STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
STUDY OF THE FINANCING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
|Time:||09:08 AM to 03:27 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|
CDE Presentation - Special Education
School District Panel on Special Education
School District Broadband Issues
Discussion of Draft Legislation
09:08 AM -- Call to Order
Representative Middleton, the chair, called the committee to order. She explained that she has a letter of support for the EagleNet grant application for broadband access expansion for committee members to sign if they wish. She also announced that the San Luis Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) will be hosting committee members on Friday, September 18. The agenda will include BOCES structure and public dialogue and discussion. She noted that she and Representative Massey would be in attendance.
Senator Romer asked to be excused at 10:00 a.m. from the meeting. Senator Romer provided his concepts for putting forth a bill on school innovation zones, specifically looking at using existing at-risk dollars to improve student achievement among the bottom five percent. He further noted that he has provided Representative Massey an update to share at Friday's meeting regarding the status of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) grant.
Representative Merrifield shared that there is a show on PBS airing this week on the value of high-quality leaders in public education and the effect they have on student achievement.
Representative Middleton noted that the Brett Foundation is providing lunch for the committee at today's meeting. She explained that they also provided lunch at the August 27 meeting. Representative Middleton provided the committee with an update on the September 8 listening session in Summit County.
09:15 AM -- CDE Presentation - Special Education
Dr. Ed Steinberg, Assistant Commissioner for Special Education at the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), provided committee members with a packet of information pertaining to Response to Intervention (RtI) (Attachment A) and reviewed its contents. He introduced Charm Paulmeno, also of the CDE.
Dr. Steinberg explained that RtI is an early intervention model for students who are at-risk for academic and behavior failure, and that it is used within the special education and general education curriculum. He explained that RtI began as a special education initiative that focused on learning disability identification, and was an effort to move away from the "wait to fail" model which had governed special education policy. The "wait to fail" model was based on waiting until a student was far behind in academic achievement before intervening.
Dr. Steinberg noted that developing reading skills is the primary educational achievement barrier for special education students. He further noted that close to 40 percent of students in Colorado have a specific learning disability and 26 percent have a speech or language disability. He discussed that boys are in special education at a 2:1 ratio to girls. He explained the controversy in the field on whether students are properly classified as special education or if there is an issue with the delivery of reading education.
Representative Middleton asked Dr. Steinberg to clarify the deficiency he identified in reading education. Dr. Steinberg replied that there is a science, not a philosophy, to teaching reading. He explained that both phonics and whole language instruction are imperative components to reading education, but that the field has strayed away from the science and more toward a philosophy of teaching reading. He noted that his concern with this is the effect it has on high-needs populations and whether higher education is teaching teachers how to effectively deliver reading education.
Dr. Steinberg continued his presentation on RtI, noting that he would focus on the special education aspects of the model. He discussed how RtI is implemented in schools, explaining that a school has a problem-solving team, which includes the parent and educators, and is tasked with understanding why the student is not achieving in school. He further explained that the team tries different interventions to see what might be the effective solution to improve the student's success. He noted that another task of the team is to identify potential disabilities.
Representative Merrifield asked if every student is evaluated in the RtI model. Dr. Steinberg responded that not every child is evaluated, based on the assumption that most students will achieve at grade level, and that it is appropriate for students who show signs of being at-risk for academic and behavior failure to be evaluated. He noted the difference between being screened and evaluated. Representative Merrifield asked if the model includes evaluation of high-achieving students. Dr. Steinberg replied that these students are also evaluated because children who are not challenged are also at-risk to fail.
Representative Scanlan explained that Summit County uses a program called Response to Instruction for every student, and said there are best practices that can be translated district-wide to all students. Senator Hudak asked how the RtI program is funded since it is not directly tied to special education dollars. Dr. Steinberg responded to Representative Scanlan's comments and explained that he would address Senator Hudak's funding question in a moment. Representative Merrifield sought clarification regarding the RtI model, specifically raising concerns about the lack of evaluation of every student. Dr. Steinberg responded to his concerns, noting that a full-blown evaluation is not necessary for every student. He explained that there is a continuum of diagnostics that can be used to assess students.
