STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
STUDY OF THE FINANCING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
|Time:||09:08 AM to 04:40 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 and Welcome|
Overview of the 2005 Committee and Task Force
National Trends in School Finance
Overview of Current School Finance Act and Funding
Authority of GA to Change Formula under Amend 23
Prioritization of Working Groups
Working Group Reports
All materials referred to in this summary are available on the web at http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/2009/comsched/09SchoolFinanceSched.html.
09:09 AM -- Call to Order and Welcome
The meeting was called to order by the chair, Representative Middleton. She described the agenda and meeting materials provided to members, noting that they are available on-line at the Interim Committee on School Finance website (http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/2009/comsched/09SchoolFinanceSched.html). The chair responded to questions from the committee, including questions about how the working groups that would study issues and report to the committee would be formed.
09:13 AM -- Overview of the 2005 Committee and Task Force
Scott Murphy, Littleton Public Schools, Chair of the 2005 School Finance Task Force; Nina Lopez, Colorado Department of Education (CDE), Member of the 2005 School Finance Task Force; Senator Sue Windels, Chair of the 2005 Interim Committee on School Finance; and Keith King, member of the 2005 Interim Committee on School Finance, came to the table to talk to the committee about the work of the 2005 Interim Committee on School Finance and its associated task force.
Senator Windels began, describing the presentations to and discussions of the 2005 committee. A list of the topics discussed by the committee is contained in the final report of the 2005 committee, which may be accessed on the committee's website (http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/2009/comsched/09SchoolFinanceSched.html).
Senator Windels provided the committee with her observations based on the presentations made to the 2005 committee. She talked about:
- how the base funding amount was set in the 1994 School Finance Act;
- the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB);
- declining enrollment;
- how at-risk students are identified;
- the cost-of-living study; and
- the need for a new factor to address the cost of choice.
Senator Windels provided a number of statistics related to Colorado and its funding of K-12 education, including information about the state's tax burden. She also discussed the stabilization of the mill levy and school districts' bond limits. Senator Windels talked about funding of special education students and English language learners, saying the 2005 committee discussed whether funding for these groups of students should be in the formula rather than funded as categoricals. She provided further information about the committee's discussions around categoricals and its discussions around the State Education Fund balance.
Senator Windels continued her discussion, explaining that five bills resulted from the committee's work. The text of the bills recommended by the 2005 Interim Committee on School Finance is contained in the committee's report (http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/2009/comsched/09SchoolFinanceSched.html).
Mr. Murphy described the discussions of the task force and the makeup of the task force, explaining there were representatives from all areas of the state and that parents, educators, and other stakeholders served on the task force. He explained that the focus of the task force was adequacy in school finance. He said the task force had 12 major recommendations, including a recommendation related to capital funding. The final report of the task force is contained in an addendum to the final report of the 2005 committee. Mr. Murphy noted that the task force recommended the formation of a P-16 council and recommended that the General Assembly study revenue, including the state's tax policy and bonding. He talked about the discussion around tax policy and the recommendations of the task force and described some of the unique issues faced in rural areas of the state.
Ms. Lopez explained that she served on the task force as a representative of the Colorado League of Charter Schools and would speaking from that perspective. She talked about outcomes of the task force's work, speaking specifically to the BEST legislation (House Bill 08-1335), which addressed public school capital construction. She talked about the importance of raising the profile of school finance issues, even if the issues cannot be resolved by legislation in 2010. Ms. Lopez said the task force talked not just about how much money is necessary to adequately fund public schools, but about how the money should be spent. She suggested that the committee consider the guiding principles set forth by the task force as identified in the task force's final report. Ms. Lopez talked about her current role with the CDE, which relates to the spending of federal stimulus dollars. She talked about the possibility of piloting programs using federal moneys.
Senator King talked about two concepts that continue to work their way through the process. First he spoke to special education funding, talking about a recent United States Supreme Court decision addressing the issue of whether school districts are required to pay private school tuition for students with disabilities. He also spoke about the funding of special education "tiers" and discussed funding for excess costs for students with disabilities.
Senator King continued, talking about the implementation Amendment 23. He said that discussion needs to come to the forefront and said the committee should look at changing the factors at weighted student funding. He talked about funding issues surrounding the State Education Fund and the solvency of the fund. He discussed the importance of expanding opportunity through concurrent enrollment.
