Democratic leaders in Colorado’s legislature promise to hold school funding steady despite enrollment drops that typically would cost school districts millions of dollars.
“School districts are doing so much more than we have ever asked them to do before,” said state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, an Arvada Democrat and incoming chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Now is not the time to claw back money and introduce more uncertainty.”
The reassurances come as Congress is set to approve a new federal coronavirus relief package that would send more than $50 billion to school districts nationwide. Colorado school leaders have said they will need more money to safely reopen and to maintain remote learning options through the spring.
Colorado school districts reported a 3.3% overall enrollment decline this year, as well as decreases in the number of students eligible for subsidized lunches, a measure of poverty. Both numbers influence school funding.
Colorado lawmakers set school funding levels in the spring based on estimates and then adjust them early in the following calendar year based on actual enrollment and local property tax collections. This can mean more or less money for school districts in the middle of a school year.
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