Law says Colorado public-charter schools will get equal funding

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- After the Governor's approval earlier this month, a bill requires local tax increase dollars to fund all district schools in Colorado.

This new bill is the first of its kind in the nation that will require school districts around the state to equally distribute local tax revenue, such as mill levies, for education, among every school.

Local alternative education officials celebrated the victory for schools.

Previously, not all school districts in Colorado have been including charter schools when allocating funding.

This means that more than 100,000 charter school students were only receiving a third of the tax dollars collected for education.

Senator Owen Hill was one of the Republican sponsors of the bipartisan bill.

"We are the first state in the nation that says, no matter where your children go to school in the public system -- whether traditional neighborhood school or public charter school -- that child is going to get the same amount of money no matter," said Senator Owen Hill. "To make sure they got the freedom and the opportunity to choose the school that best fits their education needs."

Education officials said though charter and innovation schools aren't for everyone, this bill gives students a fair option.

"It's a massive step forward has strong bipartisan support; we are really excited to celebrate that," said Luke Ragland, President of Ready Colorado. "It will help get fund closer to the classroom and that's where they have the most impact."

Opponents of the bill say it's not fair that charter schools are exempt from many rules that traditional public schools must follow, such as financial transparency. The bill will require them to publicly document how much money they are receiving.

The bill will not take effect until the 2019-2020 school year, allowing districts the opportunity to formulate a plan on how the money will be distributed, based on bill regulations.

There is a discrepancy among the types of charter schools that will get funding. The public-charter school part of a district will get the funding; however, charter schools part of the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI) will not.

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