Welcome

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 policymakers.

What does Initiative 271 mean for your district?– Colorado Association of School Boards

CSFP’s June 2020 VIRTUAL Advisory Meeting:

  – Video Recording of meeting
  – Economic & Revenue Forecast for CSFP
 Kate Watkins, Legislative Council Staff 
– Initiative 271 Update– Lisa Weil and Betsy Bevis, Great Education and FairTax Colorado
  – Legislative Wrap-up (all links are embedded in presentation and can be found below, as well)- Tracie Rainey and Justin Silverstein, CSFP
     – Implications for Rearranging Factors
     – Hitting the base- what does it mean?
     – Twelve Years of Budget Stabilization Factor: 2009-2021
     – District Mills at time of “De-brucing”
     – Fair Tax Colorado: Funding Scenarios for School Districts without CSI students
     – Carry a Petition – Fair Tax Colorado
     – Budget Implications from COVID for School Districts– Colorado School Finance Project

Upper Rio Grande/Del Norte Board of Education Presentation– CSFP, June 23, 2020

–  Initiative 271- Vision 2020 Information  –

What does 271 mean for your district?– Colorado Association of School Boards
Carry a Petition – Fair Tax Colorado
Initiative 271 Tax Calculator – provided by CSFP
Polling results notice– Keating Research, May 20, 2020
Polling results– Keating Research, May 20, 2020
Initiative 271 Tax Changes– Colorado School Finance Project, April 2020
Chart of State Rankings per $1000 of personal income– Colorado School Finance Project, April 2020

Initiative 271 Ballot Language and Initial Fiscal Impact Statement

Sign up for a virtual party with the Fair Tax Colorado team every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. Register for upcoming couch parties now.

June 2020 Forecast – presentations to JBC:

School Districts’ Mill Levies at time of “de-brucing”

2008-2021 Budget Stabilization Factor Graph (as proposed by HB20-1418)

UPDATED: Education Week Per Pupil Spending Comparison– This chart compares state per-pupil spending to the U.S. average per-pupil spending. 

HB20-1418 Public School Finance bill
HB20-1418 Public School Finance Fiscal Note
HB20-1418 Public School Finance Fiscal Note Amended (6/7/2020)
2008-2021 Budget Stabilization Factor Graph (as proposed by HB20-1418)

CSFP School Finance Act PRELIMINARY Modeling– Five percent from COL factor and rest from Budget Stabilization Factor

June What We’re Reading:

  –
 Colorado lawmakers made billions in cuts to finish the budget. Now Gov. Polis may need to make even more.-The Colorado Sun, June 18, 2020

  – Colorado school districts fear COVID relief money won’t make up for budget cuts– Chalkbeat, June 5, 2020

  – Students of Color And The Vulnerable Await Fallout Of Colorado Coronvirus-Induced School Budget CutsColorado Public Radion, June 8, 2020

  – Amid school funding cuts, Colorado bill lays foundation for future fiscal reform– Chalkbeat, June 5, 2020

School finance related COVID Articles
JUNE 2020

CSFP’s June 2020 VIRTUAL Advisory Meeting:

  – Video Recording of meeting
  – Economic & Revenue Forecast for CSFP
 Kate Watkins, Legislative Council Staff
  – Initiative 271 Update– Lisa Weil and Betsy Bevis, Great Education and FairTax Colorado
  – Legislative Wrap-up Tracie Rainey and Justin Silverstein, Colorado School Finance Project

CSFP Presentation– Upper Rio Grande/Del Norte Board of Education, June 23, 2020

June 2020 Forecast - presentations to JBC:

School Districts' Mill Levies at time of "de-brucing"

2008-2021 Budget Stabilization Factor Graph (as proposed by HB20-1418)

UPDATED: Education Week Per Pupil Spending Comparison– This chart compares state per-pupil spending to the U.S. average per-pupil spending. 

