Innovative Funding Models
STUDY OF THE FINANCING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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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.