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Under the dome, Colorado State Capitol

Under the dome, Colorado State Capitol

With four weeks to go, here’s an update on Colorado education bills — and education cash

Money has been on the minds of Colorado education advocates during the past two weeks as lawmakers sought to find funding for transportation.

So let’s round up the recent action.

Some feared the transportation cash might come from K-12 coffers, but those fears were alleviated Thursday when legislative leaders made a deal leaving education money untouched. Of course, school finance and the bill to enact universal full-day kindergarten are still to come with four weeks remaining in the session.

A measure to ask voters to keep extra tax money to pay for K-12 and transportation is also moving through the system.

Many bills that require funding await final action on the budget before consideration by appropriations committees.

Significant items still on the agenda:

  • The House Education committee considers House Bill 1272 to establish universal full-day kindergarten on Tuesday afternoon. The measure is one of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ top priorities.
  • A bill to revise a program aimed at improving teaching of reading in elementary schools goes before the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday morning.
  • Increasing vaccination rates is the aim of a bill introduced late Thursday.

On the move (or not) in the recent weeks:

  • A bipartisan measure to increase participation among high school students in courses that count for both high school and college credit passed the Senate Education Committee. Next stop: Senate Appropriations.
  • A House committee shelved a bill to allow 16- and -17-year-olds to vote in school board and other education-related elections. Concerns about constitutionality and transparency scuttled the measure.
  • The Senate next week will consider a bill, already approved in the House, to phase out remedial college classes in favor of more personal help in traditional courses. Once approved, that bill goes to the governor.
  • School districts would be able to dissolve and merge without voter approval in certain circumstances under a bill given initial House approval Friday. It goes to the governor after a final vote.

On the governor’s desk awaiting signature (or veto):

  • A bill to encourage community schools with wraparound services that go beyond student academics. Including community schools in statute is intended to help schools get federal grants to pay for such services.
  • A measure to require more reporting about the progress students make in online schools. Interesting to note that the Aurora district wants to close centers for Hope Online, citing a lack of academic progress for students.
  • Allowing school boards to hold closed meetings to discuss union negotiation strategy.

Signed, sealed and delivered:

Don’t forget to check out Chalkbeat’s bill tracker for a full look at education legislation.