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School Finance 101

Topics: either scroll down or click on the following link:

Link to Mission Possible Colorado:   www.missionpossibleco.com.


CSFP video series Colorado: Did You Know?. Two short videos describing Colorado's K-12 funding impacts on K-12 students, districts and our state.


The Basics:

Timeline of Colorado's School Finance & Education Reform

Colorado State Budgeting Process infographic - Beginning in FY2016-17 through FY2017-18 budget cycle.

CSFP presentation on School Finance - an Introduction and Overview to the 2018 Table; What were the goals of the 1994 School Finance Act?; The Order Revenue is Collected; Evaluating the Success of the 1994 Act; Categoricals; Steps in Changing to a New System; Stay Tuned.

The Principles of School Finance: What is a School Finance System? How does Student Count fit in?

School Finance is More Than a Formula or a Number highlighting the

    • Background of school finance,
    • Revenue (where does it come from, goal of 1994 act, today's mills),
    • 2015-16 Discussions and Options.

CSFP Quick Facts on School Finance Formulas.

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.

Colorado School Finance Myths and Facts, contributed to and complied by a group of Colorado school district Chief Financial Officers.

Sample District Budget Calendar Cycle - updated for 2015-16 Budget

What is Equity in School Finance?

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.


Student Count & Average Daily Membership (ADM)


What is the Legislative role in changing a School Finance System?

Where to Begin When Changing A School Finance Formula? - Legislative Role. How do School Finance and Educational Reforms fit together? What approaches can be used to measure costs? How to use the results of a study?


The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes Evidence from School Reforms

Study (Northwestern University & University of California) released on 1/1/2015. 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.


CSFP School Finance Booklets - Briefs

CASB Convention December 2015: New Board Member Training:

Planning School Budgets for the Future: All the Moving Parts Powerpoint (PDF)


CASE presentation July 2015: CSFP, CASE Department of Business Officials (DBO) and Augenblick, Palaich & Associates presentation Making Sense of the School Finance Landscape:


CASB Convention Dec. 2013, School Finance 101, New Board Member Finance Brief (12 page booklet).

Presentions to the House and Senate Education Committees and other committees as noted. Booklets contain a variety of information about School Finance, some history, current student information, School Finance 101, Costing Out information. Booklets are 16 pages long.


Basic information regarding property taxes, state and local share, and mill levy overrides:

Do property taxes pay for schools? What are Local Override Revenues?

State Share of Funding by District: includes total state dollar amount, per pupil and percent of funding, as of 2009-10 (most current available).  The State Share in the chart does not include Categorical Program funding. Source: CDE, Public School Finance


Office of The State Auditor: School Fiscal Health Reports beginning in 2009. (Note: Appendix C maps do not include a date on them, if printing them separately you might want to write the dates on the maps)

School Finance Presentations by CSFP:

CSFP School Finance presentation on local revenue to the TAG (Technical Advisory Group) of the School Finance Partnership (SFP). December 2012.

CSFP presentation at the 2012 CASB Conference - The School Finance Puzzle - December 2012

CSFP presentation to University of Denver (DU) class on School Finance - August 2012

Listen to an informative discussion on Planning for Colorado's Future in Education - Guests Tracie Rainey, Denny Hill, and Charlie Brown discuss school finance on MileHiRadio's The Leaders Edge Show, August 9, 2012. Click here and then scroll down to August 9, 2012, and click on the MP3 link.

CSFP and APA presentation at the July 2012 CASE Annual Education Leadership Convention, What's New with School Finance?

David Sciarra, Education Law Center (ELC), presentation to CSFP Fair School Funding - Colorado and booklet Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card.

CSFP and Augenblick, Palaich & Associates presentation to House and Senate Education Committees: Overview of School Finance and Where to Begin when Changing a School Finance Formula? Legislative Role

CSFP presentation at CASE Conference 2011: Ups & Downs, What's Up with School Finance.