Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

582D822569EE1C4D8725873B005FC33F Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For AT-RISK STUDENTS AND FUNDING

INTERIM COMMITTEE  LEGISLATIVE INTERIM COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL FINANCE
Date Aug 24, 2021      
Location SCR 357



At-Risk Students and Funding - Committee Discussion Only


11:26:04 AM  
The committee recessed.
01:19:34 PM  
The committee reconvened.
01:22:05 PM  
Riley Kitts and Stephanie
Perez-Carrillo, Colorado Children's Campaign (CCC), shared that the at-risk
student factor, which increases with the number of at-risk students, is
currently at $495 million. Mr. Kitts also explained how CCC used data related
to free and reduced lunch (FRL) enrollment to measure poverty. He stated
that FRL is not the most accurate proxy to identify student need because
it only counts for income status;  is a binary measure; may hinder
participation in other programs; and is not collected in a centralized
location.  



Mr. Kitts and Ms. Perez-Carrillo responded to questions from the committee
regarding other data that could possibly be used to identify at-risk students.
   
01:34:32 PM  
Ms. Perez-Carrillo
continued the presentation by sharing that FRL data is often decentralized
because it is collected at the district level. She shared that districts
do all that they can to collect the data, but there are technological and
resource limitations. Ms. Perez-Carillo responded to questions from the
committee regarding school staff and parents' awareness of the FRL program.
Committee discussion ensued.




Mr. Kitts continued the presentation by discussing options that members
should consider to improve data collection methods such as examinging IT
systems.
01:45:43 PM  
Michael Griffith,
Learning Policy Institute, presented on methods to identify at-risk students
such as collecting census, foster care, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP) data. He also discussed why many states use FRL as a proxy
to measure poverty, as it's a good marker for school status as a whole,
but also noted how it often does not account for an individual student's
situation. Mr. Griffith shared how Massachusetts and Texas successfully
use other measures to identify at-risk students.



Mr. Griffith responded to questions from the committee regarding FRL data.
 
02:12:17 PM  
Dr. Wendy Birhanzel,
Superintendent, Harrison County School District, explained that her district
is in dire need of additional resources that the school funding formula
is not meeting. She urged the committee to look at what other states are
doing successfully to meet student need as a model for Colorado.



Superintendent Birhanzel responded to questions from the committee pertaining
to other criteria used to determine at-risk student status.  

02:20:35 PM  
George Welsh, Superintendent,
Canon City School District, provided a background on his district and shared
that the district is at a 55% poverty level; however, it may be higher
because high school students often don't submit their FRL forms. He also
encouraged the committee to look at other states' models to identify at-risk
students. In addition, he suggested that the worth of each mill levy within
each district should be re-examined.



Mr. Welsh and Ms. Birhanzel responded to questions from the committee regarding
the current at-risk student measure and their experience working with  different
demographics within their districts. Committee discussion ensued.  






COVID-19 Resources
NORTH ENTRANCE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED.  TO ENTER THE CAPITOL, USE THE SOUTH ENTRANCE, UNDER THE STAIRS, AT 14th AVENUE AND SHERMAN STREET.