Representative Middleton also addressed some of the concerns presented by committee members regarding student evaluation and current district programs. She explained that currently there is insufficient funding for such programs and she would like the committee to discuss how this may be incorporated into the school finance act funding. Representative Stephens asked about the funding structure and whether parents are asked to cover costs for program participation since it is outside of the special education program. Dr. Steinberg responded that the crux of the issue is that RtI is no longer used solely for special education students, which has muddied the funding structure. He noted that he is not aware of any school districts that assess fees on parents in order to participate in RtI. Representative Massey shared that discussion is occurring around early childhood education, specifically regarding early assessments as a tool to identify student needs at a young age. Dr. Steinberg explained that he agrees that there should be evaluation of students, but should be done to varying degrees.
Representative Scanlan noted that, from her experience in Summit County, she has seen the school culture change to a student-centered model when an RtI program is implemented. She discussed that in Summit County, the RtI program is used in every grade, including throughout high school. She further stated that she believes the school district will realize savings over time due to the implementation of the program. Dr. Steinberg concurred with Representative Scanlan's comments, and noted that using RtI in high school is ground breaking and a culture change. Senator King asked which disabilities might be eliminated with the implementation of the RtI program. Dr. Steinberg explained that he believed the reduction would occur in the disabilities with the highest incidence, that being specific learning disability and speech or language disability. Senator King asked if the RtI model is successful, would the state be able to shift more money to the highest need special education students. Ms. Paulmeno responded to the question, and explained that while the department would not recommend a decrease in the lower tier, it would free up more money for all children. Representative Middleton clarified that there is a memorandum in the packet (see Attachment A) that provides an explanation of the impact of RtI on state special education funding.
Dr. Steinberg responded to Senator Romer's comments regarding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), specifically noting that RtI is designed to sort out which students truly have ADHD, instead of misdiagnosing students as ADHD who are just restless and distracted. Dr. Steinberg continued his presentation, discussing special education funding. Senator Hudak asked if school districts may use Title I funding. Dr. Steinberg responded that there has been some loosening of funding restrictions at the federal level, but that, on the whole, Title I funding may not be used for RtI. Senator King asked how stimulus funding may be used for special education. Ms. Paulmeno responded that the stimulus funding provides a unique opportunity for administrative units to apply the funding to early interventions. She noted, however, that there are certain restrictions on the funding regarding the maintenance of effort. A discussion ensued on the topic of how stimulus funding may be used in school districts.
Representative Stephens stated that in the school district she represents, the incidence of autism has increased 150 percent, so the funding need for Tier B students has risen as well. She asked if there is a benefit to identifying these children earlier as a cost savings measure. Dr. Steinberg concluded his remarks by reviewing a memorandum in the packet prepared for Representative Middleton, specifically noting how funding for general education might be used to support RtI. Representative Massey presented concerns regarding the ability of small and rural districts to designate a separate pool of money for RtI due to their limited resources. Dr. Steinberg responded that he agrees with his statement on one level, but also provided an example in Crowley County where the leadership has changed the culture of the school to adapt traditional educator roles. He noted that there are challenges in doing this, but that there are examples of small districts making these changes. Representative Massey responded that some of this could be achieved through the BOCES and asked that he have a list of small school districts that are implementing RtI. Representative Scanlan explained that the biggest issue Summit County faced was finding more time for the teachers. Dr. Steinberg responded to Representative Scanlan's comments on time.
Senator King sought clarification regarding a bullet point in the memo regarding the expelled/at-risk categorical. Dr. Steinberg clarified that it is currently a competitive grant program. Senator King asked about the continuity of funding for the current program. Dr. Steinberg explained that it is an annual application for the grant funding, but that the application must include a demonstration to build capacity at the district level, so that the district does not remain dependent on grant funding. Representative Middleton explained that a school district may need funding for implementation, but that it may be sustainable past the transition. Representative Middleton also noted that the federal government has not yet recognized RtI as an education model. Senator King asked if there is flexibility with the stimulus funds to create an RtI categorical by enacting state legislation directing that stimulus funds be used for such a purpose. Ms. Paulmeno replied that it is too late to do so. Senator King asked if the Exceptional Children's Education Act (ECEA) program funding can be reduced and put into RtI. Ms. Paulmeno explained that the special education federal funding would be reduced by that amount, so that would not be an option. Representative Middleton addressed Senator King's questions about new funding models by noting that there could be future flexibility with Title IA dollars that could be used to fund such an effort.
The committee took a brief recess.
