Legislative Action Urged to Put Colorado's Charter Students on Equitable Financial Footing

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

April 7, 2016

Colorado League of Charter Schools
2696 South Colorado Blvd.
Suite 250
Denver, CO 80222

For Immediate Release

Legislative Action Urged to Put Charter Students on Equitable Financial Footing

A bipartisan coalition of legislators and a broad cross-section of stakeholders today called on the Colorado General Assembly to establish equity for the state’s 108,000 public charter school students.

“For more than twenty years, charter public schools have met student needs, lifted achievement, and demonstrated fresh approaches to education,” said state Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver. “Yet they’ve been hindered by inequities. It is time to provide equitable financial support to charter school students.”

Legislation being introduced in the Colorado Senate would require local school districts to share mill levy override dollars equally with charter students in their district. Currently, school districts have the option to withhold funding from charter public school students, and many choose not to share, leaving tens of thousands of public school students without the resources they need to succeed.

Inequitable mill levy revenue sharing is one of the biggest factors that leaves charter public school students with only 80 percent of the per-pupil revenue that traditional school students receive.

“If all Colorado charter school students were combined into a single school district it would be the largest district in the state,” said Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs. “No group of students should be systematically underfunded, but a group this large and vital to the health of our public school system certainly deserves a level, fair playing field.”

The proposed legislation would require that districts distribute local mill levy, voter-approved override dollars equally to children attending charter public schools in that district. It also addresses inequities related to facilities access, access to competitive grant programs, and access to certain state and federal funds.

“At a time of tight resources, it is more important than ever to ensure every child has equal access to public resources for public education,” said Rep. Lang Sias, R-Arvada. “We strongly encourage our colleagues to adopt this critical legislation.”

The coalition is supported by:

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CONTACT: Jen Walmer, jwalmer@dfer.org