What is the Great Schools, Thriving Communities initiative?

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The initiative number is #93 and the campaign is called Great Schools, Thriving Communities.  The measure makes changes to the Colorado Constitution and state law related to funding for public education.

Quality Public Education Fund. The measure creates the Quality Public Education Fund (fund) in the Colorado Constitution. Money in the fund is to be used to support and enhance the quality of preschool through twelfth grade (P-12) public education beginning in FY 2019-20. The fund will contain revenue from a proposed income tax increase, discussed below. Money in the fund is exempt from the TABOR revenue limit and must be used to supplement General Fund appropriations for P-12 public education as of the measure's effective date, adjusted each year for
inflation up to 5 percent.

Education spending requirements. Beginning in FY 2019-20 and until a new public school finance law that meets certain criteria is enacted by the General Assembly, money in the fund must be used to:
• increase the statewide base per pupil funding for P-12 public education to $7,300;
• increase state funding for the following programs by at least the following specified amounts over FY 2018-19 levels:
      " special education by $120 million;
      " gifted and talented programs by $10 million;
      " English language proficiency programs by $20 million; and
      " preschool funding by $10 million;

The above increases are to be adjusted for inflation each year beginning in FY 2020-21.

In addition, the measure expands the number of kindergarten and at-risk students that receive funding through the state's P-12 funding formula. Specifically, the measure requires that:
• at-risk funding include students qualifying for reduced price lunch; and
• full day kindergarten funding be increased from 0.58 percent to 1.0 per full time
equivalent student.

Resource documents for additional information:

Fiscal Impact Statement for Initiative #93 (Colorado Legislative Council Staff)

School Finance in Colorado (Colorado Legislative Council Staff)

 

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