10:30 AM -- School District Panel on Special Education
The committee came back to order to hear from a panel of school district and BOCES administrators to discuss special education. Lucinda Hundley, Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services, Littleton Public Schools, shared a handout with the committee on special education funding (Attachment B). She explained that in Colorado all children in special education are reimbursed at $1,250 per child. She explained that there are three tiers of funding: A, B, and C. She specifically reviewed the limited funding for Tier B students. She also discussed local, state, and national incidence trends on disabilities.
Troy Lange, Interim Executive Director, Mountain BOCES, continued the presentation, discussing Tier C students, specifically addressing out-of-district and in-district students. Representative Middleton asked Mr. Lange to define administrative unit and out-of-district students. He specifically addressed the costs associated with educating in-district and out-of-district students. He also defined educational orphans, who are students whose parents have had parental rights terminated, are incarcerated, cannot be located, or live out of state but the child is placed in the administrative unit, or a student who is legally emancipated. Mr. Lange also reviewed the Special Education Fiscal Advisory Committee's recommendations for the Tier A, B, and C students and educational orphans.
Senator Johnston asked what is the percentage breakdown of students in each tier. Mr. Lange explained that 100 percent of special education students are in Tier A; 22 percent are in Tier B; and about 60 to 70 students are in Tier C. Senator King asked about a recent court decision regarding out-of-district placement. Karen Pielin, Director of Special Education for the Thompson Valley School District, addressed his question, and shared information on another recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Senator Schwartz sought clarification regarding the Mountain BOCES allocation of $600,000. Mr. Lange explained why that allocation is high.
Representative Middleton asked about BOCES and regional service centers, efficiencies, areas of improvement, and changing the definition of administrative unit. Randy Boyer, San Juan BOCES, responded to the chair's questions, specifically noting that the administrative unit leadership is the critical issue and that it varies from unit to unit. He also addressed her comments regarding regional service areas. Mr. Lange also commented on Representative Middleton's remarks, stating that Colorado has not capitalized on aligning the special education system. Representative Middleton asked follow-up questions of Mr. Lange and Mr. Boyer. Mr. Lange explained that because of limited resources, it is a dilemma to collaborate with other units, but also noted that there are missed opportunities on a larger scale for districts to collaborate.
Senator King sought clarification of the recommendations presented by Mr. Lange. Carolena Guiral Steen, Director of Learning Services for the Cheyenne Mountain School District, addressed Senator King's questions, noting that in the Pikes Peak region the units have worked collaboratively to develop a plan for serving the highest-need children. She further noted that a student's needs determines whether an out-of-district or in-district placement is appropriate. Ms. Hundley discussed that smaller school districts in the Denver metro area are already collaborating to serve high-needs students, specifically noting that Sheridan and Englewood school districts send students to Littleton Public Schools (LPS) and pay tuition to LPS for those services.
Senator Johnston asked why neither Denver or Aurora are included on the in-district or out-of-district placement lists provided in the packet from CDE (Attachment A). Ms. Hundley explained that because of their larger budgets they are able to absorb the costs better than the smaller school districts. Representative Middleton asked if there is a demand to have centers created for specific disabilities. Ms. Hundley explained that the school she referenced is a school that serves deaf and hard of hearing students, and that community has its own culture and there was a desire by the parents to serve these students in their own community. Ms. Hundley further noted that if there are parents who want to form a charter for a specific disability, they may do so by working with the State Charter School Institute. Representative Middleton asked beyond chartering, if there is an interest in developing regional programs for specific disabilities. Ms. Hundley explained that in the Denver metro region, special education educators meet monthly about the regional needs. Senator Spence discussed other states that allow students to take funding to private schools and asked why school districts in Colorado do not favor that option. Mr. Lange addressed the Senator's question, noting that parents may also seek reimbursement for excess costs in addition to federal and state dollars. Discussion ensued on the costs incurred for school districts when students with disabilities opt out of the public school system.
Ms. Hundley also responded to Senator Spence's questions, noting that in addition to fiscal issues, it also raises legal issues because of the lack of oversight of private educational programs. Senator Spence explained that the parent has the option to waive due process rights for the child. Committee discussion ensued on private school placements for students with disabilities, with Senator King asking how many out-of-district placements are in private schools. Ms. Pielin discussed the difference between CDE-approved facilities and those that are not approved.
