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Bill would give charters a say in override elections

A bill introduced Monday would give charter schools a greater voice in planning of tax override ballot measures proposed by their districts.

House Bill 14-1314, which — significantly — has bipartisan sponsorship, would require school districts to include charters in the planning for ballot measures that propose raising taxes to meet operating expenses. In additional to a variety of other requirements, if a district decided not include a charter in a ballot proposal, it would have to provide reasons in writing to the charter. The bill also would authorize districts to propose ballot measures just for charter schools. (Read the bill text here.)

A law passed several years ago requires similar consultation with charters on district bond proposals.

There are other charter finance bills floating around this session, although they deal with charter facilities costs. (See the Education Bill Tracker for information on House Bill 14-1187 and Senate Bill 14-139.)

There’s also money for charter facilities in House Bill 14-1292, the Student Success Act, the “big bill” that’s on hold pending release next week of updated state revenue forecasts. (See this story on all that details on that bill and this year’s school finance battle.)

In other developments Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave 5-0 approval to House Bill 14-1152, which would set deadlines for government agencies to erase video recordings taken by “passive” surveillance cameras. (Thinks of cameras mounted on ceilings that record video continuously, or cameras on parking lot light poles.)

The bill would apply to local governments, including school districts. But districts contacted by Chalkbeat Colorado – and the Colorado School Safety Resource Center – indicated the bill wouldn’t have much effect on schools.

That’s because cameras have limited data storage capacity, and new video is recorded over old video after a relatively short period of time. For instance, the Denver Public Schools keeps 30 days’ worth of video, and because of overwriting video generally isn’t kept more than 120 days, according to spokeswoman Kristy Armstrong. DPS has about 2,500 such cameras, she said.

Read the text of HB 14-1152, as amended by the House, here, and see the updated bill summary here.

Also Monday, the House gave final approval to Senate Bill 14-112, which would give he legislature oversight over cash grants awarded by the Building Excellent Schools Today construction program. The bill basically means that the General Assembly could set a ceiling on the amount of cash grants awarded annually. The measure, which now goes to Gov. John Hickenlooper, is one of several bills floating around this year that propose to tweak the BEST program.