Senator Romer asked the panel to comment on the school finance formula as it relates to the federal standards set forth by NCLB. Senator Windels talked about the 2005 committee's discussions around NCLB as an inflexible federal mandate. Senator Windels also described a task force presentation about weighted student funding, saying the committee might find that helpful. She also suggested that Pamela Ice, the director of the Office of On-line Learning at CDE, should address the committee on the role of on-line education, particularly in rural districts.
Ms. Lopez commented on the shift from discussing inputs to discussing outcomes. She noted that the school finance formula is input based, while other education discussions are outcome based. She asked the committee to think about Senate Bill 09-163 and its implementation. Senate Bill 09-163 aligned the state's accreditation and accountability systems into a single system that meets federal standards. Ms. Lopez also remarked that a task force was convened briefly by the CDE to discuss issues around seat time, and suggested that the committee find out the outcome of that task force's conversations.
Senator King talked about longitudinal assessment of students and said the committee should look further at the concept of centers of excellence. He talked about federal Title I funding, and how that funding is distributed to schools, saying Title I dollars may go to the most needy students in a district, but they do not go to the most needy students in the state. He said the committee should consider seeking a waiver from the federal government if possible.
Senator Romer responded to the panelists' comments, talking about how to ensure that students meet new standards and how to talk to community members about the moneys needed for public education. Senator Windels responded to Senator King's comments about at-risk funding, saying the provisions of the state act need to be addressed before a federal waiver is requested. She also noted that CDE is doing an analysis, as required by Senate Bill 08-212 (Preschool to Postsecondary Education Alignment Act), of the amount of money needed to educate a student.
Mr. Murphy also responded to Senator Romer's comments, talking about the difficulty in talking to the community about the need for more resources for education. He talked about the inputs versus outcomes issue and the issues faced by districts with declining enrollment.
Senator Johnston asked panelists to talk about measuring adequacy. Senator Windels responded, saying the capacity to do that exists. She talked about the state constitution's requirement for a thorough and uniform education. Senator Johnston asked a follow-up question, to which Senator Windels responded, describing a model used by the School Finance Project and the professional judgement model. Senator King responded to Senator Johnston's questions as well, speaking about how to address the issue of funding following at-risk students. He also discussed the measure of adequacy.
Mr. Murphy joined the discussion as well, providing the district perspective on funding following students.
Representative Massey spoke to equity, specifically bringing up issues around equity in delivery of programs in rural school districts. Senator Windels responded, talking about the importance of a good supplemental on-line program, especially in rural districts. Representative Massey responded, saying there are some courses that do not lend themselves to on-line learning.
Ms. Lopez talked about the need for broadband in schools. She also talked about the equitable distribution of teachers and how to get teachers where they are needed most. Ms. Lopez also responded to Senator Johnston's earlier questions around how adequacy is measured. She talked about costs faced by districts and said that in spite of the move toward discussing outcomes, the School Finance Act continues to be very prescriptive. She also discussed the ability of districts to use moneys efficiently.
Representative Merrifield talked about the importance of keeping in mind what proposals mean at the district level. Mr. Murphy responded, speaking again from the district perspective, saying that when dollars come into districts, before the district talks about what is best for children, it is paying bills. Senator Spence responded to Mr. Murphy's comments, asking him to speak to how his district achieves such good results with limited resources. Mr. Murphy responded, talking about the importance of parental involvement.
Senator Johnston asked about operationalizing academic need. Senator King responded, talking about the importance of continuing to support schools that have success with at-risk students. He suggested using a window of time - longitudinal growth data - in looking at academic achievement. Senator Windels commented that the committee should look at state support for boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES).
Senator Romer asked Mr. Murphy to comment on how, if there were increased funding, it should be distributed. Mr. Murphy responded, talking about getting resources where they make a difference. Senator Romer talked about the realities of the current economic climate. Senator Windels responded to Senator Romer's comments, talking about problems around adding resources to an inadequate base funding amount.
Representative Stephens asked the panelists to talk about how to convince the public that schools are doing the best they can do with the available funding and how there can be more transparency. Mr. Murphy responded, talking about incentivizing school districts. He told the committee about the approach used by the state in the past in this regard.
The committee took a brief recess.
The committee come back to order. Representative Middleton told the audience that members of the committee met with the State Board of Education earlier in the month.
