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Student Success Act Overview

Student Success Act Overview

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A broad overview of the Student Success Act (HB 14-1292)
A broad overview of the Student Success Act (HB 14-1292)

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Published by: Senator Mike Johnston on Feb 27, 2014
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05/12/2014

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Student Success Act (HB 14-1292)
Reps. Hamner, Murray & Sen. Johnston
Values
: We want to make sure the children of Colorado get the best education possible so they can compete for the jobs of the future. Establishing an excellent system of education
isn’t a Democratic or Republican
priority
 –
 
it’s a Colorado priority
.
And we’ve worked together for months to create a package we believe
will do a lot to improve our schools immediately.
Context
: Our economy is recovering, our general fund revenues are increasing, and our State Education Fund is growing. We have the opportunity to make a critical financial commitment to our 870,000 K-12 students this year.
Legislative Objective
: We propose making strategic investments in schools across the state through a variety of investments. The package we are introducing includes both one-time and ongoing funding, and it targets specific needs like literacy interventions and programs for English Language Learners while restoring a significant portion of the recession-era budget cuts.
We’ve conducted substantial
stakeholder outreach to groups across the state.
The priorities we’ve
heard from the Governor, school districts, teachers, individual schools, and members of the education reform community are all reflected in the legislation we plan to introduce this week. And while not everyone is in full agreement, people have been heard.
Fiscal Reality
: While our economy is growing and revenues are increasing, we do not have unlimited funds. We have to spend within our means. And while the agenda we are proposing is ambitious, we are doing so understanding that the upcoming revenue forecast will dictate how much is actually achievable. Our proposal is scalable and contingent on what we can afford. We are committed to spending within our means, and not creating a cliff effect where a future legislature has to make drastic and devastating cuts two or three years down the road. And we are committed to planning for a rainy day by maintaining a healthy balance in the State Education Fund.
 
The Plan
: What policy elements are most likely to sustain a broad coalition?
Issue (1)
 The recession-
era budget cuts (often referred to as “the
negative factor
”) continue
 to
hinder districts’ success. We have established clear academic benchmarks for
educators to meet, but they need the resources to meet these expectations.
Potential Solution:
 Support districts across the state with a $100 million restoration of the recession-era budget cuts.
Issue (2)
 Teachers and principals need help implementing recent education reforms, including educator evaluation, early literacy interventions, the transition to online statewide tests, and school safety.
Potential Solution
: Allocate an additional $40 million in one-time support that will be distributed on a per-pupil basis so that every district will see additional funds.
Issue (3)
 English Language Learners are one of the most underfunded student populations in the state, and ELL student enrollment is increasing rapidly.
Potential Solution:
 Improve our programming and invest an additional $35 million in one of our fastest-growing and underfunded student populations.
Issue (4)
 Our student count system penalizes districts that take students after the October 1 student count date.
Potential Solution:
 Move to an Average Daily Membership (ADM) student count that rewards districts that take students throughout the year. ($10 million)
Issue (5)
 Citizens deserve to know where their tax dollars go in our schools, and increased transparency can help build support from taxpayers during times of need.
Potential Solution:
 Use existing transparency efforts in our districts and schools to build more support for our students within our communities. ($5 million)
Issue (6)
 Many districts and charter schools continue to struggle to pay for safe facilities and the technology needed for a 21
st
 Century education.
Potential Solution:
 Using the marijuana excise revenues, we should create a fiscally responsible plan for supporting school facilities: provide funding for kindergarten facilities, ensure schools have necessary technology, and provide some additional funding for charter school facilities. ($40 million)
Conclusion:
While these solutions might not satisfy every interest, the sum of the parts achieves the same, commonly shared goal
 –
 more resources for our K-12 system so that every single Colorado child (rural, urban, and suburban) can get a world class education.

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