"This financial situation has significantly altered the quality of educational programing we are able to provide the students of the district, and, in our judgment, is unsustainable."
~ letter to legislators from CCSD Board of Education President Jim O'Brien and Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull
The Cherry Creek School District Board of Education on Monday, April 14, 2015 passed a resolution calling on Colorado lawmakers to eliminate cuts to public education under the "negative factor."
"We as a community cannot stand idly by and allow this absence of legislative action to continue when it comes to the impact that it's having on our students," Board Member Claudine McDonald said. "Being 43rd in the country in our spending for education is simply not acceptable. We must tell the legislature that we feel the pain."
The Legislature has withheld more than $1 billion statewide and about $224 million over the last four years from Cherry Creek students alone, despite the voter-approved Amendment 23.
Amendment 23 required the state to increase base funding to school districts by growth and the rate of inflation each year. The constitutional amendment also outlined a funding formula for variables such as school district size, local cost of living, and the number of "at-risk" kids (eligible for free lunch) in a district.
The Legislature later reinterpreted Amendment 23 to mean that it only covered the base funding and that they were not required to fund the variables, now known as the negative factor.
"Receiving $7,026 per pupil from the State of Colorado to educate our students is no longer acceptable and does not provide the type of education funding that students now need to compete on a global level," board member Dave Willman said.
Last year, the Legislature agreed to pay down the negative factor by $110 million. This year, lawmakers are offering an additional $25 million for all schools statewide. That equals only $1.5 million for Cherry Creek neighborhood schools.
"At the same time, the Legislature has passed multiple and significant reforms without corresponding funding for these reform efforts," Board President Jim O' Brien said. "As the resolution notes, the cost to the Cherry Creek School District for these unfunded mandates is approximately $51 million."
"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" the resolution states.
With the last day of the session on May 6, 2015 rapidly approaching, legislators need to hear parents' voices. Download a list of legislators serving the Cherry Creek School District and call them today.