Mr. Lange commented on the RtI presentation by Dr. Steinberg. He shared his experience with observing RtI, noting the intensity levels of intervention and the need for a sufficient number of qualified teachers who are trained in providing the interventions. He noted the importance of focusing on a school's ability to provide the appropriate instruction as opposed to looking at a student's deficiency. Ms. Hundley also commented on the use of federal stimulus funds for special education services, noting that LPS lacks sufficient funding now for current services, so stimulus funds are used to cover existing services, not to expand services. Mr. Lange also commented that stimulus funds in Mountain BOCES are being used to meet current obligations, in particular, to meet reporting obligations. Mr. Boyer explained that San Juan BOCES is pleased to have additional federal dollars, but that those dollars do not have a great amount of flexibility in their usage.
Ms. Pielin also addressed Senator Spence's question regarding private schooling and the financial hardship it creates for families, therefore making it an untenable option for many families. She also discussed the positive behavioral supports component of RtI, which she noted is an important complement to the academic component. Senator Spence responded to Ms. Pielin's comments regarding private schooling and financial hardship.
Representative Middleton asked about Medicaid billing efficiencies. Ms. Hundley responded that Medicaid is a supplemental funding stream, but that the school district has not realized any efficiencies from the use of Medicaid dollars because of the cost and time to submit for reimbursement expenses. Committee discussion ensued on Medicaid billing, specifically regarding the administrative burden.
Senator King asked Ms. Pielin if in implementing RtI, males have been overidentified as having disabilities. Ms. Pielin responded that she did not have the statistics, but that there continue to be more males than females identified with disabilities. Senator King explained that he believes that there is a fundamental discrimination of overidentifying African-American male students into special education, and would like to create a fairer mechanism for identification of students with disabilities. Mr. Lange commented on Senator King's remarks, noting that he believes the bias is removed through the RtI process. Senator Hudak also responded to Senator King's remarks, stating that she believes females are underidentified, as opposed to males being overidentified because male behavior issues are exhibited more outwardly. Senator Hudak asked Mr. Lange to address his comments about the administrative burden for the stimulus funds. Ms. Hundley responded to Senator Hudak's comments, explaining that there is an increased emphasis on compliance, which creates overhead to track progress in the compliance areas.
Senator Steadman asked questions about the recommendations listed in the panel's packet regarding the increase of the per-pupil amount. The committee recessed for lunch.
12:18 PM -- School District Broadband Issues
The panelists, Denise Atkinson-Shorey, Chief Information Officer, EagleNet, Jack McCabe, Executive Director, Centennial BOCES, and John Dudley, Centennial BOCES Board President, introduced themselves to the committee. Mr. McCabe began the presentation by discussing the lack of adequate broadband in Colorado, and the issue it presents for providing educational services to children. He explained that Centennial BOCES and other agencies have been in pursuit of educational equity through improved broadband access. He noted that the efficiency is found through collaboration with other agencies because building the capacity benefits everyone. Mr. McCabe asked Ms. Atkinson-Shorey to provide the current broadband status in Colorado, benchmarks, and the grant application.
Ms. Atkinson-Shorey directed members to information in the packet she provided (Attachment C). She noted that Colorado's state average is below the national average, and that the estimated annual cost of ISP service at 40 kilobits per student will be $80 million. She explained that Colorado is the 39th state to offer Internet2 access to high schools.
Ms. Atkinson-Shorey continued her presentation on the grant application, explaining that the opportunity to participate in the grant has been extended to community colleges and other community entities such as libraries. She explained that their telecommunication private partners have vetted the application. She compared what Utah is able to purchase compared to what Colorado is able to purchase with the same money.
Ms. Atkinson-Shorey noted that there have been 2,200 grant applications submitted for the $28 billion grant pool, and that at least one grant will be awarded per state. Forty-seven applications have been submitted from Colorado. She further noted that the next and final application window will be next spring. Ms. Atkinson-Shorey noted that, according to the data on www.broadbandusa.gov, the EagleNet application is the only application for middle-mile statewide application for community anchoring institutions in Colorado. She explained that the goal of EagleNet is to provide an equalized cost across the state. Representative Middleton asked if the grant addresses school access only. Ms. Atkinson-Shorey explained that the application includes residential and business expansion. Senator Johnston asked what the relationship looks like between EagleNet and the private providers. Committee discussion ensued on the interaction of EagleNet, school districts, and internet providers.
