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Founded in 1995, the Colorado School Finance Project's (CSFP) 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.

1995-2015: Celebrating our 20th Anniversary!

The Principles of School Finance: What is a School Finance System? For more information on School Finance, go to our School Finance 101 tab.

CURRENT TOPICS

April 2015:

Dwyer v CO - April 22, 2015 - Reply to Plaintiff's Response to Order and Rule to Show Cause (State's reply)- Amendment 23. Prior information pertaining to the Dwyer (Amendment 23) v CO lawsuit is available here, Amendment 23 Dwyer v CO tab.

 

CSFP Tweeting: On April 20, 2015 the CSFP emailed all 178 Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute asking for a response to the question (updated through April 23):
What Would You Do with Additional Funds?
On April 21st, we began tweeting some of the responses.  We will continue tweeting several responses each day in an attempt to capture district needs across the state.  We know everyone isn’t on twitter, so the tweets are captured here.  We will update this list as new tweets are posted. Our thanks to districts for the many responses. For those of you on twitter: We are using the hashtag #k12needsco (K12 Needs CO).

Background on the Negative Factor: Since 2009, Colorado school districts have been negatively impacted by the Negative Factor / Rescissions; forcing districts to cut budgets and continue to make reductions.

Negative Factor by Fiscal Year:

  • FY 2009-10: $130M
  • FY 2010-11: $381M
  • FY2011-12: $774M
  • FY2012-13: $1.001B
  • FY 2013-14: $1.004B
  • FY 2014-15: $880M
  • FY 2015-16: Amount to be finalized.

 

NOW WHAT? March Estimates and Possible Fixes - Carol Hedges, Colorado Fiscal Institute: Presentation to CSFP.

Who Are Colorado's Students? 2014-15 - one page summary of Colorado's students.

 

March 2015:

Dwyer v CO - March 23, 2015 - Response and Amicus Briefs - Amendment 23. Prior information pertaining to the Dwyer (Amendment 23) v CO lawsuit is available here, Amendment 23 Dwyer v CO tab.

 

Natalie Mullis, Chief Economist, Colorado Legislative Council Staff presentation to CSFP: Colorado Legislative Council Services March Forecast and Memorandum to JBC on the March Revenue Forecast, General Fund Overview: OSPB and Colorado Legislative Council Services forecasts.

 

Superintendents Position Paper: "Endorsed by 174 Colorado superintendents representing more than 92% of the public school students in our state, this statement communicates our collective position on the foundational issue of public school funding."

February 2015:

Quality Counts 2015 (2011-12 School Year, FY 2012)

  1. Per Pupil Spending by State: Colorado ranks 43 of 51 in per pupil spending; spending $2,715 less than the U.S. Average of $11,735,
  2. Percent Total Taxable Resources Spent by State: Colorado ranks 39th.
  3. School Finance Grade by state. Colorado ranks 41st with a D+.
  4. Nearby States Spending More Per Pupil than Colorado. Colorado spends $2,715 less than the U.S. average.
    • Kansas spends $2,379 more than Colorado
    • Montana $4,204 more
    • Nebraska $4,437 more
    • New Mexico $716 more
    • Wyoming $8,738 more

CSFP Presentation to Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) Colorado STEM Network (CSN) February Conference Call.

 

Henry Sobanet, Office of State Planning and Budget: Presentation to CSFP: Colorado State Budget, TABOR, Amendment 23.

 

Great Education Colorado, Presentation to CSFP: Finding Common Ground on Common Core, results of facilitated conversations about standards, taxes and solutions. Great Education's "Keep the TABOR Surplus for Kids" petition is available here, and on their website.

 

2014 State Profile Data: Our annual profile information depicts changes in K-12 funding and counts (comparing 1992-93 to 2007-08 to 2011-12 to 2012-13). Prior State Profile information is in the State Profile Data tab.

  • CSFP Profile Data: 2014 Highlights: is a 2-page overview of all state profile data highlighting areas of concern for K-12.
  • CSFP State Profile Data: 4 tables and Notes (italicized items are new this year):
    • Table 1: Enrollment (Funded Pupil Count and Membership), Special Education, Free and Reduced Lunch, ELL (2 year funded and total ELL served), Instances of Mobility, Gifted and Talented. Note that all per pupil calculations are on Membership count.
    • Table 2: Number of Teachers, Teachers per 1,000 students, Average Salary
    • Table 3: Per Student Current Spendng and Revenues - New: State/Local Revenue without Overrides (See Notes for further information on this item).
    • Table 4: Relationship between State/Local Revenue for K-12 Public Education and Personal Income, New: Overrides in Local, Negative Factor
    • Notes: Footnotes for all tables are located on the Notes pages.

