STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
STUDY OF THE FINANCING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
|Time:||08:55 AM to 04:23 PM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
|Call to Order|
Race to the Top Briefing
CDE Analysis of District Level Data
Innovative Funding Models
Colorado School Finance Project
Funding Impacts on Student Achievement
At-Risk Funding: School Leaders' Perspective
At-Risk Behaviors and the School Finance Act
Child Poverty and School Finance Formula
08:55 AM -- Call to Order
Representative Middleton, the chair, called the committee to order. She explained why the at-risk discussion would be happening at the committee level. Senator Romer commented on the Race to the Top Application briefing, specifically noting that he would like to hear about the details of the guidance that was released on Friday, July 24. Senator Romer also commented on the working group structure, and the importance of bringing the discussions to the committee level, as opposed to having individual break outs.
09:01 AM -- Race to the Top Briefing
Lieutenant Governor Barbara O'Brien and Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones spoke before the committee regarding the Race to the Top application. Lieutenant Governor O'Brien reviewed the status of the application and the specific areas that are being targeted in the application. She further discussed legislation implemented in the 2009 legislative session that positioned Colorado well for the competitive grant application. She noted that early childhood education has not been included in the application process. The state will push for the inclusion of early childhood education in the upcoming public comment period for the Race to the Top's draft guidelines. She also explained the technology that is being use to receive public input on the application throughout the state. She explained that white papers are being commissioned to get feedback on what the public would like to see included in the application.
Commissioner Jones updated the committee on the application guidance issued by the federal government on Friday, July 24. He noted the importance of innovation in being well-positioned for the Race to the Top funding. He noted that on national conference calls Colorado has been cited as an example of the standard the federal Department of Education seeks on certain assurances states must meet to qualify for Race to the Top funds. He further explained the involvement of Colorado in federal level discussions on the common core standards. The Commissioner also discussed the relevancy of Senate Bill 08-130, the Innovative Schools Act, in turning around struggling schools at the state and national level. He discussed the creation of zones of innovation in the state and noted that the system of accountability being built is based on support, not punishment. He also noted the importance of the teacher identifier program for being competitive for Race to the Top funding. He concluded his remarks by discussing the growth model, which he noted is a national front-runner in longitudinal assessment models.
Representative Middleton asked the Commissioner to comment on the school turnaround process and how it fits with the interim committee's discussion regarding at-risk funding. Commissioner Jones discussed the pilots the department has implemented across the state. He noted that on August 7, the data to be released about the pilots will be promising. He also noted the federal stimulus funding can be dedicated for school turnaround, which he explained can be up to $500,000, and that he will be meeting with national experts on the topic to support the department's work in this area. He stated that the department is developing a statewide system of support to couple with the new accountability system created in Senate Bill 09-163, which will be funded with Title I federal stimulus funds.
Representative Middleton discussed the connection between money following the student and the turnaround process. Senator King asked about the Senate Bill 08-212 standards and how they compare to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) standards. Commissioner Jones shared that the department is ahead of the December 2009 deadline for presenting the state standards created under Senate Bill 08-212 to the State Board of Education (SBE). He reviewed the phases of establishing the model content standards. Commissioner Jones explained that Colorado is one of six states that has the opportunity to have early access to the common core standards being developed by the Colorado Department of Education.
Senator Romer commented that few states have moved to an outcomes-based funding model. He stated that teacher compensation models have been at the core of states' innovations. He asked the Lieutenant Governor and the Commissioner to discuss their vision for updating the formula. The Lieutenant Governor stated that her preference would be to experiment with different funding models instead of a complete rewrite of the formula, in order to allow for different growth rates of children. Commissioner Jones shared his view that the old system does not support new innovation in the state, and he presented concerns about how to align public education funding with P-20 alignment. The Commissioner also noted the role that centers of excellence can have.
Representative Massey asked the Lieutenant Governor if she knows how many states will be receiving Race to the Top funding, and if the funding could be used for concurrent enrollment programs. The Lieutenant Governor responded that there will be eight states receiving funding in the first phase of grant awards. She further stated that there are ten states that cannot apply because of their current education systems, but noted that states could change that in their next legislative session.