HB20-1418 Public School Finance bill
HB20-1418 Public School Finance Fiscal Note
HB20-1418 Public School Finance Fiscal Note Amended (6/7/2020)
2008-2021 Budget Stabilization Factor Graph (as proposed by HB20-1418)

CSFP School Finance Act PRELIMINARY Modeling- Five percent from COL factor and rest from Budget Stabilization Factor

June What We're Reading:

  -
 Colorado lawmakers made billions in cuts to finish the budget. Now Gov. Polis may need to make even more.-The Colorado Sun, June 18, 2020

  - Students of Color And The Vulnerable Await Fallout Of Colorado Coronvirus-Induced School Budget Cuts- Colorado Public Radion, June 8, 2020

  - Amid school funding cuts, Colorado bill lays foundation for future fiscal reform- Chalkbeat, June 5, 2020

MAY 2020

 Twitter Feed for @cosfp May 2020: District Concerns by Region

Federal CARES UPDATE (5/20/2020):
  - Approved Uses for CARES $s
 - Coronavirus Relief Fund Allocations(Excel spreadsheet)

Joint Budget Committee Funding Updates
  - General Fund Overview (5/22/2020) 
  -
General Fund Overview (5/20/2020)
  - General Fund Overview (5/19/2020)
  - JBC Staff Memo: Additional School Finance Balancing Options (Outside of the Long Bill)
  - JBC Staff Memo: Revised Long Bill Recommendations for School Finance (OSPB Forecast)

UPDATED: 2008-2021 Budget Stabilization Factor: Looking at Potential Consequences in 2020-21

CSFP's May 2020 VIRTUAL Advisory Meeting:

  - Recording of meeting
  - Video

  - Colorado Department of Education- Dr. Katy Anthes and Jennifer Okes
    - Education Stabilization Fund Program (ESSER) Preliminary Funding Allocations
    - Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Stakeholder Survey
  - Initiative 271 Update- Lisa Weil and Betsy Bevis, Great Education and FairTax Colorado
  - Office of State Budget and Planning Budget UpdateLuke Teater, OSPB
  - Emergency Tax Presentation- Carol Hedges, Colorado Fiscal Institute
   - Letter to Lawmakers and Governor- signed by multiple community supporters

May UPDATED 2020 Forecast - presentations to JBC:

CSFP'S 2020 Budget Stabilization Informational Toolkit:

  - Interactive District Snapshot Tool (Google Sheets)
  - Interactive District Snapshot Tool (Excel workbook)
  - Interactive Percentage Cut Tool (Google Sheets)
  -Interactive Percentage Cut Tool (Excel workbook) 
  - Budget Stabilization Factor by District Total Program - Pre-BSF, Current BSF, Additional 5% in BSF
  - Budget Stabilization Factor by District Total Program - Additional 10% in BSF and Additional 15% in BSF
  - Attachment E: BSF by District- Percent when hitting base

Joint Budget Committee Discussions May 2020:
Memorandum: Addendum to Department of Education Budget Balancing Packet (05/06/2020)
Staff Budget Balancing FY2019-20 & FY2020-21 Packet (4/23/2020)

School Finance in Colorado Workbook 2020- Legislative Council Staff

Colorado School Districts Look To Trim Millions, Meaning Less Pay, Possibly Fewer Schools And Fewer Schooldays- Colorado Public Radio, May 6, 2020

-  Initiative 271- Vision 2020 Information  -

Initiative 271 Tax Calculator - provided by CSFP
Polling results notice- Keating Research, May 20, 2020
Polling results- Keating Research, May 20, 2020
Initiative 271 Tax Changes- Colorado School Finance Project, April 2020
Chart of State Rankings per $1000 of personal income- Colorado School Finance Project, April 2020

Initiative 271 Ballot Language and Initial Fiscal Impact Statement

Sign up to attend a Fair Tax Colorado online info session:

Friday, May 8 @ 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, May 12 @ 9:00 a.m.

Wednesday, May 13 @ 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 14 @ 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, May 19 @ 12:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 20 @ 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 21 @ 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, May 27 @ 12:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 28 @ 5:00 p.m.

Friday, May 29 @ 10:00 a.m.

