Northeast BOCES Executive Director Tamara Durbin testified Feb. 16 at the state Capitol on SB22-127 — a bill centered on special education funding. Following testimony from Durbin and others, the bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Education Committee and is now in appropriations.
The proposed bill, which was recommended by the Interim Legislative Committee on School Finance, increases funding for special education. For fiscal year 2022-23, the bill requires an appropriation of $93.2 million to the Colorado Department of Education – an increase in Tier A funding from $1,250 to $1,750 for each student with a disability ; an annual appropriation of an additional $40 million to fund children who have one or more disabilities and who receive special education services from an administrative unit; and a required increase in the rate of inflation for each fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2024-25.
“Providing specialized instruction is expensive,” Durbin explained.
“Credits for special education – for all education – are below cost. It’s exciting to have conversations about increasing education funding, and especially to promise to have a bill on the table designed to start addressing special education funding,” said Durbin.
The Special Education Fiscal Advisory Committee (SEFAC) analyzes special education funding in Colorado and provides an annual legislative report to the State Board of Education and legislators on an annual basis. Durbin has been a member of SEFAC since 2006 and currently serves as chair of that statewide committee.
As the legislative session continues, it will be important to watch the conversations on SB22-127 and several other education-related bills.