Colorado legislature set for funding debate

By The Denver Post

An effort to revamp Colorado’s school finance system that could lead to a tax increase will likely dominate the early days of the state Legislature.
We’ll be eager to see how it plays out.
As outlined earlier this week by EdNewsColorado, the plan is to have the legislature update the state’s school finance formula for early childhood and K-12 education and then to ask voters this fall for money to pay for it.
The catch: You can’t have one without the other.
The official price tag won’t be known for some time, but it’s very likely going to be upwards of $1 billion annually.
Boosting funding for education in the state is long overdue …
We also think lawmakers should include higher education in their discussions, as that system is also woefully underfunded.
First, as we have pointed out for years, Colorado puts too little money into its education system to begin with. Providing more money does not by itself guarantee a better system, but is equally clear that schools across the state would be able to improve outcomes given additional resources.
Second, the state’s economy is improving to the point where the notion of additional taxes is not a deal-breaker. Just last month, many districts across the metro area passed additional levies for schools, for example.
Finally, as Colorado continues to embrace education reforms, we will need a funding model that is better aligned with desired outcomes.
Looming over the discussion, however, will be the Lobato case, in which a judge ruled the state’s funding of its schools violated a constitutional requirement for a “thorough and uniform” public education system.
The time is right to figure out how we can bolster education in Colorado. We look forward to the coming debates on how best to do it, and how it will be paid for.
The Denver Post

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