As one of the largest portions of our state budget, school finance is something that the Legislature keeps close tabs on. There have already been a number of school finance bills introduced in the first month of the 2018 session.
Because of the number of laws that govern school finance in Colorado, such as the Public School Finance Act of 1994, marijuana revenue, and the State Education Fund, understanding how it works can be very complex. So the State has issued a number of resources that can be helpful for navigating the complex web of school finance laws. For starters, the Colorado Department of Education publishes an annual brochure entitled Understanding Colorado School Finance and Categorical Program Funding. Also, each February, the Colorado Legislative Council (the nonpartisan research office for the legislature) publishes their Report on the State Education Fund. The new edition was just released; previous editions can be accessed from our library.
Here are some other helpful resources for understanding Colorado school finance:
- The Impact of Tax Increment Financing on School Finance, Colorado Legislative Council, 2017
- The Negative Factor and Public School Finance, Colorado Legislative Council, 2015
- Colorado’s K-12 Education Funding Rankings, Colorado Legislative Council, 2015
- K-12 Funding Scenarios, Colorado Legislative Council, 2014
- Total Program Funding: Understanding the Formula for School District Funding, Colorado Department of Education, 2014
- School Finance: A Primer, University of Northern Colorado Education Innovation Institute, 2011
- Revenues and Expenditures, Colorado Department of Education, published annually
- Fiscal Health Analysis of Colorado School Districts, Office of the State Auditor, published annually
Data on Colorado public school finance can be found in the Department of Education’s annual data spreadsheets and on their Office of School Finance website.
We have many, many more resources available as well, including historical information. Search our library’s online catalog for more resources.