June 17-18, 2011
Advancing excellence in public education through effective
leadership by locally elected boards of education.
Board Notes is provided as a service of your CASB Region Directors.Board Notes is distributed to school board members, superintendents and superintendent secretaries following meetings of the full CASB Board of Directors.
June 2011CASB’s Board of Directors, made up of local school board representatives from CASB’s 12 regions, held its quarterly meeting June 17 and 18 in Denver. Topics of discussion included Colorado’s economic future, school consolidation, board goals, school funding initiatives and constitutional reform. The following summary captures some of the highlights of the meeting.
Colorado’s Economic Future
It was a good news, bad news scenario presented by Charlie Brown, director, University of Denver Center for Colorado’s Economic Future. He shared a summary of findings from a legislative-commissioned study of state and local taxation – the first of its kind in over 50 years.
The good news is that in the next three years Colorado is projected to recover 140,000 jobs lost during 2009-10 and add an additional 140,000. The bad news is that Colorado’s structural funding imbalance continues to grow. Revenue forecasts cannot keep up with the annual increases needed to fund education, Medicaid and corrections. This will put increasing pressure on the legislature to cut expenses in the state general fund, with higher education likely being at greatest risk for funding cuts.
Brown pointed to a mismatch in the state’s revenue tax structure that hasn’t changed much even though economic drivers have. Goods purchased as a percentage of consumers’ spending have trended sharply down in the last 50 years while purchased services have shot up. However tax revenue is still based largely on goods purchased. Colorado is unable to adjust its tax structure to fit the new economy. In addition, income taxes are volatile in our economy because of the ups and downs of capital gains income. Another revenue factor is our population is aging, and as a larger percentage of the population heads into retirement, they spend less, negatively impacting tax revenues.
Brown says state leaders must address changes to the tax structure, Medicaid spending, seek alternative funding, develop budget rules and stabilization funds, and create a long-term planning process.
Recommendations are due out later this summer. In the meantime, you can download the full Phase 1 findings report or a four-page summary from DU.
School District Organization
Deputy Executive Director Jane Urschel told the board that she now believes some type of legislation addressing school district consolidation is likely to be introduced during the 2012 legislative session. Nothing has surfaced yet, but based on Gov. Hickenlooper’s public statements last year on the issue and private conversations with his staff and legislators, it now appears likely that legislation will be introduced in the next session. The board directed CASB to create a special committee to help the board and staff develop positions on consolidations and related issues, such as regional services and online alternatives. The committee will also advise CASB on strategy during the legislative season. The committee will include CASB board members and staff and local board members and superintendents from around the state.
2011-12 a “hinge” year
Executive Director Ken DeLay told the board that the coming school year could be a “hinge” year when the corner is finally turned on constitutional and fiscal reform in Colorado. He mentioned the several lawsuits or potential lawsuits that could impact reform efforts, including the Lobato school funding adequacy case that goes to trial Aug. 1 and the TABOR constitutional challenge filed in federal court.
If the necessary signatures are secured, Initiative 25, championed by Sen. Rollie Heath, will find its way to the November ballot. If passed, the measure would funnel approximately $3 billion into education funding over five years to mitigate expected cuts. CASB’s board approved a resolution in support of Initiative 25. A resolution for local board adoption is also available.
Finally, Ken stressed the DU tax study and other efforts at the state level to understand Colorado’s challenges and to develop possible solutions. Many of these efforts have been ongoing for years. However, the current problems, as shown by the DU study, have given this work great urgency. CASB is engaged in some way with all these efforts.
If you have any questions about the board’s discussions, please contact your regional director.
The next meeting of the CASB board of directors is scheduled for Sept. 16 and 17 at CASB.