Guest Column: Education legislation and summer vacation

By Joyce Rankin
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | Last month I reported on the education bills that were considered during the 2017 legislative session. Senate Bill (SB) 267 and House Bill (HB) 1375 are two new acts that have significant impact on the rural schools that I represent. SB 17-267 is called Sustainability of Rural Colorado. Among other things, this bill sets aside $30 million to be used for rural and small rural school districts. HB 17-1375 specifies that charter schools will share in the per pupil revenue generated from local mill levies.
After bills are signed into law the state board is tasked with approving rules that determine how the laws are applied. At this month’s board meeting we will issue final determinations of the turnaround/priority improvement process, based on a law passed in 2009. The board will determine whether the plans the districts and schools previously presented implement the change necessary for the students to improve in math, reading and language arts. We may need to ask the legislature for additional direction and authority to help low performing schools.
Another new act, HB 17-1340, creates a legislative interim committee to study school finance issues. The bill specifies issues that the committee must study and tasks this committee to make recommendations for legislation to meet the funding needs of students. Since school finance is always on the minds of district administrators and local school boards, this will be an important committee to watch.
Summer vacation is upon us and we’ve been able to take a little time off for recreational activities. Right after the legislative session ended we decided to experience the E-Bike and joined a group for a “test drive.” Unfortunately my E-Bike ride didn’t go well. After a fall, two hours of surgery and 30 stitches later I decided it wasn’t for me. Stitches are out, I’m on the mend and look forward to visiting on the Western Slope this summer.
Be safe out there, and thank you for the honor to serve.

Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District. She is also a legislative assistant for Representative Bob Rankin.