revisiting the colorado school finance act n.
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Revisiting the Colorado School Finance Act. Funding Schools for Results. Overview of the SFA. Today’s School Finance Act (SFA) has been in place since 1994 without any substantial updates. Historically, states update School Finance Acts once each decade – meaning Colorado is long overdue.

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overview of the sfa
Overview of the SFA
  • Today’s School Finance Act (SFA) has been in place since 1994 without any substantial updates.
  • Historically, states update School Finance Acts once each decade – meaning Colorado is long overdue.
  • Meanwhile, education policy has been updated since 1994 – even transformed. (NCLB, CSAP, CAP4K, SB191, etc.)
today s outdated sfa
Today’s (outdated) SFA
  • Dollars are (primarily) based on seats filled
  • No regard for student performance or results
  • Over time, add-ons and carve-outs have modified the SFA but are not related to performance or achievement
  • Other constitutional restrictions and mandates have further eroded original goals of the SFA (Gallagher, TABOR, Amendment 23)
inequitable tax structure
Inequitable tax structure
  • Beginning with first SFA in 1960, primary objective has been to “equalize” funding across the state
  • Despite attempts to equitably fund schools, vast differences in percentage of property value that taxpayers pay to support schools
  • Effect is that (mostly) poorest districts pay greatest percentage of their property value in taxes
proposed sfa reforms
Proposed SFA reforms
  • School funding should be results-driven
    • Facilitates and incentivizes growth in student performance
  • Tax structure should support Colorado’s economy and the schools our state needs
    • Graduate high school students prepared for successful post-secondary options needed in a 21st century economy
  • Funding should be logical and consistent from preschool through higher education
    • Promote continuous education system beginning with preparing youngest students to learn and ending with competitive workforce
modernizing the sfa requires transformation
Modernizing the SFA requires transformation
  • Facilitating and incentivizing student performance growth means massive systems change
  • We learned from Race to the Top that systems change comes with a price
  • The new SFA must insure that greater investment is directly correlated to improved results.
  • Must maintain adequacy and solve equity issues that have arisen from 1994 SFA
    • Meeting higher standards may require more money, but more money will not result in higher standards if it is not spent effectively or equitably.
what does a modern sfa require
What does a modern SFA require?
  • What would it look like to design an SFA to promote universal student achievement and reforms necessary to produce it?
  • What would it cost the state to implement such a sweeping reform?
  • What is the most fair and stable tax structure to support such a system?
all options must be on the table
All options must be on the table
  • Tax options that support Colorado’s economy and are aligned with reaching educational results
  • Allocation options that fund schools for results
  • Constitutional reforms necessary to implement the new Act
  • Options to finance a P-20 system