America's Property Tax Advisor

Colorado Tackles School Finance Reform


Property taxes are the main funding source for Colorado public schools. A special legislative committee is working to revamp the state’s 25-year old funding formula to make it fairer and more equitable, according to the non-profit news organization Chalkbeat.


Current Funding System


Colorado’s current school finance plan starts with a base amount for each student and then applies factors related to each school district, like the district’s size and the cost of living in the area. This can increase or decrease how much the district gets per student.


Districts also get additional funding for at-risk students. Since district characteristics are applied to the base funding first, different districts get radically different amounts of extra money for students with disabilities or from low-income families.


Reaching a Consensus


The legislative committee has established different proposals for each of the variables that feed into the school funding formula. Those numbers will be run through a complex computer model that shows how various changes to the funding formula would affect different districts and the overall cost of funding education in Colorado.


The hope is that the ten members on the committee will be able to agree on one plan and send a committee-endorsed bill to the full legislature for approval this session.