Board 2020-21 priorities
Each year, the PSD Board of Education identifies priorities for the upcoming state and federal legislative sessions. The board engages in dialogue and community engagement with both legislators and the community regarding these priorities.
State legislative and policy actions for 2020-21
State of Colorado funding impacting preK-12 school funding
1. Structural Issues - TABOR/Gallagher
a. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports current efforts to build a coalition addressing Colorado state funding requirements resulting from TABOR or the Gallagher Amendment that may result in a future statewide referendum or initiative for a ballot measure amending the Colorado Constitution. If Gallagher is amended, there should be a systematic and fair process put in its place to equalize local education funding share across the State.
b. The Poudre School District Board of Education recognizes that a structural change is needed in how the State of Colorado funds K-12 education and other critical state and local programs. This structural change includes addressing the negative impacts of provisions in the Colorado Constitution such as TABOR and Gallagher that continue to impact the state budget. These provisions have caused the Colorado General Assembly to subject K-12 education to significant budget cuts through the mechanism formerly known as the “negative factor,” which is now termed the “budget stabilization factor.”
Such budget cuts are contrary to the voters’ intent in passing Amendment 23 to the Colorado Constitution, which called for the State to sustain K-12 education funding at a level equal to the growth in enrollment plus inflation. These budget cuts also threaten the ability of K-12 educators to provide every Colorado child with a thorough and uniform education as required by the Colorado Constitution.
Therefore, The Poudre School District Board of Education supports continued efforts by the General Assembly in addressing and resolving these conflicting Constitutional provisions.
c. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports the adoption of policies and legislation to provide the Colorado General Assembly with greater flexibility in setting the state budget, including mill levy equity and a requirement for a minimum total program mill levy by Colorado school districts. Such an approach would help free-up state-share funding that could provide such flexibility.
d. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation to change the Public School Finance Act of 1994 to provide more equity among districts generally and more support for rural school districts. The State funding formula needs to be updated to better reflect the needs of modern educational environments, such as recognizing advances in educational technology, innovation and creativity in delivering educational programs, online and other blended learning opportunities complementing seat time requirements, and equity for high-poverty districts. It is time to modernize these requirements with methods more compatible with existing technology for measuring and reporting attendance and work time.
e. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation changing the at-risk factor proxy in the Public School Finance Act of 1994. The Board supports expanding the number or type of proxies used to identify at-risk students.
Improving Mental Health
2. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation recognizing the need and providing funding for more mental health support for students, teachers and staff, especially in the era of COVID-19 related changes to learning environments.
3. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports continued reform in the teacher evaluation process to encourage courageous conversations between administrators and teachers that leads to real goal setting and effective feedback. Evaluations are more effective when trust and communication are paramount, rather than rigidly imposed accountability measures that discourage continuous improvement in teaching methods.
Testing Requirements and Opportunities
4. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports pausing state testing and related teacher accountability measures for the 2020-2021 school year due to the need for virtual learning environments in the era of COVID-19.
School Operations in the era of COVID-19
5. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports giving teachers and school staff a high priority for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, when available, to help ensure schools can operate effectively with in-person education.
6. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation amending the Colorado Charter Schools Act regarding the process of obtaining waivers from Colorado law, including requiring the requesting charter school to provide a written rationale for seeking each such waiver.
Federal legislative actions for 2020-2021:
7. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and requests serious action by the 117th United States Congress to increase the federal share of funding.
(Currently, Poudre School District is reimbursed approximately 17 cents for every dollar the federal government requires we spend on education under IDEA. It is time to increase the funding to a minimum of the 40 cents of every dollar initially promised by this legislation more than 40 years ago)
8. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports guidance from the U.S. Department of Education regarding flexibility in requirements under IDEA where school districts are in a virtual learning environment for all students and some such requirements cannot be reasonably met.
9. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports expansion of and funding for the E-Rate program for school broadband connectivity to include efforts for students in a virtual learning environment lacking reliable internet connections.
10. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports additional federal funding for school districts to compensate for COVID-19 related expenses and shortfalls in budgets resulting from economic effects of the pandemic.