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On March 1, Governor Jared Polis signed into law three bills from the FY21-22 supplemental budget package. The bills include measures to boost funding for Colorado’s K-12 schools and get the Colorado Department of Early Childhood up and running ahead of schedule, and study ways to address pay inequities in Colorado.

“As we continue our efforts to move Colorado forward, we’re channeling critical funds to address the challenges Coloradans are seeing in their everyday lives,” said Joint Budget Committee (JBC) Vice Chair Chris Hansen (D-Denver). “From boosting funding to support our schools to providing much-needed relief to the survivors of the Marshall Fire, to improving pay equity in our state, we’re making important investments to uplift folks in need and help more Colorado families thrive.”

Colorado Governor Jared Polis enters the House of Representatives chamber to make his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Colorado Legislature Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Increased Funding for Colorado’s K-12 Schools, At-Risk Students
HB22-1186 will buy down the Budget Stabilization Factor by $68 million and provide an additional $91 million to help school districts better serve and support at-risk students.

Jumpstarting the Department of Early Childhood
HB22-1197 will allow the Department of Early Childhood to become effective upon signature of the bill – nearly six months earlier than the previously established July 1, 2022 effective date. The bill also makes a $3.5 million transfer to initiate the department’s goal of expanding access to early childhood education to every Colorado family.

“I am pleased that we were able to increase funding to our schools mid-year, especially considering the enormous challenges our schools have faced recently,” said Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D-Arvada). “This additional investment is a huge step forward and will definitely lead to better educational outcomes for our students.”

“Our schools and students have faced tremendous challenges over the last few years, and it’s up to us to help them bounce back and set them up for success,” said Sen. Chris Kolker (D-Centennial). “This supplemental package will make vital investments in our public education system. It will get the Department of Early Childhood up and running, reduce the Budget Stabilization Factor, and help schools better serve and support at-risk students.”

Improving Pay Equity in Colorado
HB22-1196 directs the equity diversity and inclusion task force to contract for a pay equity study to assess pay inequities specific to gender, race, and other protected classes, to provide recommendations to alleviate pay inequities.

“Colorado has been a national leader in building more equitable workplaces and ensuring pay transparency,” said Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood). “Funding the pay equity study means we will soon be able to take a data-driven look at what inequities remain and determine how we can chart a path to alleviate them. This is a critical step in ensuring Colorado remains the best place to work.”

“All Colorado state employees deserve to be paid a fair wage for their service to our state,” said Majority Leader Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City). “We know pay inequities exist in many workplaces. This law is the first step toward ensuring we have the data and tools needed to honor the service of all of our public servants.”