May What We're Reading:

  - Budget woes causing headaches for school districts- The Pueblo Chieftan, May 4, 2020

  - Schools Face Nightmare Scenario After Coronavirus Crisis- U.S. News & World Report, May 1, 2020

Colorado School Districts Look To Trim Millions, Meaning Less Pay, Possibly Fewer Schools And Fewer Schooldays- Colorado Public Radio, May 6, 2020

APRIL 2020

CSFP's April 2020 VIRTUAL Advisory Meeting:

  - Recording of meeting
  - COVID Update-
Colorado Department of Education
  - Office of State Budget and Planning Budget Update
  - Initiative 271 Explained-
Vision 2020 and FairTax Colorado

CASB Conversations: Budgeting During a State Fiscal Crisis
  – Presentation
  – Podcast audio

A look at the Budget Stabilization Factor:
  - Budget Stabilization Factor as a Percent: Looking at Potential Consequences in 2020-21
  - 2008-2021 Budget Stabilization Factor: Looking at Potential Consequences in 2020-21

Colorado Education Grant Dollars 2016-present
Comparison of Colorado Average Per-Pupil Spending and U.S. Average Per-Pupil Spending 2007-2017

****COVID-19 UPDATES and INFORMATION****

Colorado lawmakers are looking at how to close a $3 billion budget shortfall. Here's the roadmap.- Colorado Sun, April 27, 2020
COVID-19 State Budget Shortfalls Could Be Largest on Record-
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, April 14, 2020
Colorado's Government Braces For Up To 3 Years of Cuts-
Colorado Public Radio, April 7, 2020
Joint Budget Committee Plan of Action Letter-
April 9, 2020
Colorado Governments Look At Cuts As COVID-19 Burns Budgets-
Colorado Public Radio, April 7, 2020
Colorado Supreme Court rules legislature can extend its lawmaking term after coronavirus pause- Colorado Sun, April 1, 2020
Colorado Supreme Court Response to Interrogatory on House Joint Resolution 20-1006-
April 1, 2020

April What We're Reading:
The Impact of the COVID-19 Recession on Teaching Positions- Learning Policy Institute, April 30, 2020
  -An Emergency Tax: TABOR to the Rescue?- Colorado Fiscal Institute, April 29, 2020
  - COVID-19 and School Funding: What to Expect and What You Can Do- Learning Policy Institute, April 22, 2020
  - States Need Significantly More Fiscal Relief to Slow the Emerging Deep Recession- Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, April 14, 2020

MARCH 2020

                                                             ****COVID-19 UPDATES and INFORMATION****

Democrats in the Colorado legislature jostle over whether they must return to the Capitol to continue their coronavirus pause– Colorado Sun, March 30, 2020 Colorado Legislature Could Extend Its Break By Weeks, But There's Disagreement Over Whether They Have To Make That Decision In Person- Colorado Public Radio, March 29, 2020 Colorado Department of Education's Coronavirus Resource Page Money for technology, cleaning, and summer learning: What the coronavirus stimulus bill means for schools- Chalkbeat, March 27, 2020 Colorado's legislature will not resume on Monday as planned. It's an open question when they will return- Colorado Sun, March 25, 2020 Colorado Teachers' of the Year Letter- March 23, 2020 Press Release: JBC Action Postponed Until April 7 at Earliest- March 20, 2020                                                                 -  Initiative 271- Vision 2020 Information  - Initiative 271 Ballot Language and Initial Fiscal Impact Statement Sign up to attend a Fair Tax Colorado online info session:

Press Release: JBC Action Postponed Until April 7 at Earliest- March 20, 2020 March 2020 Forecast - presentations to JBC:

March What We're Reading: - Colorado scrutinizes oil and gas tax breaks as severance taxes drop and state budget gets tight- Colorado Sun, March 23, 2020 - How a coronavirus downturn could affect Colorado's education budget- Chalkbeat, March 19, 2020 - Landmark Education Bill Goes to Maryland Legislature- National Center on Education and the Economy, February 27, 2020 - Making the Grade 2019: How Fair is School Funding in State?- Education Law Center

FEBRUARY 2020

CSFP’s February 2020 Advisory Meeting:

Vision 2020 Policy One-pager– Great Schools Thriving Commuities meeting GSTC Vision 2020 One page Explainer Salida School Board Work Session– February 11, 2020 2020 CASE Winter Leadership Conference Presentations: – “Nuts and Bolts”– February 05, 2020 – “2020 Ballot”– February 06, 2020 School District Uniform Total Program Mill Levy (2020): – Draft bill 20-0291 – Bill Summary – Uniform Mill Year 1 BSF Buydown financial run– district-level data – Uniform Mill Full Implementation- BSF + MLO Equalization– district-level data – MLO Equalization State Match Estimates– district-level data February What We’re Reading: - Landmark Education Bill Goes to Maryland Legislature- National Center on Education and the Economy, February 27, 2020 – Teacher Shortages Across the Nation and Colorado: Similar Issues, Varying Magnitudes– Colorado Department of Higher Education, December 2017 – Making the Grade 2019: How Fair is School Funding in State?– Education Law Center