10:56 AM -- National Trends in School Finance
Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States (ECS), and Daniel Thatcher, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), introduced themselves and began their presentation. They provided a handout outlining their presentation (Attachment A).
Mr. Griffith began, talking about how states fund education, explaining that 38 states use a foundation program, 6 states use teacher allocation systems, and 6 states use other systems. He described teacher allocation systems and other systems used by states.
Mr. Thatcher spoke about funding for at-risk students, describing the wide range of students who are "at-risk" for various reasons. He explained that the most common tool for identifying at-risk students is free/reduced price lunch qualification. Mr. Thatcher talked about problems in using that tool as an identifier. He also discussed a number of other tools for identifying at-risk students.
Mr. Thatcher next spoke about use of categorical funds for at-risk students and about the move by some states toward putting at-risk funding into the funding base. He said the trend across states is to reduce categorical programs and move toward the use of the state's primary funding formula to simplify the funding system and provide greater predictability. Mr. Thatcher talked about attaching weights to at-risk students based on the students' particular circumstances.
Mr. Thatcher highlighted several at-risk programs that have shown positive educational results including providing: additional education experts such as tutors; targeted additional instruction time such as after school or summer school programs; additional general instruction time by lengthening the school day or year; early learning programs; and small class and school sizes. Mr. Griffith provided information to this topic as well, talking about the higher cost of successful programs.
Mr. Griffith moved on to a discussion of declining enrollment, talking about short- and long-term hold-harmless provisions provided in some states. Mr. Griffith also discussed other ways of addressing declining enrollment, including use of a rolling student average, best year count of the past two or three years, or a combination of the two. He discussed the North Dakota system that provides more funding for districts with fewer students and for districts with more students than the state average.
Mr. Griffith continued, talking about issues related to small and isolated schools, discussing how states deal with these issues.
Next, Mr. Griffith talked about count days, saying the most common system is multiple count days, describing the arguments for and against this count system. He also talked about use of an extended count period and average daily attendance systems. He also mentioned a monthly-count system used for a short time in Arizona.
Mr. Thatcher spoke next about shared costs and how districts can realize efficiencies by working together. He said a study by the Leadership for Education Achievement in Delaware found that if school districts pooled their purchasing power, they could reduce their costs by between 8 and 14 percent. Mr. Thatcher also talked about the money spent on administrative costs, and touched on the subject of local control in Colorado.
Mr. Griffith next spoke about stable funding sources for education, talking about the difficulty in finding a stable funding source. He said Michigan and Washington have moved to a statewide property tax system, but noted that these systems tend to be unpopular with tax payers and are often adopted as a package that reduces other state or local taxes.
Senator King asked for further information about the use of weights. Mr. Griffith responded, noting that the amount of the weight varies greatly from state to state. He responded to further questions from Senator King around whether any states fund academically at-risk students in addition to economically at-risk students. He provided examples of what states are doing to identify at-risk students, talking specifically about a system attempted in Ohio.
Representative Massey asked the presenters to talk more about "Robin Hood" systems, such as the one used in Texas, whereby wealthier districts share resources with poorer districts. Mr. Griffith responded to Representative Massey's question, as well as a question about incentivizing students to attend school on count dates.
Senator Spence asked for more information on weighted student funding, asking about a number of specific systems. Mr. Griffith talked about a system in Alberta, Canada, where most money was moved to the school level, rather than the school district level, noting that the system has now been pulled back so that more is going back to the school district. He said Houston has also tried this tactic and described some of the issues faced in states that attempted this. Mr. Thatcher added that Hawaii is the only state that has implemented statewide weighted student funding, but reminded committee members that Hawaii is unique in that it has only one school district. He said most other programs like this have been district-level rather than state-level programs.
Senator Johnston asked for additional information about the use of weights in New York. Mr. Griffith responded, explaining that New York's base is low and that it has many categoricals. Senator Johnston asked a follow-up question about how states are gathering free and reduced lunch eligibility data. Mr. Griffith said some states use averaging, looking at average income data rather than free/reduced lunch eligibility data, but that free/reduced lunch eligibility data must still be collected.
Senator Hudak clarified Colorado's method in calculating at-risk for high school students. Representative Middleton provided further clarification, saying Colorado only funds as at-risk students who are free lunch eligible, not those who are reduced-cost lunch eligible.
