2-2-1902. School finance study - issues - hiring consultant. (1) The interim committee shall, at a minimum, study the following issues:
(a) The costs and benefits of the requirements imposed on school districts and public schools by state and federal laws;
(b) Taking into account all existing federal, state, and local resources used to fund elementary and secondary education, the total amount available to fund public education in each school district, in aggregate and per pupil;
(c) The relative value of and return on resource investment across the time frame of a student's education career;
(d) An appropriate, accurate method for identifying students who, because of their life circumstances, are in greater need of services and supports to give them opportunities equal to those of their peers to achieve their academic potential;
(e) Funding each public school student through a per-pupil basis that consists of a base amount plus additional funding allocations associated with particular attributes of each student, to be used to provide educational programs to address students' particular attributes, and based on the particular attributes of each school district as follows:
(I) Allocations based on grade level as follows:
(C) Grades one through five;
(D) Grades six through eight; and
(E) Grades nine through twelve;
(II) Allocations based on a student's eligibility for free or reduced-price meals under federal law, taking into account the varying eligibility levels specified in federal law. In considering this allocation, the interim committee must consider the extent to which a school district or charter school uses the additional state allocation and federal money, including money received pursuant to Title I of the federal "Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965", 20 U.S.C. sec. 6301 et seq., as amended, to provide services for at-risk pupils as defined in section 22-54-103, as demonstrated by the school's level of performance on state assessments and the school performance plan.
(III) Allocations based on a student's identification as an English language learner, as defined in section 22-24-103, taking into account a student's exit from an English language proficiency program;
(IV) Allocations based on a student's identification as having a significant reading deficiency and requiring reading interventions pursuant to section 22-7-1205;
(V) Allocations based on a student's status as being a child with a disability as defined in section 22-20-103. The interim committee may consider different allocation amounts within this category based on a student's specific disability.
(VI) Allocations based on a student's participation in career and technical education programs or concurrent enrollment pursuant to article 35 of title 22; and
(VII) Allocations based on school district attributes as follows:
(A) The number of students enrolled in the school district;
(B) Whether the school district is rural as defined by rule of the state board of education;
(C) Whether the school district is increasing or decreasing in enrollment; and
(D) The cost of living and personnel costs within the school district;
(f) Eliminating direct funding for categorical programs and instead distributing categorical program funding on a per-pupil basis throughout the state using allocations added to the statewide per pupil base funding amount for each student who is eligible for funding through the categorical program, which allocations would be used to provide educational programs related to the categorical program, including high-quality educator professional development, to eligible students;
(g) Strategies for funding transportation for students enrolled in all public schools in a manner that would be included within the school finance funding formula, including consideration of total mileage traveled on a per-pupil basis;
(h) Alternative methods for counting enrolled students for purposes of per pupil funding;
(i) School district organization, including considering school district size based on pupil enrollment and the geographic location of school districts;
(j) The level of funding for education that is available from the local resources available to each local education provider and the amount of local resources that each district charter school and each institute charter school receives, including consideration of:
(I) The amount of property tax revenue each school district annually collects from the total program mill levy and additional authorized mill levies for operating purposes, disaggregated by residential property tax revenues, business property tax revenues, and revenues from taxes on mineral resource extraction;
(II) Strategies for equalizing mill levies in school districts and public schools across the state and for ensuring that authorization for additional mill levies for operating purposes complies with the constitutional requirement of maintaining a thorough and uniform statewide education system;
(III) The methods and timing for calculating assessed property valuation related to mineral extraction; and
(IV) Other sources of funding for public education, including public and private gifts, grants, and donations, available to each institute charter school and each school district, or available to schools of a school district, including district charter schools, individually or by campus, and the amount received from each source; and
(k) The capital construction needs of each school district, district charter school, and institute charter school, including school districts' capacity to issue bonds and the relationship of bonding capacity to the ability to obtain authorization for other mill levies, and whether there are areas of student enrollment growth or decline within the state public education system.
(2) Based on the study of issues described in subsection (1) of this section, the interim committee shall make legislative recommendations to the general assembly addressing how to most accurately meet the educational needs of individual students through the funding of education in Colorado.
(3) Subject to available appropriations, the interim committee shall issue a request for proposals for a private entity to assist in gathering information and analyzing the issues specified in subsection (1) of this section. The interim committee shall enter into a contract with the private entity by September 1, 2017. The interim committee shall not contract with a private entity that has ever previously contracted with the state of Colorado, or an agency or political subdivision thereof, for a study or analysis of school finance in Colorado.