Lawmakers debate how to improve education with $260M in new funding

DENVER - Colorado lawmakers start work Monday on what may be the Legislature's trickiest job of the year, crafting an education overhaul without $1 billion a year in new taxes.

However, the governor's budget includes an extra $259.6 million increase in school funding.

Monday, the House Education Committee will work on how to spend that money including more funding for early literacy programs, charter schools and for students learning English.

Some major education groups say the proposal needs a lot of work, so Monday's debate is expected to be lengthy.

-- Amendment 66

Voters rejected Amendment 66 last November, 66 percent to 24 percent.

The proposal would have raised taxes by $1 billion to fund K-12 education.

The amendment would have also required that at least 43 percent of state income, sales and excise tax revenue be set aside to pay for public education.

The amendment would have repealed the constitutional requirement that the base funding per pupil increases by at least the rate of public inflation annually and implements legislation already passed by the state legislature to create a new formula for allocating funding to school districts.

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