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Founded in 1995, the Colorado School Finance Project (CSFP) is a non-profit whose mission is to compile, collect and distribute research-based, non-partisan information and data on topics related to school finance for state and local policy makers.

School Finance Interim Committee:

Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance 2018 Interim Committee state website. Includes links to committee documents, committee schedule & meeting materials, HB17-1340 and committee members. CSFP's webpage for Interim Committee information is here.

Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance 2017 Interim Committee state website HB17-1340, 1340 Interim Committee. Includes links to committee documents, committee schedule & meeting materials, HB17-1340 and committee members. CSFP's webpage for Interim Committee information is here.

Other Interim Committees for 2018 - CSFP's webpage for Interim Committee information is here.

Committee on Alternatives to the Gallagher Amendment Interim Study Committee Colorado General Assembly website

School Safety & Youth in Crisis Committee Colorado General Assembly website

School Start Time Interim Committee Colorado General Assembly website


What We Are Reading - articles worth reading


July 2018

High Achieving States Across 6 Benchmarks: Summary of academic rankings of the top 10 states incorporating 6 benchmarks sourced from a variety of sources: ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), McKinsey/US News - Best States, and EdWeek, Quality Counts.


CASE DBO Presentation: School Finance: Now What? Amendment 73

July 13, 2018 Gallagher Interim Committee Meeting
- CSFP Interim Committee information is available on CSFP's Interim Committee page.

October 3, 2018

August 21, 2018

July 18, 2018

Agenda July 13, 2018


June 2018

June 2018 Forecast


CSFP was asked to provide additional detail regarding the individual district impact of Great Schools Thriving Communites (GSTC):

  1. Comparison of Current School Finance Act and Great Schools Thriving Communities
  2. Modeling Narrative
  3. Districts Mills Needed to Raise GSTC Amounts


Quality Counts 2018 (2015 audited data) - CSFP 2-page document containing the following charts:

  1. Chart on Colorado and the United States Per Pupil Expenditures - above / below the U.S. Average
  2. Percent of Students in Districts with Per Pupil Expenditures At or Above the U.S. Average

May 2018

A Decade of Colorado K-12 School Funding Cuts 2018-19 to 2009-10 (PDF) by county, district (inclusive of mid-year cuts, state budget stabilization, negative factor, and budget stabilization factor). Total lost revenue: $7,300,000,000 ($7.3B). During the 2017 Legislative Session the Legislature renamed the Negative Factor to the Budget Stabilization Factor.

UPDATE: CSFP's Colorado School Finance & Education Reform Timeline 2018-19 thru 1992

PERA Update - Post Season

April 2018

CSFP presentation to Western Slope Advisory Committee, April 19, 2018

CSFP presentation to Colorado Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), April 6, 2018

Updates on Colorado's PK-12 Special Student Population Trends for 2017-18:

March 2018

CSFP March Advisory Committee Meeting


In early March CSFP asked all 178 school district Superintendents and CFOs how they would spend a $100M buydown of the Budget Stabilization Factor (formerly the Negative Factor). CSFP posted responses on social media beginning Monday, March 5, 2018. All posts are available here, updated with the most recent posts. Updated as of Tuesday, March 27, 2018 (day 14 of posting).


From Legislative Council's School Finance in Colorado booklet April 2017:


February 2018

CSFP Advisory Committee Meeting


CSFP Advisory Committee Meeting - Western Slope

January 2018

CASE Nuts & Bolts - Pre-CASE Conference - January 31, 2018 - CSFP Presentation


CSFP Advisory Committee Meeting:

From the Denver Post: Douglas County school voucher program now officially dead after case dismissed by Supreme Court, officials say... January 27, 2018

CSFP Comparison of Pupil to Teacher Ratio in the United States - NCES 2015-16 data (audited data lags current information). Colorado ranks 41st highest - larger class sizes.

CSFP Presentation in Telluride - Colorado School Funding

CSFP Testimony at January School Finance Interim Committee Meeting

December 2017

2017 State Profile Data: Our annual profile information depicts changes in K-12 funding and counts (comparing the base year of 1992-93 to 2010-11 to 2014-15 to 2015-16). Data is audited so lags behind current information.

  • 2017 State Profile Overview: 1 page overview of areas of concern for K-12
  • 2017 Overview Charts & Highlights: 2 page document with highlights and charts.
  • CSFP 2017 State Profile Data: About the 4 tables and Notes
    • Table 1: Enrollment, Special Education, Free and Reduced Lunch, English language learners (ELL), Instances of Mobility, and Gifted Students
    • Table 2: Number of Teachers, Teachers per 1,000 students, Average Salary (comparing CO and National)
    • Table 3: Per Student Current Spending and Revenues
    • Table 4: Relationship between State/Local Revenue for K-12 Public Education and Personal Income
    • Notes and Terms: Footnotes for all tables are located on this page.

