BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1125
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
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10:46 AM -- House Bill 09-1125
Senator Hudak, sponsor of House Bill 09-1125, presented the bill to the committee. The bill prohibits school districts and other local education providers from offering gifts of money or other incentives to encourage enrollment, with some exceptions. She said it is her belief that good schools should not need to offer incentives and there are better uses for taxpayer's moneys.
Senator Romer commented that the New America School did offer incentives, but did not use state moneys for these activities. He asked Senator Hudak if schools could use 501(3)(c) moneys for such incentives. Senator Romer said he wants to be sure that alternative high schools in particular will be able to use all the tools available in attracting students to the school. Senator Hudak responded, saying the bill does not restrict advertising. Senator Bacon asked whether a foundation of a school could offer incentives. Senator Hudak responded that a foundation is not a local education provider. Committee discussion on these issues ensued.
Committee discussion continued, with more committee conversation about what would and would not be allowed under the provisions of the bill.
The committee also discussed the changes made to the bill in the House. Senator Hudak provided additional clarification around the intent of the bill. The committee discussed this further.
Julie Pelegrin, Office of Legislative Legal Services, came to the table to respond to questions raised by the committee. She said the language is very broad, and suggested adding a third exception might address the issues raised. Ms. Pelegrin provided information about the conversation around the bill in the House Education Committee, and responded to committee questions about the scope of the bill.
The committee discussed the bill further with the sponsor and the drafter, with a focus on the specifics of what the bill prohibits.
The committee continued its discussion of the bill, specifically what the bill does and does not allow schools to do, as well as the provisions in the bill as introduced as opposed to the reengrossed bill. Senator Hudak said the witnesses will likely speak to the changes made in the House.
The following persons testified:
11:17 AM -- Karen Wick, representing the Colorado Education Association, testified in support of the bill. She said good schools do not need to offer financial incentives to attract students and parents, but should compete on their merits. Ms. Wick talked about the changes made in the House, saying they were meant as clarifying changes. She said incentives are not the best use of taxpayer moneys, rather those moneys would be better spent in the classroom.
Ms. Wick responded to committee questions.
Senator Hudak responded to a committee request for an example of the kind of situation that prompted the bill. The committee discussed the particular situation and situations other schools might face.
11:23 AM -- Sean Bradley, representing the Colorado League of Charter Schools, testified in support of the bill. He said the league supports the bill in its current form, and noted that the bill as initially written would have prevented some charter schools from offering wrap-around services to students. Mr. Bradley said the league does not support incentives to boost enrollment for the October count, but noted that there are schools that need to offer certain incentives to get students into schools. He provided examples, including child care and transportation. He said the league worked closely with the House sponsor on the bill.
Mr. Bradley responded to committee comments and questions.
11:31 AM -- Bruce Caughey, representing the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), testified in support of the bill. Mr. Caughey said CASE supports the bill in its current form. He explained the intent of the amendments adopted in the House, and said he believes the reengrossed bill does allow for most of the items of concern brought up in committee discussion.
Mr. Caughey responded to committee questions and comments.
11:35 AM -- Jane Urschel, representing the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), testified in support of the bill. She said CASB's support was contingent upon the changes made in the House.
Dr. Urschel responded to committee comments and questions.
Senator Hudak made closing comments to the bill.
Senator Bacon laid the bill over for action to Wednesday, March 11, 2009.