D60 gets more state money despite drop in student numbers

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 20:57:44-04

District 60 schools are facing declining enrollment but the Colorado Department of Education confirmed that they will actually be getting more funding next year.

The CDE says instead of taking their projected enrollment numbers for next year, they’ll use an average of the past five years.

All Colorado schools are protected by the Public School Finance Act, which allows districts to take the highest average between two to five years of total student enrollment numbers, when it comes to calculating the state’s per pupil funding.

"When you do a five year average, it helps a little bit and that way you don’t take a declining enrollment hit all at one time which could be very financially traumatic for districts," Suzanne Ethredge, President of the Pueblo Education Association said.

District 60, facing declining enrollment, is projecting a loss of around 300 students.

"Students and families may be moving outside of the area, we noticed that here in the city of Pueblo, there’s not as many people having children, the population here tends to be sometimes older," Dalton Sprouse, a spokesman for Pueblo City Schools said.

Based on the declining numbers, without the average, the CDE says that the district would have received funding for a projected 15,104.

But using the five year average, they say, the district will be getting funding for about 600 more students than they actually have.

Altogether, they say, that’s more than $1,000,000 worth of extra funding that was not accounted for when the district drafted next year’s budget.

"Obviously that’s a funding formula that we agree with and we’re supportive of and if it can bring in some more dollars to help us mitigate the financial challenges that we have when we are a school district in declining enrollment," Sprouse said.

But before their teachers went on strike last month, this was an option the teachers union says they’ve brought up before.

"We discussed this with them and told them repeatedly, the five year averaging was available and that it was something that they could and should be doing," Ethredge said.

District 60 does have a draft of its budget up for review online, they will be taking public comment at their next work session on June 14th.