Thanks to Colorado’s passage of the 2023-24 School Finance Act on Monday, May 1, Pueblo school districts will be able to raise additional funding.
Statewide, the School Finance Act allocates $180 million to “buy out” the state budget stabilizer. This is a budgeting tool that cuts the funding received by state public school districts since 2009. Pueblo County School District 70 is next year’s results by Buydown. Pueblo School District 60 will receive approximately $12.7 million.
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The Budget Stabilization Factor, sometimes called the “BS factor” by proponents of public education, was established to keep state budgets in balance during the Great Recession. But in the 14 years since he was hired, he’s diverted more than $300 million from Pueblo County schools.
According to the Colorado School Finance Project, Pueblo D60 has lost more than $199 million since 2009 as a result of budget stabilization factors. Pueblo County D70 lost over $103 million. The total statewide school district deficit created by this measure exceeds $10 billion.
The specific impact of the School Finance Act’s acquisition of the Budget Stabilization Factor is unclear, but Pueblo Education Association President Mike Mace said this was “very positive” and would eliminate Budget Stabilization, according to Jared Polis. He said it was a step toward fulfilling the governor’s promise. element.
“One of our concerns is teacher recruitment and retention,” says Maes. “If we could increase the budget that goes to pay every educator, every employee, that would be a plus.”
The Pueblo Education Association is the union representing educators in Pueblo D60. Allison Balas is president of the Pueblo County Education Association and represents educators in Pueblo D70. Like Maes, she hopes that Pueblo D70 will allocate funds with a priority to ensure “affordable wages” for educators.
Excluding online school districts, Pueblo D70 is the least funded school district in the state. According to the Colorado Department of Education, the school district received $9,067.64 per student in the 2022-23 fiscal year. Pueblo D70 continues to discuss where to allocate the $8.3 million in School Finance Act funding.
Lynnette Bonfiglio, spokesperson for Pueblo D70, said:
Pueblo D60 received $9,740.59 per student in the 2022-23 school year. Pueblo D60 employs a similar philosophy to Pueblo D70 in allocating School Finance Act funds. The funding will be applied to best guide Pueblo D60 students toward “a life of purpose and impact,” said communications director Dalton Sprouse.
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Although the funds created by this year’s School Finance Act are highly valued, school districts remain underfunded, Mr. Sprouse said on behalf of Pueblo D60.
“All public school districts statewide continue to be underfunded,” he said. It changes through engagement at the state level. “
Pueblo Chieftain reporter James Bartolo can be reached at JBartolo@gannett.com.