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Education Advocacy

Why Public Engagement in The Policy Process Matters 

photo of students on playgroundJeffco Public Schools believes in community participation and voice in public policy and decision-making processes.


From our School Board to legislation at our State Capitol, we encourage our entire community to learn more about legislation that impacts public education in our state.

Proposed Education Legislation in 2020

In Colorado, voters have the power to petition for an initiative to be placed on the ballot through the process of direct democracy. This fall, the electorate will vote on many important referred and direct (petitioned by citizens and placed on the ballot via signature requirements) initiatives that impact K-12 education in our state. 

And if you aren't registered, it is never too late. You can either register through the Secretary of State's website or register in-person once polling locations open. We also suggest you learn more about voting in Jefferson County by visiting the Clerk & Recorders Office website

Gallagher amendment repeal (Colorado Amendment B, Gallagher Amendment Repeal and Property Tax Assessment Rates Measure)
  • If not repealed, the state estimates a decrease from 7.15% to 5.88% in the residential assessment rate which lowers local revenues between $250M – $400M.  
  • Once the residential assessment rate is lowered, it cannot be increased without a vote of the people.
  • The minimum impact to Jeffco Public Schools is a nearly $30M reduction in funding if the state can’t backfill this drop.  
Initiative 306 (Colorado Proposition 116, Decrease Income Tax Rate from 4.63% to 4.55% Initiative) 
  • Reduces the state’s flat income tax rate from 4.63 to 4.55%.
  • State’s general fund revenues would be reduced by $80M in FY21 (current year rescission) and an additional $160M in FY22 (year after).
  • For Jeffco Public Schools, an $8M reduction in FY21 (current year) and another $16M in FY22 if the state is unable to make adjustments to their budget outside of K-12 funding.
Tobacco Tax (Colorado Proposition EE, Tobacco and E-Cigarette Tax Increase for Health and Education Programs Measure) 
  • If passed by voters, generates additional general fund state revenues helping K-12 specific expenditures including Pre-K and rural districts (Jeffco’s portion is not yet identified).

Visit the Colorado General Assembly Education Committee website to learn about past and current proposed and passed legislation that impacts education in our state.

Colorado School Finance Explained

Understanding education policy starts with understanding how education is funded in Colorado. 

We encourage you to read the 2019-2020 Citizens' Guide to the Budget, which features in-depth information on Colorado's budgeting process, where funds come from, and how state-level policy impacts school finance.

Other Resources to Learn About Colorado School Finance: 

How to Contact your Legislators

Jeffco Public Schools covers roughly 774 square miles, encompassing a wide variety of communities and municipalities. That much beautiful space also means Jeffco has many elected officials representing our community at the State Capitol.  

To find your local State Senator and Representative and how to contact him/her, visit the Colorado General Assembly Find My Legislator page.

Colorado Laws and Policy on Education and Education Funding

The School Finance Act of 1994 dictates how the state allocates revenue each year for public education. 

Amendment 23 is a constitutional amendment passed in 2000 to reverse a decade of budget cuts experienced by Colorado school districts throughout the 1990s. During that decade, Colorado’s education spending did not keep pace with the inflation rate. Amendment 23 requires K-12 funding to increase by inflation plus 1% from 2001-2011 and by inflation after that. Notably, even with Amendment 23, by 2007-2008, per-pupil funding was still $1,400 below the national average.

The Gallagher Amendment was designed to maintain a constant ratio between the property tax revenue that comes from residential property and from business property. Gallagher reduces the assessment rate (the percent of property value that is subject to taxation) whenever statewide total residential property values increased faster than business property values. As a result of the Gallagher Amendment, the assessment rate for residential property has declined by more than two-thirds over the years because of Colorado’s population growth and because of increases in residential real estate values. The net effect has been a marked decline in revenues collected from property tax, which prior to Gallagher, provided the majority of school funding.

Bond and Mill Levies are mechanisms that allow school districts to collect additional revenues through local bond (capital) and mill levy (operations) elections up until a specified level. These caps were designed to prevent massive inequities between low-income and affluent districts.

Budget Stabilization Factor (Negative Factor) was created in 2009-10 by the legislature that adds an additional factor to the school finance formula in reaction to the economic recession and the decrease in state funding. The factor is a state budget tool that proportionally reduces the amount of total funding for each school district. 

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