Ms. Atkinson-Shorey explained that EagleNet is an e-rate internet provider currently, and will continue to work with existing vendors and providers within their areas. Representative Massey explained that he would like to carry a resolution supporting the grant application. Ms. Atkinson-Shorey explained that the next step of the grant application is for the Governor's office to provide the federal government with a prioritized list of the grant applications, and said she appreciated any support the committee could provide. With that, the presentation concluded.
12:54 PM -- Discussion of Draft Legislation
Representative Middleton explained how the discussion would proceed. Representative Massey shared his bill concept regarding consolidation of services, and shared a handout with the committee on his bill proposals (Attachment D). He also discussed a bill concept regarding funding for supplemental on-line courses. Senator Spence commented on how incentives would be funded for consolidation and raised political issues surrounding consolidation. Discussion on this topic ensued between Representative Massey and Senator Spence. Senator King raised concerns about consolidating school districts while maintaining separate school boards. Representative Middleton noted that BOCES operate in a similar fashion.
Representative Middleton commented on Representative Massey's bill draft concept regarding consolidation, and presented an idea for incentivizing school districts, specifically that funding would be held harmless for school districts that consolidate services. Representative Scanlan offered a bill concept regarding transparency. She explained it would take a phased-in approach over a two-year period, with the goal of posting checkbook information and investment portfolios online. She noted that the smallest school districts would be exempted, specifically those with fewer than 500 students. Representative Massey explained large districts could post their purchasing card expenses.
Senator Spence asked where the transparency issue was left last session. Representative Middleton explained that the bill did not pass out of the House Education Committee. Representative Stephens shared her thoughts on the concept. Committee discussion ensued on the outreach that would be needed for school districts to be able to implement these requirements. Representative Scanlan noted that the department will come up with a standardized form for posting the information. Senator King shared his thoughts on standardizing the format, noting the expense incurred to school districts to purchase software. Representative Scanlan explained that there has been a preliminary survey of school districts, and the result was that they felt that $100 could convert Quicken to the standardized format, and cost was not an issue of concern. Representative Scanlan also addressed confidentiality issues with posting salaries and how that would be addressed in the bill.
Senator King shared a handout with committee members (Attachment E), concerning bill concepts on at-risk funding. He specifically referred to Appendices A, B, and C. He asked Todd Herreid, Legislative Council Staff, to explain the runs in more detail, specifically Appendix C. Mr. Herreid explained how he arrived at the data presented in Appendix C. Representative Merrifield asked where the funding is derived from to provide the proposed extra $150 per student.
Representative Middleton presented concerns about Senator King's bill concept, stating her preference to provide funding to schools who are needing assistance in teaching struggling students. She asked if he considered other incentives that are not financial in light of the current budget climate. She provided examples from the appendices. Representative Scanlan concurred with Representative Middleton's comments about using existing supports to improve struggling schools.
Senator Hudak stated that the accountability bill passed last session, Senate Bill 09-163, was enacted in order to implement incentives and support for struggling schools. Representative Merrifield expressed his support for putting money toward closing the achievement gap and limited funding should be directed there, as opposed to schools with students who are achieving. Senator Johnston stated that there are two issues: whether the concept is a good idea and whether it is a good use of resources with the current budget restraints. Representative Middleton noted that there are current grant programs to support these efforts. Senator Hudak explained that CDE conducted a study of schools that are high achieving and high poverty and have printed a best practices handbook from the information found in the study. Senator Hudak shared some of the recommendations that will come out of the education subcommittee of the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force.
Representative Middleton shared a concept of Senator Romer's regarding school improvement zones, which could be multi-school and would focus on closing the achievement gap and school leadership. Senator Hudak explained that this concept is very similar to the proposal to be forwarded by the education subcommittee of the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force. Representative Middleton provided illustrative examples of how the improvement zone might look, noting that the zone could be comprised of schools across school district lines.
Senator King asked Marc Carey, Legislative Council Staff, to discuss additional runs he requested from Legislative Council. Representative Merrifield stated that he does not see much difference between the different runs that Senator King requested, and said he opposes taking money from one school to give it to another. Committee discussion ensued on this topic.