09:38 AM -- CDE Analysis of District Level Data
Vody Herrmann, Colorado Department of Education (CDE), reviewed the processes for funding Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute. She shared a memorandum with the committee (Attachment A). She reviewed the October 1 pupil count and the age requirements for K-12 education funding. She also reviewed the specific calendar requirements as detailed in state law. She discussed how full- and part-time students are funded in Colorado. She then explained the certification process of the October 1 pupil count and reconciling school district pupil rolls. She discussed assessed valuations and property taxes as they relate to school financing, and how the department initially estimates funding, then "trues" the actual funding in December and June. She noted that there are State Fiscal Stabilization Funds available for fiscal year 2009-10 and she expressed concern about the additional reporting requirements that will be placed on school districts for this funding. She also reviewed a spreadsheet comparing total program funding between districts (Attachment B).
Ms. Herrmann continued her remarks by reviewing the spreadsheet with the committee. She discussed specific examples of school district funding, citing school districts with serious funding issues.
Marc Carey, Legislative Council Staff, reviewed a memorandum regarding categorical funding (Attachment C). He reviewed the memorandum, section by section, providing information on specific categorical programs, including: transportation, English language learners, small attendance center funding, special education funding, the gifted and talented program, and vocational education.
Todd Herreid, Legislative Council Staff, explained that the memorandum provides state funding information, but that there is other local, state, and federal funding that supplements the categorical program funding.
Senator King asked staff to review the three tiers of special education funding. Mr. Herreid referred Senator King to page 19 of the memorandum, which details the various allocations for students with disabilities. Senator King further asked if staff is able to determine school district expenses for school district by tier. Mr. Herreid explained that the table in the memorandum does not provide that breakdown, but the information is available. Senator King indicated that he is interested in knowing if there is a correlation between special education and at-risk funding.
10:08 AM -- CEPA Report
Mark Fermanich and Kelly Hupfeld presented their report on student-centered funding (Attachment D). She noted that the final report will be issued in August. Ms. Hupfeld provided an overview of the report, and the questions that the paper attempted to address. She also explained the definition of student-center funding, and noted the different terms used for this approach. She stated that student-centered funding contains three main tenets. She continued by discussing the current school finance system in Colorado, which allows for limited discretion or customization by the districts.
Ms. Hupfeld discussed the School Finance Redesign Project and explained the core research of the Project. She reviewed the recommendations that came from the project. She stressed the importance of a state school financing system that is designed for continuous improvement and that bases accountability on performance. She also discussed the recommendations from the National Working Group on Student Learning. Representative Massey asked if the recommendations considered the unfunded mandates from the federal government. She noted the project looked at conflicting mandates instead of unfunded mandates.
Dr. Fermanich continued the presentation by discussing specifics of Colorado's Public School Financing Act of 1994, which he noted predates No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Colorado's P-20 alignment movement. He reviewed the components in total program funding in Colorado, noting the state and local shares. He shared how Colorado's financing system measures up with a student-centered funding model. He noted that, in Colorado, the formula funding does not follow students to school, and the issues that arise with equity within Colorado's current formula.
Dr. Fermanich continued his presentation, discussing the components of data systems that link funding to student outcomes. He compared those components with Colorado's current data system. He also discussed how a student-centered funding model can provide support for innovation and experimentation, and discussed the need for flexibility of Colorado's funding system to allow for innovation and experimentation. He noted ways to increase flexibility in school funding allocations through school-wide programs and the federal Ed Flex program.
Dr. Fermanich discussed the need for accountability for continuous performance improvement in a student-centered funding model. He noted that implementing this kind of accountability system requires support for capacity building by states and districts, in addition to incentives for experimentation. He reviewed system equity and Edweek's Quality Countsranking. Representative Merrifield asked how the rankings were determined. Dr. Fermanich explained how the rankings were derived based on four different statistics. He noted that the state ranks 29th in the relationship between property wealth and district spending.
Dr. Fermanich reviewed Colorado's ranking for system adequacy in the Quality Countssurvey. He noted that Colorado ranks 40th in per pupil expenditures adjusted for cost and in the percent of state and local resources that are dedicated to education spending. Senator Romer discussed the relation to underfunded states and the disparity of achievement between students from high and low income households. Dr. Fermanich responded to Senator Romer's comments. Representative Scanlan asked Dr. Fermanich to explain how Quality Counts adjusted for cost differences when ranking per pupil expenditures. He explained that it adjusts for varying costs of living in states.
Senator Johnston asked if the report looked at the New Orleans model of school financing, and whether it is best to put most of the funding to the school, or to keep a balance between schools and districts. Dr. Fermanich stated that he would not make that specific of a recommendation, but noted that most schools in this model have control of about 50 percent of the funding. Dr. Fermanich continued his presentation, discussing how Colorado's financing system measures up to meeting system adequacy.