Senator Steadman asked the presenters to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of distributing money for at-risk students through the formula as opposed to distributing it through a categorical program. Mr. Griffith responded, talking about the proscriptiveness of the systems.
Senator Romer asked about which states are using an outcome based model and which states are working on time on task. Mr. Griffith said not many states or districts are looking at using outcome-based funding, though it has been a topic of discussion. He talked about theoretical models, but said no one can seem to make that work as a predictable funding model. He also spoke to the question about time on task. Conversation between Senator Romer and Mr. Griffith on this topic ensued.
Mr. Griffith responded to a question from Senator Romer about whether any states have discussed pay-for-performance bonus systems based on student learning growth.
Representative Middleton asked for context around the at-risk programs identified in the presentation as programs that work, which Mr. Griffith provided. Conversation on this issue between Representative Middleton and Mr. Griffith ensued.
Senator Johnston asked about states that use average daily membership rather than average daily attendance. Mr. Griffith provided clarification to that issue.
The committee recessed for lunch.
01:03 PM -- Overview of Current School Finance Act and Funding
Nicole Myers, Office of Legislative Legal Services, provided an overview of school finance funding and the formula used to calculate per pupil funding. She provided a handout containing terms and definitions (Attachment B). Nicole explained the requirements for increasing the base contained in Amendment 23. She talked about the four factors that are factored in when calculating the base, saying the factors take into account the size of and cost-of-living in districts.
She continued, describing how district total program is calculated, explaining per pupil funding, the personnel costs factor, the cost-of-living factor, the nonpersonnel costs factor, and the size factor. She also touched on on-line and ASCENT program pupil enrollment. She also talked about the at-risk factor.
Ms. Myers continued her presentation, talking about local share of school finance funding. She explained how many mills a district may levy. Ms. Myers described the three primary sources of state aid -- General Fund, the State Education Fund, and school lands and federal mineral lease moneys. She explained mill levy override provisions in the School Finance Act, saying those revenues can be used for any purpose, including operating costs. Ms. Myers talked about bonded indebtedness and the limits on that indebtedness in statute.
Ms. Myers next talked about categorical programs. She listed the categorical programs that are defined in the state constitution in Amendment 23, saying that these programs are not funded through the school finance formula, but are funded separately. The categorical programs include:
- the English language proficiency (ELL) program;
- the expelled and at-risk student services grant program;
- special education programs;
- gifted education programs;
- the in-school or in-home suspension grant program;
- career and technical education;
- small attendance centers; and
- the comprehensive health education program.
She explained the provisions of Amendment 23, saying categoricals are allocated by the Joint Budget Committee (JBC).
Finally, Ms. Myers explained the difference between per pupil revenue (PPR) and per pupil operating revenue (PPOR).
Ms. Myers responded to committee questions, including a question from Senator King about at-risk funding and the at-risk factor. She also responded to a question from Representative Scanlan about the number of districts that take advantage of mill levy overrides. Senator Romer talked about changes made in the 2009 School Finance Act, saying about $400 per student was freed up for districts under the act. He spoke to differentiating between rural districts with low and high assessed value.
Representative Massey spoke to the issue of low and high assessed valuation districts, saying neither wants to approve mill levy overrides. Representative Scanlan asked whether the state is required to offer some state aid, or whether a district can be entirely funded with local funding. Ms. Myers said there is a requirement that each district receive some state aid. Conversation between Ms. Myers and Representative Scanlan ensued.
Senator Steadman asked how many districts are receiving the minimum amount of state aid. Marc Carey, Legislative Council Staff, came to the table and told Senator Steadman he would get back to him with that information.
Senator Johnston asked for clarification of the ELL portion of the at-risk calculation. David Porter, Legislative Council Staff, joined Mr. Carey at the table to make a presentation that is an overview of school finance formula. They provided a handout outlining their presentation (Attachment C). Mr. Porter described the total funding formula, first explaining how funded pupil count is determined. He said the total projected enrollment for October 2009 is 788,648 students. He responded to a question from Senator King regarding the identified number for incremental kindergarten. Committee conversation on this issue ensued.
