Action is Needed This Week
This week, Thursday, at the 1:30 PM House Education Committee meeting, the following bill will be heard. Please consider coming to testify in person, remotely or calling or emailing the committee members.
Income Tax Credit for Nonpublic Education Bill https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1203
This bill would allow parents and students more opportunities for school choice by reimbursing all or some of the cost of private school tuition through income tax credits. House Bill 1203 would allow parents who chose a nonpublic school for their children to receive a tax credit equal to the full tuition or up to 50% of the previous year’s state average per-pupil revenues (2021-2022 average per-pupil revenue was about $9,000). Parents who chose home-based education after being enrolled in a public school could be eligible for a tax credit of $1,500.
Similar tax credit programs, voucher programs, and education savings accounts in other states have proven to be very successful. Moreover, studies have found that school choice can increase graduation rates; improve parents’ and students’ satisfaction with their schooling and allow education to be tailored to better fit a student’s needs. With an education tax credit such as this, access to quality education would no longer be dependent on a family’s income. For more information on the benefits of school choice please see the links below.
Please call the representatives on the House Education Committee to ask them to support the Education Tax Credit Bill and vote it into law. A few quick phone calls can help pass this bill. Here is one example of something you could say: “I am calling to support HB-1203, The Education Tax Credit Bill for Non-Public Education Bill. I believe students and parents benefit when they have their choice of schools. I do not think that an inability to pay for private education should hinder a child from attending the school that he/she chooses and best fits his/her needs.”
- Barbara McLachlan – 303-866-2914
- Yadira Caraveo – 303-866-2918
- Cathy Kipp – 303-866-4569
- Mary Young – 303-866-2929
- Tony Exum, Sr. – 303-866-3069
- Colin Larson – 303-866-2927
- Mark Baisley – 303-866-2935
- Tim Geitner – 303-866-2924
- Dafna Michaelson Jenet – 303-866-2945
The Education Committee will be conducting a hearing for the Education Tax Credit Bill on February 24th at 1:30 pm at the State Capitol in Denver. If you could be present at the hearing and sign up to give a public testimony that would be wonderful. You may also sign up to testify by zoom or provide written testimony. Any of these options would be great and the link to sign up for any of the testimony formats is: https://www2.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2022A/commsumm.nsf/signIn.xsp
Other Education Bills to Watch
HB22-1002: Expand the Ascent program and take off the cap that they currently have for the number of students who can participate. It looks pretty interesting. I will keep an eye on this one and submit a testimony when they have it up for discussion. https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1002
HB22-1207: “The bill requires a chronically low-performing school district to establish a parent choice program to create accounts for the parents of students who reside within the school district and are enrolled in the school district. The school district must deposit into each account an amount equal to the per-pupil amount of the school district’s state share of total program and the per-pupil share of categorical funding for the eligible student.” I think that bill sounds promising because I think almost every school district has been “low-performing” in the past couple of years due to so many disruptions from Covid. It also gives the FULL PPR to each student, wow! This bill is up for discussion on March 3rd. If our push for testimonies and calls for the Tax Credit bill yields good results maybe we can do another push for March 3rd. I wanted you both to read through the bill and see what you think. Link to the bill: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1207
HB 22-1066: The curriculum transparency bill, House Education Committee hearing has been moved to March 3 https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1066
Testifying at the State House
In Colorado, as well as many other states, legislative sessions are in full swing. What does this mean for us? How do you know what is being proposed, when committees meet, how to testify? Who is your representative or senator and what committees do they sit on? How can you advocate for bills you support or fight ones you want defeated?
Much of this information lives on your state legislature website. While every state is different, understanding how to find the information you need so that you can advocate effectively is vital. You need to know who to call or email, when to show up, and how to give testimony.
In Colorado a weekly schedule is posted. Session Schedule | Colorado General Assembly You can pull up a schedule for the house and senate that includes chambers schedules and committee schedules. By clicking on the committee you can see who is on the committee, the bills that are scheduled for the week, and what room the committee is meeting in.
To find a bill, use this link. Bills, Resolutions, & Memorials | Colorado General Assembly you can search for bills by their number or subject matter. When you click on a bill the information included on the page includes who the sponsors are, where it is in the process, changes/revisions made to the bill, and the fiscal note, if there is one.
Links to listen and/or watch sessions or committee hearings: Watch & Listen | Colorado General Assembly
So, how do you testify? Here is the information on testifying from the website: Participation in Legislative Hearings | Colorado General Assembly remote testimony may be available for some committees.
When you testify there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your time will be limited, generally to 2-3 minutes.
- You must sign in to testify. The committee chair will determine the order of testimony, it is not generally first come first serve.
- Stick to one or two points. Be clear in your support or concerns.
- Make an ask. Ask the members to either support or oppose the bill.
- Be prepared to potentially answer questions. While most members generally do not question members of the public (they save them for their experts), sometimes they will ask for a clarification.
- If you can, tell a story. A personal impact goes a long way to create empathy for your position.
Thank You and God Bless!