Ms. Hupfeld provided specific examples of districts that have implemented student-centered funding. She reviewed the New York City model, noting that the district is currently transitioning to its model. She explained that each school receives a base allocation per student, additional weights for need factors, and additional funds for school characteristics (i.e., CTE program, magnet, special education, school size). Ms. Hupfeld responded to questions from the committee regarding the New York City model.
Ms. Hupfeld continued to respond to questions from the committee members. She reviewed Houston's weighted student formula, noting the specific weights used there. She noted that Edmonton has the most complex weighted student funding, which includes eight levels of funding. She explained Edmonton's design parameters for its funding model. Dr. Fermanich noted other research on student-centered funding. He also discussed considerations for the implementation and system design of a student-centered funding system. He noted school districts' experiences in Washington state and San Francisco.
Dr. Fermanich discussed the issue of decentralizing authority in student-centered funding models, noting that it varies depending on district policies, system design, support infrastructure, federal, state, and local regulations, and collective bargaining agreements. He noted possible organizational and student outcomes that can result when student-centered funding is implemented. Ms. Hupfeld discussed challenges to considered when implementing such a system.
Ms. Hupfeld concluded the presentation with the report's recommendations for Colorado, specifically that the state should incentivize school districts to change to this funding model, not mandate student-based budgeting. Ms. Hupfeld and Dr. Fermanich responded to questions from the committee.
11:21 AM -- Innovative Funding Models
Jerry Wilson, representing Poudre School District, discussed Poudre's student-based budgeting model. He shared a handout with the committee (Attachment E). He explained why Poudre implemented the model. Jim Sarchet, Chief Financial Officer of Poudre School District, provided further detail on the mechanics of student-based budgeting. David Montoya, also of Poudre School District, discussed the factors that are used in its formula.
Before the next panelists spoke, Representative Middleton clarified that these school districts are sharing innovative funding models that the school districts are using within the constructs of the current school finance act.
Roberta Selleck and Sandy Rotella, representing Adams School District 50, explained that the school district uses a standards-based education system and shared a handout with committee members (Attachment F). Dr. Selleck explained what it means for students to learn in such a system. She noted that Senate Bill 08-212 creates a system in which standards-based education is tenable. She discussed how students are grouped by ability, not age, with extra support being provided to students who need it. She provided an example of challenges in a student-based system under the current financing formula, specifically noting funding constraints for 5-year-olds, for which school districts only receive 50 percent of funding. She also noted challenges with providing opportunities for gifted and talented children in a seat time-based system. She discussed the compulsory education requirements as a barrier to standards-based funding.
William Stuart, representing Aurora Public Schools, provided information highlighting the school district's diversity. He noted that Aurora does not have formal student-based budgeting but has implemented a program to address the needs of the diverse student body. He noted that Aurora is developing a model where schools will in essence purchase services from the school district, depending on need and support in that specific school. Mr. Stuart also discussed the Fifth Block program, which is typically known as summer school. He explained that the district wanted to move away from the summer school model and alter the calendar to end early and use the month of June to invite identified students to participate in the program. He explained that teachers are paid per diem instead of a flat rate. He noted the funding challenges in getting the program implemented. He shared a handout with committee members (Attachment G).
Senator King asked Poudre School District follow up questions about their program, specifically about the factors and how the relate to elementary education. Dr. Wilson responded to the questions, noting the district is in its third year of implementing student-based budgeting, and presented concerns of adequacy for the existing formula. Mr. Montoya addressed the questions regarding the size factor for grades other than elementary school level. Senator King further asked if schools have attempted to implement a school-based teacher merit program. Dr. Wilson explained that the collective bargaining agreement would preclude that from happening.
Senator Spence asked about performance-based pay in each of the school districts, specifically asking Adams School District 50. Dr. Selleck responded that she supports performance-based pay, but the current bargaining agreement would not allow that. Mr. Stuart also responded to the question, noting that merit-pay discussions have not occurred and that the bargaining agreement precludes that type of program. He noted a pilot project to find out what changes need to happen in order for that to be implemented. Senator Bacon commented on the success of the Poudre program despite initial skepticism in the community. Senator Romer asked if there would be a helpful way to include longitudinal growth data in student-based budgeting. Dr. Wilson responded that there will be opportunities, and noted his interest in the New York City model. He further explained that federal funds are targeted more specifically in order to affect the outputs that Senator Romer described.
The committee took a brief recess.