Mr. Porter next spoke to the size factor, explaining there is a range that districts might receive under this factor. Next, Mr. Porter discussed the cost-of-living factor, which is determined in a biannual study contracted by Legislative Council Staff. He clarified that the cost-of-living factors is applied only to personnel costs. Mr. Porter responded to a question from Representative Massey, who asked if a one-year window would be more appropriate in determining the cost-of-living in a district. Mr. Porter also responded to an inquiry from Representative Scanlan about whether the cost-of-living factor includes housing.
Senator King asked how the items in the cost-of-living study "basket" are decided, saying that how housing is weighed can cause a problem. Mr. Porter responded, explaining that the items in the basket have changed somewhat over time. A conversation on this issue between Senator King and Mr. Porter ensued. Mr. Porter, in response to a question from Senator Romer, said that the cost-of-living factor comprises 14.6 percent of the formula. Representative Scanlan weighed in on the issue as well.
Mr. Porter continued, talking about the district personnel costs factor and how it interacts with the cost-of-living factor in response to a question from Senator Spence. Senator Hudak asked for further clarification around how the cost-of-living factor is applied.
Next Mr. Porter talked about the at-risk factor, explaining how the incremental funding is calculated. Senator King asked for clarification around the calculation of funding under the at-risk factor. Conversation on this topic continued between Senator King and Mr. Carey.
Mr. Carey continued the presentation providing examples of how the size factor impacts small and large districts and high and low cost-of-living districts. He also provided examples related to the at-risk factor.
Senator King asked for further clarification of the calculation of the at-risk factor. Representative Middleton asked Vody Herrmann, Assistant Commissioner, Colorado Department of Education, and Julie Pelegrin, Office of Legislative Legal Services, to come to the table to respond to committee questions, including the question from Senator King about the at-risk factor. Committee discussion about the at-risk factor and size factor ensued.
Senator King asked whether the items in the cost-of-living basket have ever been codified in statute, or whether the items have always been chosen by Legislative Council Staff. Ms. Pelegrin responded and conversation with Senator King ensued. Ms. Herrmann noted that it may be time to re-base the study.
Senator Steadman asked how much of the school finance formula the at-risk factor comprises. Mr. Porter said the factor is 4.3 percent of the formula.
Senator Hudak commented on the "J curve" that previously existed with the size factor, which, she said allowed large districts to get more funding under the size factor. She asked Ms. Herrmann to comment on why the "J curve" was no longer used.
Senator Johnston asked for clarification on the personnel and nonpersonnel cost factors, which Ms. Herrmann provided. Committee discussion ensued.
02:28 PM -- Authority of GA to Change Formula under Amend 23
Ms. Pelegrin spoke to the issue of whether the categorical programs are protected under the provisions of Amendment 23. A legal memorandum dated January 22, 2003, on the issue was provided (Attachment D). Ms. Pelegrin explained that Amendment 23 requires an increase in categorical funding as a whole, not an increase in each categorical program.
Ms. Pelegrin, in response to a question from Senator Spence, described the differences between the 1988 School Finance Act and the 1994 School Finance Act. Senator Romer asked about the court decision that found unconstitutional the voucher bill passed by the General Assembly in 2003 (the Colorado Opportunity Contract Pilot Program). Senator Spence commented that the opinion addressed not the money, but control over curriculum. Ms. Pelegrin clarified that the court tied the funding and curriculum issues together.
The committee took a brief recess.
02:44 PM -- Prioritization of Working Groups
Representative Middleton reminded committee members that a list was circulated from which they were asked to rank their top three priorities for working group work and committee discussion. She said the list included:
- declining enrollment;
- sustainability of funding and the cliff effect;
- School Finance Act factors, including at-risk and weighted student funding;
- pre-K and full-day kindergarten;
- time on task;
- teacher quality;
- count date reform;
- tech infrastructure;
- support for small and rural districts;
- accountability and transparency; and
- new funding sources.
Representative Middleton explained how the working groups would be formed, saying working groups would consist of committee members, members of the General Assembly who are not committee members, and stakeholders, who will meet during regularly scheduled committee meetings. She asked the committee to weigh in with their priorities.
Senator Romer suggested combining sustainability, new funding sources, mill levy freeze, and Amendment 23 into one working group. Representative Middleton expressed interest in exploring the creation of a foundation formula that does not link funding to time. Representative Massey expressed interest in support for small and rural districts, with the addition of a discussion about equity of programs, which would include on-line and supplemental on-line programs and talking about what is appropriate for on-line delivery.
