First Regular Session

Sixty-second General Assembly

LLS NO. R99­0938.01 Carrie Hunt



also SENATOR Andrews.




WHEREAS, The Office of the State Auditor contracted for a study of special education programs, which was published in October, 1998; and

WHEREAS, One of the subjects of the study was the funding of special education programs; and

WHEREAS, A recommendation of the study was that the Colorado Department of Education evaluate the current funding system and recommend changes for improvement; and

WHEREAS, Expenditures for special education programs represent a significant outlay of moneys for school districts, totaling $343 million statewide in fiscal year 1996­97; and

WHEREAS, The General Assembly appropriates money under the Exceptional Children's Educational Act and the Public School Finance Act of 1994 to help support programs for children with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, Any change to the method of distributing state General Fund moneys appropriated for special education programs will require a change in state law; and

WHEREAS, The impact of special education funding on school districts and the state budget suggests that state policymakers should be involved in an undertaking to evaluate and change Colorado's method of funding special education programs; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty­second General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein:

(1)  That there is hereby created an interim committee to work through the 1999 interim to study the financing of special education programs in the state of Colorado. The interim committee shall consider, but need not be limited to, the following issues:

(a)  Methods to finance special education in Colorado, including methods that will provide neither an incentive or disincentive to identify students as needing special education services, but will provide educators with the flexibility to provide appropriate and effective special education services;

(b)  The impact of federal funds on the financing of special education programs and the impact of the 1997 reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto on special education expenditures in Colorado;

(c)  The appropriate data to collect from school districts, recognizing both the need of policymakers to evaluate data to make informed decisions and the administrative burden placed on school districts in the collection of data;

(d)  Options for and the feasibility of equalizing money allocated for the support of special education programs;

(e)  Whether the state board of education should be required to set minimum criteria for school districts to provide special education programs directly and, if so, the factors to be considered in establishing such criteria so that such districts achieve maximum efficiency in administering special education programs;

(f)  The excess cost burden resulting from children with disabilities being placed or attending school in a district other than the district of residence, including children placed by state agencies or courts or attending charter schools.

(2)  That the interim committee shall consist of eleven members. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate shall appoint the members of the interim committee no later than thirty days after passage of this Joint Resolution, as follows:

(a)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint six representatives to serve on the interim committee, one of whom shall be named chair of the interim committee and no more than four of whom shall be members of the same political party;

(b)  The President of the Senate shall appoint five senators to serve on the interim committee, one of whom shall be named vice­chair of the interim committee and no more than three of whom shall be members of the same political party.

(3)  That the interim committee shall work with any interested parties, including but not limited to the Department of Education, the State Auditor, school districts, and parents of children with disabilities, to fulfill its duties as set forth in this Joint Resolution.

(4)  That the interim committee shall make findings and recommendations regarding the issues reviewed in this study, including but not limited to any necessary legislation, and shall submit a written report on the interim committee's findings and recommendations to the Legislative Council no later than November 15, 1999. Legislation recommended by the interim committee shall be treated as legislation recommended by any other interim committee for purposes of any introduction deadlines or bill limitations imposed by the joint rules of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

(5)  That the interim committee shall meet at least four times to fulfill its responsibilities in this study.

(6)  That the members of the interim committee shall be compensated as provided in section 2­2­307, Colorado Revised Statutes, for attendance at meetings of the interim committee.

(7)  That the Legislative Council staff, the Office of Legislative Legal Services, the Joint Budget Committee, and the State Auditors Office shall be made available to assist the interim committee in carrying out its duties. All personnel of the Department of Education shall cooperate with the interim committee and with any persons assisting the interim committee in carrying out its duties.

(8)  That all expenditures incurred while conducting this study shall be approved by the chair of the Legislative Council and paid by vouchers and warrants drawn as provided by law from moneys allocated to the Legislative Council for legislative studies from appropriations made by the General Assembly.