Dwyer Order and Rule to Show Cause - Colorado Supreme Court. Additional information:

 

A recently released study by Northwestern University & University of California on The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes Evidence from School Reforms:

Purpose of Study: To understand whether, how and why school spending affects student outcomes. Findings: Researchers found that increased per-pupil spending, induced by school finance reforms narrowed adult socioeconomic attainment differences between those raised in low-income and high-income families. They find that money does matter and that better school resources can meaningfully improve the long-term outcomes of recently educated children.

 

Three Years of Negative Factor by district - FY 2011-12 thru FY 2013-14. Totals by district and Fiscal Year. The CSFP will update this report with FY 2014-15 data once that data is final. Data source: CDE, district by district final reports, February 2015.

 

January 2015:

The Education Writers Association, using recent National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data on Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2011-12 FY 2012, created an interactive map containing data for each state. The article: How the United States Spent $600B on Schools SY 2011-12 FY 2012. The interactive map is here. The CSFP also used this data in our annual Trends in Per Pupil Spending.

 

CSFP Presentation to Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) Colorado STEM Network (CSN) January Conference Call.

 

Natalie Mullis, Chief Economist, Colorado Legislative Council Staff presentation to CSFP: Colorado Economy and State Budget Outlook.

 

Chart: Colorado's PK-12 Membership continues to increase as funding decreases:

As Colorado's PK-12 membership and At-Risk count have increases, rescissions and the Negative Factor have decreased funding.  Over 1/3 of Colorado's students are At-Risk, based upon the Federal Guidelines for Free Lunch.

 

Update to CSFP Trends in Per Pupil Spending illustrates the gap between Colorado and the national average, 1991-92 through 2011-12. Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado state Profile Data, Education Week; Quality Counts, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Figures are audited data, so lag behind current spending numbers. For the past 20 years, the gap has continued to grow; from less than $500 per student in the early to mid-1990s to between $1,800 and $2,800 less by FY 2011-12.

Gap in Colorado K-12 Per Pupil Spending over the last 20 years.

Read the Colorado Public Radio report: Colorado per-pupil spending lags US Average even more, report says, January 14, 2015, about the Trends in Per Pupil Spending chart above.

 

December 2014:

CSFP Presentation at 2014 CASB Convention: School Finance: TABOR and What's Next? pdf of powerpoint and pdf of handouts.

 

November 2014:

2014 Election Results by district (Bond, BEST, Mill Levy Override, City Tax) and Summary of Elections from 2010-2014.

Mill Levy Overrides - Colorado Map

Colorado school districts with and without a local Mill Levy Override

 

October 2014:

From the U.S. Census Bureau, Public Education Finances FY 2011-12: Colorado spent $31.91 per $1,000 of Personal Income on PK-12, ranking 47th in the nation. The map is available here. The full U.S. Census Bureau, Public Education Finances: 2012 report, here.

The Education Commission of the States reports on state minimum requirements for the Number of Instructional Days/Hours in the School Year, October 2014 update. Per the report, the majority of states require a minimum of 180 student instructional days, Colorado's minimum is 160 student instructional days.

CSFP presentation to Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) Colorado STEM Network (CSN) for October 2014.

Colorado Legislative Council Services Overview of K-12 Public School Funding Scenarios presentation by Todd Herreid, Legislative Council Staff to CSFP.

National Education Policy Center's (NEPC) Schools of Opportunity: The National Education Policy Center seeks to identify and recognize excellent public high schools that actively strive to close opportunity gaps by engaging in practices that build on students’ strengths, thereby creating engaging and supported learning opportunities for all their students. Nominate your school serving at least grades 10-12. Applications for schools in Colorado and New York, application deadline November 15, 2014.

 

September 2014:

CSFP Presentation to Colorado STEM Network (CSN) September Conference Call.

CSFP Presentation to Superintendents including State Budget, Budget Considerations, Per Pupil Spending Adjusted for Inflation (CO and US), PPR from 1999-00 to 2014-15, Charts with Negative Factor Reduction as Percent of Factors.

