Colorado Senate grants final approval to bill to overhaul how schools are funded

DENVER - A sweeping overhaul to how Colorado funds schools has won final approval in the state Senate on a party-line vote.

The bill passed 20-15, with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans against. The bill takes effect only if voters approve about $1 billion in higher income taxes.

If it becomes law and voters approve the tax increase, the bill would allocate the revenue this way:

- $100 million annually to the Education Innovation Grant Fund

- $80 million annually for distribution as special education funding

- $6 million annually to a statewide program to provide career opportunities for highly effective educators

- $5 million annually for funding programs for gifted or talented students

- $5 million annually to cover costs of a data system for a new financial and human resource reporting system

- $1.3 million annually for distribution to the boards of cooperative services

- $1 million for the costs of the mill levy vote

The bill aims to revise years of inequitable school funding and backfill schools damaged by years of deep budget cuts.

The bill aims to level funding in district across the state, with more money for districts with high numbers of needy students or English language learners. The bill would also lead to full-day kindergarten across the state.

It's the biggest revision in decades to how Colorado funds K-12 public schools.

Read Senate Bill 213: http://bit.ly/WSos89

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