Mitchell Elementary PTA

Every Child. One Voice - Golden, Colorado

Legislative

The 2012 Leg­isla­tive Ses­sion has begun and there are many bills of inter­est to stu­dents, par­ents and edu­ca­tors alike, here are just a few:

  • House Bill 12–1001 Rule Revis­ing Eval­u­a­tion of Edu­ca­tor Effec­tive­ness, signed 2/15/2012.
  • House Bill 12–1013 Inter­ven­tions for Mid­dle School Stu­dents at risk of drop­ping out; signed 2/15/2012.
  • House Bill 12–1091 Reduce Assess­ments to Fed­er­al Require­ments; post­poned indef­i­nite­ly
  • Sen­ate Bill 12–116 “Bath Salts” as a con­trolled sub­stance; in com­mit­tee
  • Sen­ate Joint Res­o­lu­tion 12–006 No Unfund­ed Man­dates; 3rd read­ing sen­ate 4/5/2012

Below are notes from the Loba­to v. Col­orado deci­sion ren­dered Decem­ber 9, 2011.  This land­mark case finds that the Col­orado school finance sys­tem is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and severe­ly under­fund­ed. The court orders the Col­orado Leg­is­la­ture to fol­low the con­sti­tu­tion and fund edu­ca­tion such that all Col­orado stu­dents receive a “thor­ough and uni­form” edu­ca­tion.  It is esti­mat­ed that the edu­ca­tion sys­tem is $4 bil­lion under­fund­ed. The State of Col­orado is almost cer­tain to appeal this deci­sion to the Col­orado Supreme Court.

  • When the Pub­lic School Finance Act of 1994 (PSFA) was enact­ed, there was no effort to ana­lyze the rela­tion­ship between a qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion and the fund­ing required for that edu­ca­tion.
  • The PSFA has nev­er been adjust­ed to address the costs asso­ci­at­ed with the imple­men­ta­tion of qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion.  In fact, in the past two years, the Gen­er­al Assem­bly has decreased fund­ing by near­ly $1 bil­lion dol­lars.
  • Recent amend­ments to the stan­dards-based sys­tem have sub­stan­tial­ly increased the costs of pub­lic edu­ca­tion:  CAP4K (2008), Edu­ca­tion Account­abil­i­ty Act (2009), SB10-191 (effec­tive teach­ers amend­ment 2010).  These major ini­tia­tives and many oth­ers were com­plete­ly unfund­ed.
  • Cap­i­tal con­struc­tion fund­ing is total­ly depen­dent on high­ly unequal local prop­er­ty tax wealth; “the deplorable con­di­tions of numer­ous rur­al schools bears wit­ness to this.”
  • The State of Col­orado is now required to design, enact, fund and imple­ment a sys­tem of pub­lic school finance that pro­vides and assures that ade­quate, nec­es­sary, and suf­fi­cient funds are avail­able in a man­ner ratio­nal­ly relat­ed to accom­plish the pur­pos­es of the Edu­ca­tion Clause and the Local Con­trol Clause.”

On Jan­u­ary 23, 2012 the State of Col­orado filed its notice of appeal rais­ing four­teen issues seek­ing either rever­sal of the tri­al court’s deci­sion or a remand for a new tri­al.  How­ev­er, accord­ing to plaintiff’s attor­ney, Kathy Geb­hardt, “All of the state’s bases for appeal are tech­ni­cal argu­ments that do not speak to whether stu­dents are get­ting a con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly ade­quate edu­ca­tion.”   Unless the state expe­dites the appeals process the next major mile­stone in this case will be in June, 2012.  All brief­in­gs and argu­ments should be done by fall and a deci­sion could come before the end of the year.

 

That said, there is no rea­son that the leg­is­la­ture can­not take action to address the pro­found inad­e­qua­cies in our school fund­ing sys­tem.

 

Please refer back to this web­site for updates on the upcom­ing Leg­isla­tive Ses­sion for 2012 or please go to www.greateducation.org for addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion on Loba­to v Col­orado.  Thank you!