School District Assessed Valuation and Total Programs Mills - explanation and district by district FY17 Assessed Valuation and FY16 Total Program Mills.

  • Assessed Valuation and Total Program Mills are components of the School Finance Act of 1994
  • School districts have no control over the Assessed Valuation or Total Program Mill.

Education Briefing by JBC Staff


CDHE and CDE: Educator Shortage Strategic Plan - December 2017. For more on Colorado's Teacher Shortage / Supply / Retention is available here our Teacher Shortage page.

School District Election Results for 2017: Bond, BEST, Mill Levy Override (MLO), Operational Mill Levy, Full Day Kindergarten MLO, Transportation MLO, Sales Tax. Additional information on District Elections can be found on our Elections Page.


CASB Convention 2017

Discussion on Strategy and Policy Ideas to Reform Constitutional Restrictions on School Finance

November 2017

CASB Convention 2017


Map of Mill Levy Overrides as of 2017 elections
. Map does not include Full-Day Kindergarten, Transportation, or Technology Overrides.

CDE - Educator Shortage Strategic Action Plan - November 2017 presentation to State Board of Education


Demographic Trends Affecting Public Schools presentation by Cindy DeGroen, State Demography Office - Everything is connected - population to jobs to education to housing to education to population.

11/10/2017 - Update at 10:30 AM Preliminary results of 2017 district ballot elections - subject to change as new information becomes available.


School Finance Interim Committee - November 9, 2017 Meeting Agenda. Additional information is available on our Interim Committees page.


Governor's Budget Request 2018-19 - Office of State Planning and Budget - November 1, 2017



October 2017

Presentations at October CSFP Advisory Meeting


presentation to Adams 12 Five Star Leadership Academy October 20, 2017

CSFP presentation at Western Slope Advisory Committee Meeting
October 19, 2017

Preliminary list of ballot items for 2017 Colorado School District elections - November 7. 2017 election. List updated November 2, 2017. The list will be updated as new information becomes available.



The Colorado Legislature has discussed school district consolidation / deconsolidation many times. Following is a two page overview and a historical timeline of Colorado's legislation and district actions on district consolidation / deconsolidation.

Report comparing the percent change in per pupil funding between 2007-08 and 2013-14, data is adjusted for inflation, constant 2015-16 dollars. (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) audited data).


September 2017

Half of Colorado School Districts have 4-day weeks. What's the Impact on Students? Superintendent Jan DeLay (Re-1 Valley) speaks with Ryan Warner (Colorado Public Radio), article by Rachel Estabrook (CPR). Link to CSFP map of districts on 4-day weeks - as of September 2017.


September 2017 Economic Forecast:



CSFP Presentation Documents September 19, 2017

Column from The Hechinger Report: While The Rest Of The World Invests More In Education The U.S. Spends Less - Years of disinvestment could affect the future U.S. labor force.


Colorado's Rural Teachers Are Getting Pinched in the Teacher Salary Game - article by Jenny Brundin, Colorado Public Radio.


CSFP September Advisory Committee Meeting:

  • The Colorado Education Network - Students are Colorado’s greatest natural resource. When we invest in our public schools the next generation can reach its potential.



Colorado's Legislative History of Mill Levy Overrides from 1988 - 2017



Preliminary list of ballot items for 2017 Colorado School District elections - November 7. 2017 election. List updated October 18, 2017. The list will be updated as new information becomes available.


Colorado: Percent of Personal Income Invested in PK-12 Education - one-page overview.


August 2017

Timeline of Colorado's School Finance & Education Reform 2017-18 thru 1982 PDF (August 2017 Update).


One page write-up about Counting Students. Additional research about counting students is available on our page Average Daily Membership - Study from SB 10-008 - a study to evaluate the feasibility of a system based on the average daily membership in school districts for Colorado's Public School Finance Act of 1994.


CSFP Presentation at Advocacy U Workshop - Dire Straits - Nine Years of Colorado's K-12 Funding Cuts 2009-2018, How the Budget Stabilization (Negative) Factor has impacted districts, What districts would do with additional funds.


Percent share of funding for Federal, State and Districts - FY2014-15
(data from JBC Education Briefing Report, December 2016. Categoricals: Special Education, English language learner, Gifted and Talented, Career and Technical Education and Public School Transportation.