12:22 PM -- Colorado School Finance Project
Tracie Rainey, representing the Colorado School Finance Project, shared a handout with the committee members (Attachment H) and explained how she can be a resource to committee members. She provided the committee with background on the Colorado School Finance Project and on the 2005 interim committee on school finance. She also posed some considerations for this year's committee, including: the implementation of a standards-based system, what would be included in a foundation formula, and the interaction of Senate Bill 08-212 with the formula.
Ms. Rainey reviewed the elements of a standard based system, such as the new standards, the growth model, new assessments, new accountability system, and resources. She also discussed the base amount for a foundation formula and the related adjustments to the base amount. She specifically discussed the following factors: school district size, cost of living versus cost of doing business, personnel cost, at-risk, English language learners, special education, and adjusting for school choice and time.
Ms Rainey also discussed technology, concurrent enrollment, and uncontrollable costs to districts. She noted the varied needs schools have for technology, which is not limited to giving a computer to each child. She discussed the program opportunities for students in a concurrent enrollment program. Ms. Rainey suggested high gasoline prices or energy costs as an example of an uncontrollable cost.
Ms. Rainey encouraged the committee to focus on establishing goals for the interim committee and reviewed the goals set in 1994 when the current formula was enacted. She noted that the standards system looks much different today than it did in 1994. She also provided some considerations to learn from the past, including the unintended consequences of the Gallagher and TABOR amendments on the School Finance Act. These amendments resulted in $1.65 billion in local tax relief over 15 years, which was a funding loss to K-12. She encouraged the committee to consider the school finance act and other legislation that impacts it when setting goals and making decisions on the formula. She noted the importance of creating a framework and timeline for implementation.
Ms. Rainey also presented a question on how to pay for school finance, specifically asking what could the local and state split be, what are the challenges for the state and districts. She also noted that the legislature must consider that school districts are 18 months ahead of the state budget in making budgeting decisions.
Representative Middleton asked about a techology-related fee and the cost per pupil for testing, specifically what other states are doing that could be considered models or lessons. Ms. Rainey that it will be easier to identify assessment costs once the current system is overhauled under the Senate Bill 08-212 implementation. She discussed connectivity issues for all districts and computer access. Senator Hudak shared thoughts from her constituents regarding property tax assessments and mill levies. She offered for consideration a state property tax system instead of individual, local mill levies. Senator Bacon commented that the school finance interim committee needs to collaborate with the long term fiscal stability commission and the poverty reduction taskforce in order to address these issues.
Senator Romer noted the importance of working with the business community on addressing the state's budget issues, specifically noting that the growth model can be a vehicle for demonstrating to the business community the need and the value of public education. Senator Hudak responded to Senator Romer's comments and discussed business property taxes in light of the Gallagher amendment. She also provided the committee with information on the education sub-committee of the poverty reduction taskforce.
01:02 PM -- Funding Impacts on Student Achievement
Justin Silverstein, representing Augenblick, Paliach and Associates (APA), discussed the funding impacts of student achievement, including at-risk student funding and shared a handout with committee members (Attachment I). Mr. Silverstein discussed the three key factors to consider for a school finance system: at-risk students, special education students, and English language learners.
Mr. Silverstein responded to questions from the committee regarding factors. He continued his presentation noting that APA has examined the relationship between performance and spending by state. He noted the challenges with using NAEP. Senator King asked how need was determined in the graph, whether he used free and reduced lunch and/or special education. Mr. Silverstein continued his presentation on identifying at-risk students, specifically discussing that proxies are generally used by states. He cautioned that proxies are not necessarily designed to identify specific students who need services but to estimate the total number of students who need services.
Mr. Silverstein responded to questions from the committee. He reviewed the proxies that different states use, including free lunch, free and reduced lunch, the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, families below poverty level, assessment scores, and census factors such as parent education level. He then discussed how weights are arrived at. He also explained how Colorado arrives at its at-risk weight, noting that the funds go to the district and charters receive funding a district average. He noted the range of weights across states. Committee discussion ensued about the Maryland at-risk weight and formula.
Mr. Silverstein discussed the various ways that states spend at-risk funding, explaining that some states require it be spent on specific program, but many do not restrict the expenditures at all. He stated that the committee should consider should the dollars be tracked to students or programs, and that currently Colorado looks for 75% of at-risk funding to go to programming. He further noted that states generally do not collect expenditure data for at-risk because the programs that serve at-risk may also serve a larger pool of students, which makes it difficult to parse out what is specifically spend on at-risk. He discussed the different at-risk programs, including: reduced class size, alternative schools, tutoring, and before/after school programs..
