Following is a snapshot of CASB’s foremost efforts this year — some quietly behind the scenes and others highly publicized — but all aimed at promoting and supporting the best interests of our members.
Download a PDF of the front page of our annual report, or read below.
School financeCASB’s vital role in plans to overhaul the state’s school finance system began long before SB 213’s recent passage in the legislature. The work actually started two years ago, when we joined the Colorado School Finance Partnership at the invitation of Cary Kennedy and, along with other education leaders, began efforts to craft a new approach to school finance.
The final recommendations from the CSFP reflected different viewpoints. The business community and advocacy groups sought more innovation, flexibility and accountability. CASB, along with CEA and CASE, sought more resources for reforms already in place. In the end, we all agreed upon the final partnership recommendations, including the need to ask taxpayers for more resources.
Those recommendations were the foundation for SB 213. Of course, Sen. Mike Johnston’s take on those recommendations was somewhat different than ours. We worked hard both before and after his bill was introduced in February to reconcile our viewpoints. SB 213 was introduced with what we believed were egregious local control and inequity issues, and we testified, debated, cajoled and negotiated to get those concerns resolved. We’re mostly pleased with the end result: a heavily amended bill that will culminate with
a statewide ballot measure asking voters to approve a tax increase to inject $1 billion in new revenues into school finance.
Looking ahead, there is still much work to do to ensure a successful campaign in November. SB 213 has divided the state’s education community, but we believe — despite the bill’s flaws — this will be the only chance we’re likely to have in the next several years to bring significant new dollars to public schools. We also believe SB 213’s emphasis on more funding for high needs students is the right thing.
Prior to the start of the 2013 legislative session, the Joint Budget Committee solicited CASB’s opinion regarding the governor’s K–12 budget proposal. Throughout the session our position on the 2013–14 school finance act (SB 260) never waivered: make a significant down payment on the $1 billion negative factor and avoid earmarking new dollars for new programs. Ultimately, the passage of SB 260 only applied about $40 million toward the negative factor — although we lobbied for much more. We believe the legislature’s refusal to loosen its grip on the purse strings of the state’s budget makes voter approval of a ballot initiative even more important.
Without it, we see little chance to restore the negative factor.
Constitutional reformEven if voters approve a revenue measure to put education funding on the right path, Colorado still needs constitutional reform. Colorado’s Future is crafting possible 2014 ballot language to create a constitutional commission, which would be formed in 2015 (and every 10 years thereafter) to propose constitutional reform measures for voter approval. CASB is a very active participant in these efforts.
Two historic cases arguing constitutional issues are still in the courts. In the Lobato case, the Colorado Supreme Court is deliberating the state’s appeal of a 2011 ruling that Colorado’s school funding system is unconstitutional. CASB submitted an amicus brief on behalf of our members and CASE, and we hope to have a decision soon. In the Kerr case, which challenges TABOR’s constitutionality under the U.S. Constitution, the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a motion filed by the state to dismiss. Outside counsel filed an amicus brief on behalf of CASB and CASE, and we hope the case is remanded for trial sometime this summer.
AdvocacyWith a shift in political power and a slew of new education bills and freshmen legislators, this was a critical year for school board members to become more engaged and raise CASB’s profile at the state capitol. Our members did not disappoint — more than 100 school board members representing 43 different districts joined us for CASB’s Regional Day at the Capitol. It gave members a chance to learn first-hand how the legislative process works, build relationships with legislators, and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the crucial work CASB does at the state capitol to advocate for its members. The program far exceeded expectations, and our members’ energy and participation helped further establish CASB as a force to be reckoned with and a key influencer of state education policy.
| Membership Dues
| Other Income
| Commercial Affiliates/BOCES Dues
| Member Projects
2011-12 Audited Fund BalanceJuly 1, 2011 Balance – $10,542
Revenues – 2,233,654
Expenses – 2,299,662
June 30, 2012 Balance – (55,466)