

Explanation of School Finance 

Timeline of School Finance and Recent Major Reforms

 

 

 

 

For more information, please visit the Colorado General Assembly's website or Education News' website.

Weekly News

A PDF copy of the Weekly News can be downloaded here.

 

K–12 Legislative Narrative

March 23–27, 2015

 

Weekly Overview

 

With 28 weekdays remaining in the 2015 session, both chambers have been working to move hot-button issues through lengthy committee and floor hearings. Last week, the Senate gave final approval and sent SB15-045 Private School and Home School Tax Credits over to the House. On Monday, after hours of emotional testimony, the House Education Committee voted party lines to advance HB15-1165, a bill requiring schools with Native American mascots to seek official approval from a council of tribal authorities. That same House Education Democratic majority also voted to kill HB15-1196, which would have created an electronic school voucher system. Extensive hearing calendars still persist as the legislature enters its final weeks. Regarding K–12 education, the significant issue of assessment system modifications remains up in the air. 

 

Last week, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) finalized the fiscal year 2015–2016 budget package and introduced the Long Bill and accompanying legislation on Thursday. The committee made $141 million in cuts to their original budget allocations in order to balance the state budget with the anticipated state revenues, fund transfers, and TABOR refunds. Included in those cuts was a reduction to the K–12 negative factor buy-down from $75 million to $25 million. Additional debate about this amount is anticipated as the budget moves through the Senate this coming week and the House the following week. 

* See Upcoming Legislative Hearing Schedule for Senate details.

 

Review of Hearings this Week

 

Senate Education Committee

SB15-216 School District Exclusive Chartering Authority (Sen. Hill)

-          Status: Thu. 3/26/15 Senate Education referred amended to Senate Committee of the Whole

-          Vote: 6-3 (No Votes: Sens. Kerr (D), Merrifield (D), and Todd (D))

-          Summary: Testimony in opposition from school districts, CASE, and CASB brought forward concerns about the loss of exclusive chartering authority for districts working on the five year turnaround clock and the ability of the Charter School Institute (CSI) to adequately serve high numbers of at-risk students. Additional discussion focused around problems with putting state chartering authority rules and guidelines into statute. An amendment was passed to clarify that districts that have current memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the CSI are not subject to the bill’s provisions. Nine districts are currently on the turnaround clock and five of those have the required MOUs.

 

SB15-223 Remove Penalty when Parent Opts Child Out of Test (Sens. Holbert and Todd)

-          Status: Thu. 3/26/15 Senate Education referred amended to Senate Committee of the Whole

-          Vote: 8-1 (No Vote: Sen. Johnston (D))

-          Summary: The committee heard over five hours of testimony from parents and school districts in support of the bill. Limited opposition testimony came from education reform-oriented organizations concerned with the loss of metrics caused by widespread testing opt outs. Senate Education members supported the bill for two primary reasons: 1) Parents and students are continuing to opt out of standardized testing and teachers, schools, and districts continue to be liable for the assessment results; and 2) A strong belief in the right of parents to make educational decisions for their children. Questions about Title I funding and how opt-out and assessment system revision policies have fared in other states went largely unanswered. A minor amendment to require that schools inform parents about the ‘purpose and use’ of assessments was approved. The bill will now be debated on the Senate floor; its fate is uncertain in the House.

 

Introduced This Week

 

SB15-234 Fiscal Year 2015–2016 Long Bill (Sen. Lambert/Rep. Hamner)

-          Summary: State Budget for fiscal year 2015–2016

o   K–12 Education Total Appropriation = $5,395,441,471

o   Higher Education Total Appropriation = $3,731,739,272

 

SB15-244 Transfers Related to Federal Mineral Lease Recoupment (Sen. Grantham/Rep. Rankin)

-          Summary: In order to avoid the recoupment impacting water projects, school districts, and other local governments, SB15-244 requires the State Treasurer to transfer $7,788,866 from the General Fund to the State Public School Fund to be used for the support of the public schools of the state. 

 

HB15-1317 Pay for Success Contracts (Reps. Garnet and Rankin/Sens. Martinez Humenik and Johnston)

-          Summary: Establishes the Colorado Pay for Success Contracts Program. Pay for success contracts leverage private sector resources to implement social services programs that are likely, but not guaranteed, to generate subsequent direct or indirect reductions in government spending for other programs.

 

Upcoming Legislative Hearing Schedule

March 30–April 3, 2015

 

-          Monday, March 30

o   Senate Committee Hearing: Fiscal Year 2015–2016 Long Bill and Budget Package

o   Senate Appropriations, 12:00 p.m., SCR356

§  SB15-234 Long Appropriations Bill FY 2015–2016 (Sen. Lambert/Rep. Hamner)

§  SB15-235 Increasing Cap on Appropriation for School Lunches (Sen. Steadman)

o   House Education, 1:30 p.m., HCR0112

§  SB15-138 ASCENT Program Funding (Rep. Wilson)

-          Tuesday, March 31

o   Senate Caucus Meetings: Fiscal Year 2015–2016 Long Bill and Budget Package

-          Wednesday, April 1

o   Senate Second Reading: Fiscal Year 2015–2016 Long Bill and Budget Package

-          Thursday, April 2

o   Senate Third Reading: Fiscal Year 2015–2016 Long Bill and Budget Package

o   House Appropriations, 8:00 a.m., LSB-A

§  HB15-1146 Colorado Student Leaders Institute (Rep. Wilson)

 

Listen Live to Hearings

* Live stream legislative hearings - http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/cslFrontPages.nsf/Audio?OpenPage

 

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