Mr. Silverstein responded to comments and questions from the committee.
01:44 PM -- At-Risk Funding: School Leaders' Perspective
Jim Griffin, representing the Colorado League of Charter Schools, raised three main points: (1): is at-risk the right vehicle; two: is free lunch right proxy; and (3): is the free lunch proxy being used right. He presented concerns that the school finance formula is funding districts not schools. He asked, if that is not the case, then is there an issue of equity for charter schools. He stated that charter school funding could benefit from having its own formula, instead of a derivative of its school district's funding. He presented considerations for the committee regarding creating a formula that takes into account all funding streams. He discussed the challenges with using free and reduced lunch for at-risk identification. He explained that because only 28 percent of charter schools have facilities that meet federal standards for the free and reduced lunch program their ability to count and track their free and reduced lunch-eligible families is compromised. He noted legislation that passed this year that will change some of the underreporting that occurs at charter schools.
Scott Murphy, representing Littleton Public Schools, shared his experience putting together the current school finance formula, which began in 1992, and resulted in the Public School Financing Act of 1994. He explained that a poverty index alone does not capture all of the students, specifically noting that it does not include students with disabilities. He shared some of the tools the district uses to reach at-risk students. He recommended that the at-risk funding be outcomes-based.
Representative Merrifield asked Mr. Murphy his opinion of weighted student funding. Mr. Murphy replied that he did not think weighted student funding would be helpful for his school district because of the lack of data to know where to focus the money. Senator King clarified that the earlier recommendation was not to create a mandate but an incentive to use student-based budgeting. He asked Mr. Murphy what would motivate his staff to improve achievement among students. Mr. Murphy replied that teachers and districts do not work from that perspective, they prefer to have data.
Representative Middleton asked the panelists to address which changes they would advocate for in the at-risk definition. Mr. Griffin responded by discussing the previous presentation regarding the lack of tracking of state at-risk funds (see Mr. Silverstein's presentation). Mr. Murphy discussed incentives, and how that might work in a school district and how schools currently find funding to support programs like those that serve at-risk students. Committee discussion ensued about incentives and funding for at-risk programs. He addressed concerns about continuing funding for incentive-based funding.
Mr. Griffin responded to comments by Representative Stephens, discussing support for a funding formula that captures at-risk students based on poverty, incarceration, and other factors to include specialized populations that would benefit from at-risk funding. Senator Johnston asked the panelists about at-risk factor in comparison to the other factors, noting the at-risk factor constitutes 25 percent of the formula funding. Mr. Murphy responded to the question, explaining he does not know the numeric value for at-risk students. Representative Middleton asked Mr. Murphy to share his perspective as one of the people who worked to create the 1994 formula. Committee discussion ensued about how to put factors at work when the money is limited.
Senator Romer commented on the current state of public school funding in Colorado and the need for a ballot measure to fix the long-term budget issues. He discussed the challenges minority students face in achieving in school. Mr. Murphy responded to Senator Romer's comments. Representative Middleton asked if Mr. Griffin wanted to comment on averaging funding. He reiterated his belief that the state funds districts not schools. Senator King commented on charter school funding, asking Mr. Griffin which method of charter school funding he prefers. Mr. Griffin replied that he does not have a preference and commented on how the two funding systems work, noting the capital construction challenges in the funding.
02:44 PM -- At-Risk Behaviors and the School Finance Act
Ken Seeley, representing the Partnership for Families and Children, discussed methods for dropout prevention. He specifically discussed the initiative Colorado Graduates, which is implemented in conjunction with the Donnell-Kay Foundation and the Colorado Children's Campaign. He noted that there needs to be a better way of penalizing at-risk students besides expulsion, noting that the partnership has worked to encourage suspension and other dropout prevention programs. He explained that The National Center for School Engagement, founded in 2003, is focused on attendance, attachment, and achievement. He noted early warning signs, such as unexcused absences in young students, appear as a result of coming from chaotic situations where getting to school is not high on the priority list. He noted past efforts to fund schools on attendance, not pupil count. He shared other early warning signs of potential future dropout, specifically: students with at least one F and behavior problems manifested by suspensions and attendance issues.
