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What’s Happening Now

Latest Posts on November 7th, 2014 No Comments

There are many issues being tackled in Colorado and in the U.S. regarding education and funding. From per pupil spending numbers to school finance, recent ballot issues and how sequestration is affecting education, these topics affect schools, communities, families and students. Read more about some of the latest issues.

Will the Public Accept Getting Rid of CSAP Without Another Means of Accountability?

Angela Engel’s editorial in the Denver Business Journal is a bit provocative and she certainly doesn’t mince any words.  While the academic part of school districts isn’t my bailiwick I’ve certainly heard a lot of educators mention the same points.  So here are a couple of questions about which we’d like to hear your comments. Read more here.

Public Schools Are Hurting More in the Recovery Than in the Recession

Despite the economic recovery, total school funding fell across the U.S. in 2012 for the first time since 1977. Read this interesting article from FiveThirtyEight Economics.

Will Schools Get Their $1 Billion Back?

Video 1 ScreenshotColorado Public Radio featured a conversation titled “Why Colorado schools want their $1 billion back.”  <http://www.cpr.org/news/story/qa-why-colorado-schools-want-their-1-billion-back>.

The report highlighted critical issues that Colorado school districts face today but it failed to address what is in store tomorrow.  If school districts are expecting money to start flowing in, they’re probably setting themselves up for severe disappointment.  Some questions that must be asked include:

  • How does a school district stay on track and look at the bigger picture whether or not these funds come in?
  • What are the top 3 things school districts need to do to remain on course?
  • If the funds do come in, how do they allocate them to effectively mitigate their growing lists of issues?

There must be a plan in place to help school districts remain on course with or without this funding.  Even if the negative factor was completely reduced, it will always be a game of catch up.  School districts must determine how to effectively mitigate their growing list of issues based on the funding available.

Strategic Resources West offers an Efficiency and Utilization Audit that provides districts with an accurate way of making decisions about your school district’s future.  When you’re unsure about whether to look at demographics, facilities or master planning, consider having us conduct this very affordable audit that will guide your decision-making, save your district money, and help you properly allocate any additional funds that come in.

Proposed School Finance Legislation

thCAG4S2IYAsking for educational funding to be restored to the level required by Amendment 23 is unrealistic given the fiscal cliff the State is facing over the next several years.  Read Denny’s commentary about the Student Success Act and the Law of Unintended Consequences.

How much will Colorado school districts gain from the Student Success Act? At what cost? Check out the Colorado School Finance Project’s survey of school districts on this issue at www.cosfp.org.

 

BEST Grants

Education-Funding-300x205Strategic Resources West helps school districts effectively plan for building new schools and improving existing facilities. In doing so, we help many of our clients apply for the BEST (Building Exceptional Schools Today) Grant Program to fund capital improvements. Last month, the Colorado Department of Education BEST Grant Program announced that funding could be substantially limited without additional legislative action. This may have significant impacts on school districts, including:

  • A small size of cash grants available;
  • Appropriation subject to legislative approval; and
  • Tightening program requirements

See Denny Hill’s commentary on the topic. For the latest on the BEST Grant Program, visit the Colorado Department of Education website or contact us.

Colorado’s Decision on Education Funding

On November 5, 2013 voters took to the polls to decide whether to pass a measure that would raise $950 million in new taxes to fund public schools through a tax increase that would generate revenues for preschool through twelfth grade education. The measure failed by a wide margin. Read Denny Hill’s commentary on how band-aid measures won’t fix a broken funding system.

Update on the Potential Impacts of Sequestration

Last year the Colorado School Finance Project (CSFP) began collecting data from school districts on the potential impacts of Sequestration.  The effects of Sequestration are likely to be realized in the 2015-16 school year with small, rural school districts the hardest hit.  As the CSFP continues to collect feedback on the issue, common concerns among school districts include:

  • Potential loss of funding for early childhood education including Head Start, preschool and even Kindergarten
  • Staff reductions that could result in increased class sizes
  • Federal Title I programs changes, notably in school districts with higher proportions of at-risk students or those receiving free and reduced lunches

See the full report in progress on the Colorado School Finance Project website at http://www.cosfp.org/.

Colorado School Finance Project Profile Reports

CSFP’s annual Colorado State Profile Reports are available as of December, 2013. The reports depict changes in K-12 funding and counts may be found on the CSFP website.

 

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