Senator Spence sought clarification about the data in Table 1 of Attachment E. Senator King shared his thoughts behind requesting these runs. Representative Massey shared that the Race to the Top money could be used to share best practices across school districts. Representative Stephens suggested a meeting with Early Childhood and School Readiness Commission and the education subcommittee of the Poverty Reduction Task Force. Representative Middleton responded to Representative Stephens' comments, and noted that the at-risk issue is focused on urban and metro school districts and cautioned the committee to keep in mind the rural school districts.
Senator Hudak shared that the Poverty Reduction Task Force's education subcommittee is meeting on September 21.
Senator King presented another bill concept based on the John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award Program. He stated that he wants to create a reward system for schools that are achieving. Representative Massey agreed that a recognition system would be good, but not at the expense of other programs such as the Tony Grampsas program and family literacy program.
Julie Pelegrin, Office of Legislative Legal Services, explained the changes enacted under Senate Bill 09-163 to the award programs. Representative Middleton suggested that the committee ask the department what is currently available and what could be done differently.
Representative Middleton shared a bill concept that would define a small school district as fewer than 2,000 students, saying that funding would be held harmless as long as they agreed to consolidate services. She discussed another bill concept regarding a technology line item to provide hardware, professional development, software, and other technology needs, with the funding derived off the top at 50 cents to 75 cents per student.
Representative Middleton also discussed an concept regarding at-risk students maintaining Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) at-risk eligibility for an additional number of years. She noted that she was not sure how many students that would add to the at-risk population. She discussed a bill concept pertaining to the cost-of-living study, suggesting a shift from using a cost-of-living study to a cost-of-doing-business study. Representative Massey asked if housing would be separated from the basket of goods. A final concept she discussed was supporting intermediary agencies in a formulaic way. Senator Hudak explained that the education subcommittee of the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force discussed the CPP issue as well. Representative Massey raised the issue of speech pathologists and the stringent education requirements and certification. Representative Scanlan concurred with exploring this issue. Senator Hudak explained that school districts may seek a waiver from the requirements.
The committee continued discussion of bill drafts, discussing intermediaries and how they operate. Senator Hudak explained that the funding goes to the regional service areas, which are comprised of multiple BOCES. Senator King raised the issue of student-based budgeting. Representative Middleton responded that she believes school districts could engage in this type of budgeting currently, and that it is not necessary for the state to intervene on that issue. Senator Spence sought clarification of whether it would be a requirement or a district option to participate in student-based budgeting. Senator King replied that he is not considering a statewide mandate. Senator Spence raised concerns about whether at-risk student funding following the student would be a disincentive for school districts because by increasing student achievement, the funding would be lost. Committee discussion ensued on this topic.
Representative Merrifield returned to the topic of speech pathologists, and noted that the University of Northern Colorado is the only school that offers the degree, and that could be a place to look for more information on speech pathologists.
Committee discussion ensued on the process for drafting bills. Senator Johnston discussed the possibility of increasing the at-risk weight over time and for charter schools to increase the number of at-risk students served. Senator Steadman also raised concerns with writing the school finance act now.
Mr. Pelegrin reviewed the discussion of draft legislation, recapping that the following members requested bills to be drafted on the following topics for the October 1 meeting:
- Representative Massey - consolidation, supplemental online, and speech pathologist authorization;
- Representative Scanlan - transparency;
- Senator King - creating awards for schools and encouraging student-based budgeting with a planning grant;
- Representative Middleton - one bill containing: small district changes; inclusion of cost-of-doing-business study; technology line item; maintaining CPP at-risk eligibility; and intermediary agencies;
- Senator Johnston - increasing the weight for at-risk and extending at-risk adjustment to all charter schools; and
- Senator Romer - school improvement zones.
Representative Scanlan stated that the state needs to review how education is funded, specifically speaking to mill levies. Representative Middleton responded to her comments on this issue. Representative Massey discussed how difficult it is for small school districts to raise money. Representative Benefield expressed concerns about the bill concepts presented, noting that the bills suggested are bills that could be normally run in the course of a legislative session. She raised concerns about the cost-of-living study and the lack of discussion about the formula. Representative Middleton responded to her comments. Senator King and Senator Steadman also responded to Representative Benefield's comments regarding the committee's discussion of bill drafts.
03:21 PM -- Public Comment
Bruce Broderius, representing Greeley-Evans School District 6, provided the committee his thoughts on school funding Colorado, discussing special education and speech pathology recruitment, and at-risk funding for charter schools.
The committee adjourned.