JANUARY 2020

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report, using U.S. Census data, indicates Colorado's 4-year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) for 2015-16 is below the U.S. average in all categories.  The CSFP created a chart illustrating the graduation gaps between Colorado and the U.S. average. Supplemental Budget Requests FY2019-20, Department of Education-January 2020 - JBC staff document - subject to change. HB20-1260 (bill text)- Adjustments to Total Program Funding for 2019-20 School Year HB20-1260 (fiscal note)- Adjustments to Total Program Funding for 2019-20 School Year Memo from JBC re:Supplemental Comeback for FY2019-20 Colorado Student Enrollment At-a-Glance 2019-20 Tax Effort and Fiscal Capacity 2019-20 by Assessed Value and type of Mill – includes pie chart and detail by school district

Colorado Education Policy Fellowship Program Presentation- University of Colorado at Denver: School of Public Affairs, January 22, 2020 CSFP’s January 2020 Advisory Meeting:

January What We're Reading: - Teacher Pay By State 2020- Interactive Map, World Population Review, retrieved January 27, 2020 - Small school districts say move to 4-day week attract, retain teachers- News Tribune, January 26, 2020

DECEMBER 2019

December 2019 Forecast

2019 State Profile Data: Our annual profile information depicts changes in K-12 funding and counts (comparing the base year of 1992-93 to 2012-13 to 2016-17 to 2017-18). Data is audited so lags behind current information.

  • 2019 State Profile Overview: a 1-page overview of areas of concern for K-12
  • 2019 Overview Charts & Highlights: 2-page document with highlights and charts.
  • CSFP 2019 State Profile Data: 4 tables and Notes page
    • Table 1: Enrollment, Special Education, Free and Reduced Lunch, English language learners (ELL), 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.

Joint Budget Committee: Education Briefing Documents for FY 2020-21

Colorado Association of School Boards Convention, December 2019:

2019 Interim School Finance Committee:

December What We’re Reading - Low-Income Schools Need More Funding. Here's How Colorado Lawmakers Want To Tweak The Formula To Make That Happen- Colorado Public Radio, December 17, 2019 - Four ways that tinkering with Colorado's school funding formula could impact state's districts- The Colorado Sun, December 16, 2019 - Fairer to whom? Colorado considers redividing the pie with a new school finance formula- Chalkbeat, December 13, 2019

NOVEMBER 2019

"Bagels with the Board: University of Colorado" presentation- November 20, 2019 Final November 2019 Colorado Election Results for School Finance (Thank you to Paul Howe for taking the time to create and update the spreadsheet) Map of Mill Levy Overrides for 2019 elections Colorado Education Association Uniform Mill Levy Presentation– November 16, 2019 CSFP’s November Advisory Meeting:

Public Education and Business Coalition School Finance Presentation– November 13, 2019 School District Election Results for 2019: Bond, BEST, Mill Levy Override (MLO)

Governor’s FY 2020-21 November 1, 2019 Budget Request 2019 Interim School Finance Committee:

November What We’re Reading:

      • December 16

November What We're Reading: - School district, community respond to 4As failure- The Journal, November 27, 2019 - Part calculator, part crystal ball: Colorado lawmaker's simulator testing tweals to state's school-funding formula - The Colorado Sun, November 27, 2019 - With Proposition CC's failure, Colorado Democrats face a budget crunch in 2020. Here are their 4 options to address it.- The Colorado Sun, November 27, 2019 - State Defines Line It Would Draw for Allowing 4-day School Weeks- Oklahoma Watch, November 23, 2019 – Colorado districts aren’t getting enough state money to maintain schools and attract. So they’re turning to local taxpayers.- The Colorado Sun, November 8, 2019 – ‘It’s huge for us’: More than a dozen Colorado districts approve school tax measures– Chalkbeat Colorado, November 7, 2019 – Making the Grade 2019: How Fair is School Funding in Your State?– Education Law Center, November 4, 2019