Per Pupil Spending (Adjusted for Inflation): Trends in Colorado and U.S. Average Per Pupil Spending on page 1 and Colorado's School Finance and Education Reform on page 2. In 2012, Colorado's average per pupil spending was lower than the 1995 amount, as Colorado's Education Reform expanded significantly over the last few years. CSFP's expanded timeline from 1990's to the present is available in the Timeline tab.


The Office of the State Auditor
released the 2014 School Fiscal Health report last month. Within the report the OSA states "...the decline in available resources is taking its toll on districts. It is possible that the number of districts with warning indicators will increase again in Fiscal Year 2015 analysis." (pg 36). CSFP created two documents from the report:



District Budget Conversations for 2014-15 School Year - information from districts and media as of August 2014. Prior year budget cut conversations are in the District Budget Cuts tab.

 

DISTRICT ELECTIONS & overview of Mill Levy Overrides:

DRAFT Preliminary CSFP 2014 school district Bond, BEST, Mill Levy Override, Local Sales Tax elections. Report wll be updated as information changes - updated as of October 6, 2014.

DRAFT Summary Overview of Elections 2010-2014 as of October 6, 2014.

An overview of Mill Levy Overrides from 2009-13. Between 2009 and 2013, Colorado experienced the Great Recession and the beginnings of an economic recovery. To help balance the state's budget, the Colorado State Legislature first instituted Mid-Year rescissions, and then created the Negative Factor. During this time period 40 of Colorado's 178 districts passed a mill levy override (MLO), while 138 did not. Mill Levy Overrides between 2009-2013 is a one-page overview of the impact of having the capacity/not having the capacity to pass a MLO, the wide variation of how many dollars 1 mill can raise, and the impact to district budgets.


Charter Schools & Traditional Public Schools, an overview
:
presentation to Wind Crest Community, Highlands Ranch, CO.

August 2014:

Office of the State Auditor, School Fiscal Health report, July 2014. The report includes information from 2011, 2012, and 2013. For additional background, the District Budget Cuts tab contains information about the cuts districts made during this timeframe due to the Negative Factor and mid-year rescissions. The Colorado School Finance Timeline and Education Reform provides a historical overview of this time period. Prior year School Fiscal Health reports from 2009-2013 are on the School Finance 101 tab, then click on the Office of the State Auditor heading.

Map of Districts with 2 or more warning indicators:


July 2014

CSFP and APA presentation at CASE Conference - School Finance:

1) What does a good finance system look like and how does Colorado compare?
2) National Trends - formulas, funding, budgeting, transparency, student count.
3) Foundation formulas - philosophy of districts - FTE, student based and combinations
4) Colorado's formula

K-12 Per Pupil Funding and National Average Chart comparing Colorado per pupil funding to the National average 1970 - 2011 using NCES data, Gallagher, TABOR, and Amendment 23 passage also noted. Chart provided by Great Education Colorado.


June 2014

Dwyer v State of Colorado - complaint, press release, media. We have also added a new tab, Amendment 23 Dwyer v CO, for information related to the lawsuit.

June 2014 State Forecast: Legislative Council Forecast and Office of State Planning and Budget (OSPB)

Mill Levy Overrides between 2009-2013 - Between 2009 and 2013, Colorado experienced the Great Recession and the beginnings of an economic recovery. To help balance the state's budget, the Colorado State Legislature first instituted Mid-Year rescissions, and then created the Negative Factor. During this time period 40 of Colorado's 178 districts passed a mill levy override (MLO), while 138 did not. Mill Levy Overrides between 2009-2013 is a one-page overview of the impact of having the capacity/not having the capacity to pass a MLO, the wide variation of how many dollars 1 mill can raise, and the impact to district budgets.

District Budget Conversations for 2014-15 School Year - information from districts and media as of August 2014. Prior year budget cut conversations are in the District Budget Cuts tab.

CSFP's annual update to our timeline: Colorado's School Finance & Education Reform Timeline 1980-2014 - updated June 2014.


Update to CSFP Trends in Per Pupil Spending illustrates the gap between Colorado and the national average, 1991-92 through 2010-11. Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado state Profile Data, Education Week; Quality Counts, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). For the past 19 years, the gap has continued to grow; from less than $500 per student in the early to mid-1990s to between $1,800 and $2,700 less by FY 2010-11.

Colorado's funding gap comparing CO per pupil spending to the national average has continued to grow for almost two decades.

 

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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