Governor's budget proposal would increase some education funding, but still paints bleak picture

Posted at 6:28 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 21:50:06-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- School districts all over the state of Colorado are on edge after Governor Hickenlooper made his budget recommendations Wednesday.

JeffCo Schools are just one of the more than 60 districts seeking a bond and tax increase on next week’s ballot.

The effort is to try to keep the funding local, while the state continues to underfund them, district leaders say.

“Some bigger districts like us, we have an opportunity to do that, some of the smaller districts on the Eastern Plains or down in the San Luis Valley, they don't have that opportunity, so the challenge of state funding hits them the hardest," said Dan McMinimee, Superintendent of JeffCo Schools.

Included in the Governor's recommendations is an increase in per pupil funding of about $180.

Some are concerned that number will be smaller, as the state isn’t accounting for inflation yet, said McMinimee.

"The bottom line is, this isn't funding us at the level that we believe Colorado should be funded at. Colorado is currently 40th in the nation in per pupil funding and about about $2,200 below the national average; I don't think that's the school system that we want to have in Colorado," said McMinimee.

Also included in the recommendations is a reduction in the state's negative factor, which is the difference between what the state should fund and what the state is actually funding in education.

The reduction, if approved, would widen the funding gap by around $45 million.

“I think people are frustrated with where we are with funding into our schools right now and they're trying any means possible to take care of what needs to happen in our classrooms for students," said McMinimee.

Any finalized funding is still months away from becoming reality.

The joint budget committee will make recommendations during the next legislative session.

The final budget is expected in early May.


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.