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School Finance Act increases average per pupil K-12 public school funding by a record 10.6 percent, including more funding for rural schools

The Senate today advanced the bipartisan 2023 Public School Finance Act, which sets funding levels for Colorado’s public school districts.

Colorado State Senate chambers. Photo courtesy of KUNC.

Sponsored by Senator Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, and Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, SB23-287 raises the statewide average of per-pupil funding to $10,614, and reduces the Budget Stabilization Factor by $180 million, while committing lawmakers to fully eliminating the Budget Stabilization Factor for the 2024-2025 school year.

“Every Colorado student deserves a quality education that meets their individual needs and prepares them for success,” said Zenzinger. “Education is my number one priority at the legislature, which is why I am so proud of the major step forward we’re taking today on the path to fully funding public education in Colorado. We have more work ahead of us, but this year’s School Finance Act contains the largest commitment to public education in Colorado history, something our schools desperately need and deserve.”

SB23-287 also includes a $30 million one-time appropriation for rural schools, and brings total K-12 funding next year to more than $9.1 billion for the 2023-24 budget year. This funding can be used to reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, and provide individualized support to help students learn.

The bill will also create a task force charged with examining Colorado’s public school financing system and making recommendations that would make the school finance formula more adequate, transparent, equitable, and student-centered.

SB23-287 will now move to the House for further consideration. Track the bill’s progress HERE.