OCTOBER 2019

CASB Western Slope Advisory Meeting Presentation- October 17, 2019 Updated: Where are we now? A look at progress toward equitable and more adequate school funding CSFP'S October Advisory Committee Meeting

Updated: Where is Colorado after 2019 Legisaltive Session? A look at progress toward equitable and more adequate school funding Corrected: How much are school districts spending on School-level and District-level administration? 2019 Interim School Finance Committee: FOURTH MEETING MATERIALS:

Proposition CC (a "de-brucing" measure):

October What We're Reading: -  Lawmakers are finally setting out to retool Colorado's school funding formula- The Colorado Sun, October 29, 2019 - When Five Days Become Four- Harvard Political Review, October 24, 2019 - Colorado lawmakers request changes to school funding- Colorado Politics, October 23, 2019 - Lawmakers and Advocates Alike Want To Revamp The 25-Year-Old Formula Behind School Funding. But They Don't Agree On How- CPR, October 22, 2019 - Colorado public education associations support superintendent concerns about proposed changes to accountability system- Press release from CASE, CASB, and CEA, Ocotber 3, 2019 - It's count day in Colorado Schools. Here's why an accurate census matters- Chalkbeat, October 2, 2019

SEPTEMBER 2019

September 2019 Economic Forecast

CASE Superintendent's Conference:

2019-20: CSFP map of Colorado School Districts on 4-day weeks for 2019-20 School Year, (updated August 2019). Some districts choose to have a 4-day week.  For others, it is a financial decision.  Colorado has 178 school districts.  Source: Colorado Department of Education and districts. DRAFT of 2019 School District Elections - information is subject to change as more current information becomes available.  Elections: Bond, BEST, Mill Levy Override (MLO), Operational MLO, and Transportation MLO.  Information posted as of 9/17/2019. CSFP'S September Advisory Committee Meeting

Proposition CC (a "de-brucing" measure):

Colorado's Legislative Council Map of the Budget Stabilization Factor's impact on per-pupil funding in Colorado school districts FY 2018-19 September What We're Reading: - Our Voice: Four-day school weeks interesting conversation to have- AdberdeenNews.com, September 28, 2019 - Why colleges are struggling to graduate more teachers- EducationDive, September 18, 2019 - School Safety Performance Audit- September 2019 - State Auditor Highlights from School Safety Audit- September 2019 - Colorado now has more school districts on four-day weeks than any place in the nation- with little research on the benefits- The Colorado Sun, August 27, 2019

AUGUST 2019

2019 Interim School Finance Committee:

Proposition CC (a "de-brucing" measure):

Colorado's Legislative Council Map of the Budget Stabilization Factor's impact on per-pupil funding in Colorado school districts FY 2018-19 August What We're Reading: - Colorado made kindergarten a priority. But when it comes to four-day schools weeks, lawmakers don't see a problem.- The Colorado Sun, August 29, 2019 - In mostly rural Colorado, the four-day week has taken hold. But what do communities do with "Fifth Day"?- The Colroado Sun, August 28, 2019 - Colorado now has more school districts on four-day weeks than any place in the nation- with little research on the benefits- The Colorado Sun, August 27, 2019 - Colorado leads the nation in four day school weeks, but are they right for everyone?- TheDenverChannel.com, August 19, 2019 - Colorado voters leaning toward approving the elimination of state spending caps under TABOR, poll finds- The Colorado Sun, August 14, 2019 - 4 new studies bolster the case: More money for schools helps low income students- Chalkbeat, August 13, 2019

JULY 2019

Creede PowerPoint Presentation- Colorado School Finance Project, July 27, 2019 Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) Conference PowerPoint presentation- Breckenridge, July 26, 2019 2019 Interim School Finance Committee:

Learn more about Colorado school finance in our Colorado School Finance Project Briefing Documents:

July What We’re Reading: – These 17 School Districts Borders Highlight Colorado’s Byzantine Funding Scheme– Colorado Public Radio, July 25, 2019 – What PERA’s bad year means for public workers, retirees and taxpayers in Colorado, explained in Charts– The Colorado Sun, July 9, 2019 – Low pay. Cuts to PERA. For some state workers in Colorado, it’s like the recession never ended– The Colorado Sun, July 8, 2019