Legislative Agenda

Board 2019-20 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 2019-20

State of Colorado funding impacting preK-12 school funding

1. Structural Issues - TABOR/Gallagher

         a. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports allowing the state to retain excess revenue currently required to be refunded under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in the Colorado Constitution (TABOR). Retained funds should be used for education and transportation purposes.

          b. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports current efforts to build a coalition address- ing Colorado state funding requirements resulting from TABOR that may result in a future statewide referendum or initiative for a ballot measure amending the Colorado Constitution.

          c. 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 structur- al 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 mech- anism 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.

          d. 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 dis- tricts. Such an approach would help free-up state-share funding that could provide such flexibility.

          e. 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 re- flect 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.

          f. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation chang- ing 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. 
 

Statewide review of education programs

2. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports the Systematic Review of Education Programs proposed by HB18-1222, establishing a process for the systematic review by the state auditor of educa- tion programs enacted by the General Assembly. Those programs found to be ineffective or inefficient should be changed, eliminated, or sunsetted.

 

Colorado state education standards

3. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation establishing a six (6) year minimum period between Colorado Academic Standards reviews.


School safety and security

4. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports amendment of the Claire Davis Act and other proposals addressing the need for safety and security of students, teachers and staff while providing Colorado school districts with the supports necessary to provide such safety and security. A waiver of governmental immunity for school districts regarding safety and security issues unnecessarily exposes taxpayers to liability for future actions, which ultimately endangers the school district’s ability to educate students.


Improving mental health

5. 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.

6. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports dedication of revenue from marijuana sales to provide mental health support for students, teachers and staff.


Educator evaluations

7. 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

8. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports reducing the number of testing requirements imposed by the State of Colorado while maintaining instruments that allow teachers to track the achievement and growth goals for students and reward great teaching methods.

9. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation providing funding for gifted and talented (GT) testing.


Charter schools

10. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports adoption of policies and legislation amending the Colorado Charter Schools Act to strengthen the criteria a charter school applicant must meet to obtain a District Charter or a Charter from the Colorado Charter Schools Institute.

11. 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 
 

Federal legislative actions for 2019-20

IDEA funding

12. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Board thanks U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (2nd C.D., Colorado) for helping insert an additional One Billion Dollars in the IDEA Re-authorization bill passed by the U.S. House. The Board urges the U.S. Senate to act on IDEA Re-authorization and increase the federal share in the 116th United States Congress before the 2020 election cycle further slows legislative actions.

(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)

13. The Poudre School District Board of Education supports federal re-authorization and funding of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, long-term forest management, and fire prevention. The SRS programs should be funded on a sustainable, long-term basis. SRS is critical to support essential safety, fire, police, road and bridge, and education services in forest communities. The Poudre School District Board of Education thanks and supports U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (2nd C.D., Colorado) and other members of the U.S. Congress for their efforts to extend funding through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000. The Poudre School District Board of Education also supports long-term SRS funding through the Forest Management and Rural Stability Act (S. 1643).