Mr. Seeley discussed the importance of incentives for students to stay in school, instead of losing them permanently when they drop out in the ninth grade. Senator Schwartz shared her discussion with a superintendent who wondered if it would be possible to tie TANF payments to required school attendance. Mr. Seeley noted that Florida is a state that ties those two things together but he cautioned about the punitive nature of the method. However, he noted that, as a threat, it improved attendance in Florida. Senator Johnston also commented on TANF and attendance. Mr. Seeley responded to Senator Johnston's comments, sharing past attempts to implement average daily attendance. Senator Johnston asked about more severe punishments and their effectiveness and enforcement. Mr. Seeley noted that the Jacksonville program would arrest parents of elementary school students. He explained that getting children to schools requires incentives and punishments. He indicated that Pueblo, Colorado, is a good model of combatting truancy.
Representative Massey expressed concern about punitive actions against parents and that the incentive programs, in his belief, are preferable to punitive programs for encouraging school attendance.
Steve Dobo, representing Colorado Youth for a Change, shared his experience working with dropouts in Denver. Mr. Dobo explained he started with 85 students and now works to identify thousands of children at risk of dropping out or who had dropped out. He shared some of the partnerships he created to get students interested in returning to school. He noted the importance of having different programs to target the varying age groups. He noted his work with the Colorado Children's Campaign and the Partnership for Families and Children. He discussed the October count and the cycle of behavior it creates in school personnel. He noted that there is no incentive for schools to serve at-risk students after the October count. He provided anecdotal evidence of different behavior before and after the October count. He also discussed the manner in which average daily membership (ADM) and average daily attendance (ADA) are better to incent schools to keep children enrolled. He expressed his belief that two counts would simply create a more complicated system for schools to game and recommended that weighted school funding might be helpful in combination with using ADA.
Senator Romer discussed the incentive to bump up numbers for the October count and the fact that schools expect some sort of mobility. Committee discussion ensued about the October count date and migrant children. Representative Middleton noted there is a federal program that assists with migrant children. Senator Johnston asked about incentivizing school districts for schools to be more expensive as the grade level increases. Mr. Seeley explained the infinite campus program. Senator Schwartz asked about four-day school weeks.
Mr. Seeley noted that he is working on a rural dropout study that will be published next month. Senator Romer discussed the I Have a Dream Program and that there are lessons in it for school districts, even though it is not completely replicable in the same way. Representative Middleton noted that the Colorado dropout model is known as a national model.
03:32 PM -- Child Poverty and School Finance Formula
Alex Medler, representing the Colorado Children's Campaign, presented on child poverty and the school finance formula (Attachment J). He discussed the growing number of children living below the poverty line. He noted geographically where there are the highest percentages of children living in poverty. He noted that the bulk of children living below poverty in Colorado are living along the Front Range, but the percentage as total population is higher in rural communities. He also discussed the change in unemployment rate from March 2008 to March 2009. He also showed the growth in the poorest of the state's citizens. Mr. Medler responded to questions from Senator Johnston.
Mr. Medler discussed how children living in extreme poverty changes by a child's age because of a parent's ability to work, which he noted could be mitigated by increasing access to pre-K programs. He noted the progress the state has made in full-day kindergarten enrollment, but that where there is a growth in poverty, there is less full-day kindergarten. He also shared statistics on the percentage of students who graduate high school based on the number of 9th grade semester failures.
Mr. Medler discussed the "catching up" and "keeping up" theory and that the state does a bad job of getting students to catch up and keep up in school. He shared statistics illustrating that point.
Representative Middleton commented that the suburbs experiencing outmigration from Denver are not prepared to deal with children living in poverty. Mr. Medler noted that Colorado is 50th in providing health care coverage to children living in poverty. Senator King asked follow up questions about strategies for assisting students who are partially proficient. Mr. Medler responded that Denver does use different strategies, but that the slide Senator King referred to in the presentation is an estimate for whether the district can keep up or not. Senator King asked about the 9th grade failure rate.
Mr. Medler recommended that the at-risk definition be expanded to include more than poverty. Senator King asked Mr. Medler's opinion on student-based budgeting for improving student achievement. Mr. Medler responded to questions from the committee.
04:10 PM -- Public Comment
Representative Middleton provided closing remarks prior to the public comment, noting that count day will be incorporated into the next agenda. Senator Bacon asked the discussion include a review of what it means to be a member in regards to average daily membership.
04:15 PM -- Lisa Mieritz, representing herself, shared that Colorado Springs School District 11 engages in more site-based funding than the district originally realized and recommended surveying how much site based funding school districts are already doing. She presented concerns about the cost effectiveness of charter schools.
04:20 PM -- Annette Fante, representing Douglas County Schools, shared her appreciation for the committee looking at the at-risk definition, and specifically discussed the consolidation of special interest funding into a single funding stream to allow the school district the flexibility to put money where it is most needed.
The committee adjourned.