Rankin: Watching education bills
Across the Street
Here’s a question for civics students: Does a three-digit bill in the Colorado Legislature denote a Senate or House bill? By the time you finish reading the column, you’ll know the answer. In the meantime, here are highlights from the last time I “crossed the street.”
This time of year, the State Board of Education recommends to support, oppose or monitor specific education bills traveling through the Legislature. One recent bill, Senate Bill 16-045, has recently come to our attention. It states in summary: “Concerning academic standards for financial literacy …. including knowledge and skills relating to student loan debt and retirement planning.” Would you support, oppose or monitor this bill? I would first read the entire bill, then refer to existing Colorado law. There is nothing in current law that prevents school districts from adding these topics to their curriculum. However, since we are a local-control state, school districts, teachers and parents can decide what curriculum is taught in their schools. So I would oppose the bill.
Another bill, House Bill 1122, also known as “Full-day Kindergarten Funding” was introduced. The attached fiscal note is $242 million. With such a large fiscal note and my husband, Rep. Bob Rankin, being on the Joint Budget Committee, I will be monitoring this bill.
Last week, Reps. Rankin and Millie Hamner joined with the House and Senate Education committees to begin a six-meeting attempt to have a greater understanding of the future of education in Colorado. The meetings are open to the public and can be listened to online at http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/cslFrontPages.nsf/Audio?OpenPage.
Click on “Year Round Committees” and then “Joint Budget Committee.” The audio starts when the meeting begins.
I attend education committee meetings and will attend this series. The first meeting in the series was last week. The highlights were to equitably fund students, allocate resources so that every school has a fair share, make money visible on a school level so that schools can be accountable for the dollars and ensure flexibility at the local level.
Some of the three-digit Senate bills and four-digit House bills are more interesting than others. If they involve education, I’m interested. I love my new position.
Joyce Rankin of Carbondale sits on the Colorado Board of Education. She also works as a legislative aide at the Capitol for Rep. Bob Rankin. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.