July 2017

CASE Convention - School Finance Presentation by the Colorado School Finance Project and Augenblick, Palaich and Associates


Office of State Auditors
- School District Fiscal Health Analysis - Fiscal Years 2014-2016


2017 Interim Committee School Finance
. Link to CSFP Interim Committee webpage

July 24 2017 Meeting:

Interim Committee on School Finance state website for 2017 session. Includes links to committee documents, committee schedule and meeting materials, HB17-1340 and committee members.


Colorado Department of Education's Financial Transparency Website


June 2017:

Governor's Education Leadership Council - amending - link to CSFP webpage for Colorado Education Leadership Council


Colorado Per Pupil Spending Continues to Fall Further from the U.S. Average - U.S. Census data. Fiscal year 2014-15, Colorado's per pupil spending was over $2,100 dollars below the U.S. Average. Ten years prior, Colorado was about $1,400 below the U.S. Average.

Comparing Colorado and U.S. Average: Estimated Avg Annual Teacher Salary

June 2017 Economic Forecast:


Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance state website HB17-1340, 1340 Interim Committee. Includes links to committee documents, committee schedule and meeting materials, HB17-1340 and committee members.


Timeline of Colorado's School Finance & Education Reform 2017-18 thru 1982 (May 2017 Update).


May 2017:

CSFP May 2017 Advisory Committee Meeting:


April 2017:

CSFP April Advisory Committee Meeting:


2017 Action Summit - Colorado Conundrum


Western Slope CSFP Advisory Committee Meeting


Comparing a variety of audited funding sources, the funding gap between Colorado and the U.S. Average has continued to increase over the past two decades. Also included is a chart, in constant 2016 dollars, illustrating how much less Colorado spent per student in 1994, 2004 and 2014. In constant 2016 dollars, Colorado spent about $1,000 per pupil less in 1994 and about $2,000 less per pupil in 2014.


Colorado's Per Pupil Spending Gap for 2013-14 compares Colorado's per pupil spending gap with and without the negative factor to the U.S. Average and the average of the top 5 per pupil spending states. With the negative factor, Colorado ranks 40th in per pupil spending. Without the negative factor, Colorado ranks 29th.


March 2017:

Denver Post - Supreme Court Bolsters Rights of Learning-Disabled Students in Ruling in Colorado Case - Endrew F v Douglas County School District 1


Article from the Journal-Advocate: Colorado School Funding Facing 'Scary' Situation - recapping a presentation by one of CSFP's board members / Deputy Superintendent/Chief Financial Officer of Colorado Springs D-11.


March 2017 State Forecasts


Updated reports on Colorado's special needs populations and a comparison of Average Teacher Salary: Colorado to the U.S. Average.

  1. Students receiving Special Education services
  2. Students learning English
  3. Students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch (proxy for poverty)
  4. Students receiving Gifted and Talented services
  5. Homeless Students
  6. Estimated average teacher salary - Colorado compared to the U.S. Average - constant 2015-16 dollars.


JBC Staff Figure Setting 2017-18 - Department of Education (JBC working document - subject to change)


School Finance and the Constitution, Colorado Legislative Council Staff


Colorado: Did You Know 2017? - second video in our series Colorado: Did You Know?describing the school finance situation in Colorado. Our second video provides additional detail about the impact of Colorado's funding of K-12 students, districts and the state of Colorado. Our Did You Know? page house both videos and PDFs.

February 2017:

Colorado School Finance Project Advisory Meeting February 2017 presentations

Colorado Legislative Council - Education Budget Outlook - February 2017 - Natalie Mullis, Chief Economist, Legislative Council staff


Eight Years of K-12 School Funding Cuts 2009-2017 by county, district (inclusive of mid-year, budget stabilization and negative factor) - updated February 2017.


Video from KUSA 9News answering the question “I thought all that tax money from marijuana was supposed to take care of all this.”

Why Pot Tax Can’t Save a Jeffco School


CASE Winter Leadership Conference:


January 2017:

CSFP January Advisory Committee Meeting presentations:


KUNC - All Things Considered: Lawmakers Float Solutions to Colorado's School Funding Shortfall, January 18, 2017, an interview with Tracie Rainey (Executive Director, Colorado School Finance Project.


Hickenlooper's Supplementals and Budget Amendments January 17, 2017


Education Week, Quality Counts 2017: Chart comparing per pupil spending above and below the U.S. average between Colorado and the 50 states and D.C. (2014 audited data). Colorado spends $2,685 less than the U.S. average, ranking 41st of 51. Quality Counts 2017: Per Pupil Spending 2014 Data, Dollars Above or Below U.S. average.


Note: Typically our Home page contains information from the last 6 months. We try to "roll off" information every month to our Historical Info page. The information is in chronological order, most recent first.

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