Published: January 6, 2005

Finance Snapshots

Colorado

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Every district in Colorado is guaranteed a minimum of $5,627 per pupil in state and local revenue for the 2004-05 school year. Per-pupil funding is adjusted to account for variations across districts in cost of living and district size. In addition, districts receive money for each student who is eligible for free lunches. The state provides added money to districts based on how far each district’s percentage of students eligible for free lunches rises above the statewide average. A minimum local effort is not required for districts to receive state aid, but the state assumes that districts will raise a certain amount of revenue through local property taxes, and it adjusts state aid accordingly. The assumed effort is different for each district. Colorado also provides aid to districts through categorical funding. The state has eight categorical programs, the five largest of which support special education students, English-language learners, transportation, vocational education, and gifted-and-talented programs. Colorado’s state finance system is being challenged in court. The plaintiffs in Haley v. Colorado Department of Education, which was filed in the summer of 2002, contend that the state’s special education funding violates the state constitution.

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