As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Patrick Malone reports:
Colorado has not met the legal minimum for funding schools since 2008, and a budget analyst said Wednesday that projections show the trend will continue through the 2015-16 budget cycle.
A staff economist told Joint Budget Committee members that if the cuts to education persist, Colorado could be on a road to falling short of the most basic constitutional requirement to provide a “thorough and uniform” public education system. Meanwhile, the state already is facing a lawsuit that claims it doesn’t meet that standard.
JBC staffer Carolyn Kampman recommended the General Assembly consider changing the laws that govern school finance in the state to rectify its structural deficiencies.
“I’m projecting by 2015-16 you won’t even have enough money to meet Amendment 23,” Kampman said…
She recommended the Legislature consider changes to the school finance formula, revamping Amendment 23 or seek increased revenue to comply with its most basic constitutional obligation.
According to Joint Budget Committee staff, the state would have to increase education funding by over $800 million in order to fully fund the system as prescribed by law. As you know, the proposed budget from John Hickenlooper proposes another $89 million in cuts, not increases. And what happens in 2015 when we violate, with no sleight-of-hand able to any longer conceal, the constitutional education funding mandates of Amendment 23? Is the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) the only part of the Colorado Constitution that matters?
Anyway, apparently we’re going to have to do something, folks. Got any ideas?