Committee discussion of priorities continued, with Senator Hudak talking about providing flexibility in what is defined as a full-time student and what is defined as a part-time student. Senator Johnston and Senator Romer weighed in on that conversation.
Senator King asked for clarification about how the working groups would be formed and what they would look like. Representative Middleton said she would like to create three or four working groups, and described the logistics of the groups.
The committee recessed to break into working groups in Senate Committee Rooms 352, 353, 354, and 356. Audio of these proceedings is available on the School Finance Interim Committee website and in the Legislative Library.
04:06 PM -- Working Group Reports
Representative Middleton asked each working group to report back to the full committee.
Formula Working Group: Senator Hudak reported that the group would like to see a new School Finance Act that is: equitable, sustainable, and predictable. She said the act should be student-based and reflective of fixed and variable costs and local differences and linked to the new standards. Senator Hudak said the new act should be phased in over time and include the ability to make adjustments for changes over time. She said the working group discussed differences between factors and categorical programs and discussed which items should fall into which category. The group decided, she said, that at-risk, size, and cost-of-living should be kept as factors. Senator Hudak said the group also discussed the possibility of equity in teacher salaries and whether technology should be a factor or a categorical program. She reported that the group decided that a framework should be put in place and phased-in over time. The group would need to work with the funding working group, she said, because if there were adequate funding, there might not be a need to change the formula. She said the group would also need to work with the working group studying at-risk. Senator Hudak explained that the group discussed whether special education and ELL should be factors or categoricals. She said the group noticed that factors do not apply to on-line education and that is an issue that needs to be considered. Statewide minimum funding keeps changing so districts don't know where they stand from month to month and year to year, she said.
Small and Rural Districts Working Group: Representative Massey reported that the working group talked about the fact that there are on-going efforts in the public and private sectors to bring broadband to rural districts and funding must be provided for these efforts. He said there are significant deficiencies in data reporting, student achievement, and professional development and rural districts are getting farther behind in the classroom because they cannot stay up-to-date with technology. Representative Massey said the group acknowledges that supplemental on-line is most cost effective model and expansion of supplemental on-line is the most effective thing they can do to bring an equity of programs to rural districts. He said there is a moral obligation to give kids in rural Colorado access to the same curriculum and programs as students in urban and larger school districts. He said the group discussed consolidation of administrative duties and technology. Representative Massey said BOCES are in place and can be encouraged to collaborate and share services. He discussed the lack of funding for BOCES. He reported that the group discussed the possibility of changing some requirements related to staff qualifications because it can be difficult to find people who meet the criteria to fill positions in rural parts of the state. Incentives for collaboration among districts, especially at the BOCES-level were also discussed, he said, as well as increased collaboration between districts and community colleges to expand opportunities for students. Finally, he explained that expansion of broadband access and supplemental on-line education are the two biggest issues to be considered in the short term.
At-Risk Working Group: Senator Johnston reported that there are five key questions for the group to focus on: 1) Do we continue to use free lunch eligibility to identify at-risk students? Should reduced-cost lunch be added as an identification tool? Should preschool factors or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or other proxy identifiers be added? 2) Do we want to establish an academic at-risk metric? How would it be measured? He said Senator Steadman will work with staff to put together a presentation on academic at-risk factors in other states and what other factors can be used to identify at-risk students. 3) Should the at-risk factor have to follow students to the school building? Senator Johnston said this question touches charter school funding and how charter schools should be funded for at-risk students. 4) Should we change the formula to add at-risk to the district pupil count instead of the statewide base? 5) How should the at-risk factor be balanced with other factors?
Funding Working Group: Senator Romer reported that the committee needs to signal to districts that $110 million will likely be rescinded and needs to discuss how the money would be rescinded. He reported that the working group also began a discussion about the mill levy freeze. Senator Romer said the group talked about the cliff effect and acknowledged that it will be significant, whether or not the state wins Race to the Top moneys. He said the committee and the working group need to work closely with the Fiscal Stability Committee to find a revenue patch while looking for a long term fix. Senator Romer also noted that the group talked about engaging school districts in the funding discussion.
Senator King said he would like the committee to have a discussion about a weighted student funding formula.
Representative Middleton provided information about what the committee's next meeting (July 27) would look like, saying there would be time for working groups to meet during the day. The committee discussed the meeting and the agenda.
The committee adjourned.