Last week, the Colorado Senate passed a bipartisan bill—House Bill 1375—requiring school districts to either develop a plan by the 2019-2010 academic year to equitably share mill levy override funds with charter schools of their districts or to distribute 95% of the per pupil amount of the revenue to those charter schools. The bill further requires charter schools to post certain tax documents on their websites and to limit their financial waivers.
As reported in the Denver Post, roughly one-third of Colorado’s 178 school districts share mill levy override revenue with charter schools, and approximately $34 million in local tax increases are not being shared equitably with charter schools. This is juxtaposed with the fact that, as further reported in the Denver Post, charter school enrollment in Colorado has grown by 30% since 2013, with more than 108,000 enrolled in the 2015-16 school year, and charter school students earn higher scores on state tests than their district peers.
The bill’s proponents say the bill is the first of its kind in the United States and that it “provides equitable funding for all Colorado’s children no matter what type of school they attend” while “also improve[ing] our education system by requiring additional transparency and accountability from charter schools without creating additional burdens for schools.”
After passing the House and Senate, the bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.
The bill can be found here.