The Cherry Creek School Board on Monday, March 10, 2014 unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Colorado Legislature and Governor to "immediately eliminate the negative factor cuts in K-12 education funding" and calling for an end to unfunded mandates.
Resolution #038-14 Approval of Legislative Measures to Eliminate the Negative Factor
Date: March 10, 2014
To: Board of Education
From: Superintendent, General Legal Counsel, and Chief Financial Officer
The following resolution was prepared at the request of the Board of Education.
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