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Approval of Legislative Measures to Eliminate the Negative Factor

CONSENT AGENDA CHERRY CREEK SCHOOL DISTRICT

Resolution #038-14       Approval of Legislative Measures to Eliminate the Negative Factor

Funding Cuts

Date:      March 10, 2014

To:          Board of Education

From:      Superintendent, General Legal Counsel, and Chief Financial Officer

Recommendation:

The following resolution was prepared at the request of the Board of Education.

Pertinent Facts:

WHEREAS, to ensure that every student in Colorado has the same educational opportunities, Colorado's school finance formula since 1994 has included both a base amount of per pupil funding and an additional amount to account for unique local conditions and to equalize total per pupil funding across school districts.

WHEREAS, the factors funded through Colorado's school finance formula address significant variables,  including district  size,  personnel  costs,  cost  of living,  and  the number of  at-risk students in a district.

WHEREAS, starting in fiscal year 2010-2011, the legislature added a new "negative factor" to make across-the-board cuts to education spending.   The negative factor applies the same percentage cut to all districts, including the Cherry Creek School District.

WHEREAS, in 2000, Colorado voters passed Amendment 23, which was designed to help Colorado's public school funding catch up to the national average and to keep it at that level.  In contravention of this expressed will of Colorado voters, the legislature's implementation of the negative factor leaves Colorado education funding at 42nd  in the country, more than $2,500 below the national average in per pupil funding.

WHEREAS, in the 2013-2014 fiscal year alone, the negative factor extracted more than $1 billion from school districts of the state's support for public education.

WHEREAS, without the implementation of the negative factor, the School Finance formula would have provided Cherry Creek School District No. 5 with an additional $47,379,814 in the

2011-2012 school year, an additional $61,966,641 in the 2012-2013 school year, and with an additional $61,432,260 in the 2013-2014 school year.  As a result of these state cuts through the negative factor and other factors, from the time period of 2008 to 2012, the School Board for Cherry Creek School District has had to do the following:

•     Ask the Cherry Creek School District taxpayers for a $25 million property tax increase in November of 2012 to meet District budgetary shortfalls.

•     Reduce 148  instructional  positions  from  2008  to  2012.    Said  reductions  resulted  in increased class sizes and reduced one-on-one instructional opportunities.

•     Modify  the  teacher  compensation  schedule,  resulting  in  a  budget  reduction  of  $2.5 million.

•     Eliminate  104  educational  support  positions,  including  transportation  staff,  thereby increasing walking distances for students.

•     Reduce curriculum instruction supply costs by $1.1 million.

WHEREAS, while the legislature has reduced school funding through the implementation of the negative factor, the legislature has passed multiple and significant educational reforms without corresponding funding to support these reform efforts ("unfunded mandates").  These unfunded mandates include, but are not limited to the Preschool to Postsecondary Education Alignment Act (CAP4K)(Senate Bill 08-212), the Education Accountability Act of 2009 (Senate Bill -09-163), the Educator Effectiveness Law (Senate Bill 10-191), and the Colorado READ Act (House Bill 12-1238).  Thus, these unfunded mandates impose financial burdens on school districts already impacted by reduced funding through the negative factor cuts.

WHEREAS, the Cherry Creek School District Board of Education with Resolution #213-00, Approval of Initiated Constitutional Amendment 23 Providing Additional K-21 Funding, (September 11, 2000) advocated for the passage of Amendment 23.

WHEREAS,  since  state  revenues  are  increasing  and  the  legislature  has  discussed  the replenishing of cash funds, the legislature must make it a priority to return to a sensible and constitutional system of school finance, consistent with the mandate of Amendment 23.

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Board of Education for the Cherry Creek School District hereby calls for the Colorado Legislature and Governor to immediately eliminate the negative factor cuts in K-12 education funding.

THIS RESOLUTION IS PASSED AND APPROVED this 10th day of March 2014. HCB/SSM/GGB/vsd

Passed unanimously 5-0

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Cherry Creek School District No. 5 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission to its programs, services or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Cherry Creek School District No. 5 also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Questions, complaints, or requests for additional information regarding these laws may be forwarded to the designated compliance officer: District Compliance Officer or directly to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII, Federal Office Building 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite #310, Denver, CO 80204.

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