Digest of Bills - 1997

EDUCATION PUBLIC SCHOOLS

S.B. 97-13 Compulsory school attendance - enforcement. Makes the compulsory school attendance laws applicable to a 6-year-old child who has been enrolled in a public school in the first grade or a higher grade level. Allows the court in such circumstances to issue orders to compel compliance with the compulsory school attendance requirements. Provides that the compulsory school attendance laws shall not apply to a 6-year-old child whose parent or legal guardian chooses to withdraw such child.

        In judicial proceedings involving enforcement of compulsory attendance laws, allows the court to issue an order compelling the parent to take reasonable steps to assure the child's attendance in school. Authorizes the court at the initial proceeding to order a treatment plan that addresses problems affecting the child's school attendance. Provides that the court may order the parent to show cause why the parent should not be held in contempt of court for noncompliance with a court order issued against the parent or against the parent and the child.

APPROVED by Governor March 20, 1997
EFFECTIVE July 1, 1997

S.B. 97-18 Charter schools act - revisions. Authorizes a charter school to organize as a nonprofit corporation. Clarifies that an approved charter application is to serve as the basis for a contract between the charter school and the local board of education. Provides that a new charter may be approved for a period of at least 3 but no more than 5 academic years, and that a charter may be renewed for a period not to exceed 5 years. Requires the governing body of a charter school to submit a renewal application to the local board of education no later than December 1 of the year prior to the year in which the charter expires. Requires the local board of education to rule on a renewal application no later than February 1 of the year in which the charter expires, or at a mutually agreed upon date.

APPROVED by Governor April 21, 1997
EFFECTIVE August 6, 1997
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause. It shall take effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninety-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly that is allowed for submitting a referendum petition pursuant to article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution; except that, if a referendum petition is filed against this act or an item, section, or part of this act within such period, then the act, item, section, or part, if approved by the people, shall take effect on the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon by proclamation of the governor.

S.B. 97-29 National academic contests - travel expenses for state-level winners. Authorizes the department of education to distribute moneys to school districts to send state-level winners of academic contests to national-level contests to represent the state. Allows nonpublic school students and students participating in a home based education program within a district to receive such moneys from the district under certain circumstances.

        Directs the state board of education to promulgate rules governing the distribution of said moneys using, at a minimum, specified criteria. Creates the national academic contest fund and specifies that bequests, gifts, and grants received for the purpose of sending students to national-level contests shall be credited to said fund. Allows moneys appropriated by the general assembly to be credited to the fund.

        Appropriates $50,000 from the department of state cash fund to the national academic contest fund and appropriates said moneys to the department of education for implementation of this act.

APPROVED by Governor May 27, 1997
EFFECTIVE May 27, 1997

S.B. 97-125 Fees - disclosures. Requires school district boards of education to have available on request a description of how the amount of any fee was derived. Requires any school board or public school publicizing a fee to clearly specify whether the fee is voluntary and any activity from which the student will be excluded if the fee is not paid.

APPROVED by Governor March 28, 1997
EFFECTIVE March 28, 1997

S.B. 97-126 Boards of cooperative services - membership. For any board of cooperative services ("BOCES") that consists of a single school district and a single postsecondary educational institution, allows the board of education for the school district to appoint the superintendent of the school district to be a member of the BOCES. Specifies that the term of said member shall not exceed 3 years and that if said member ceases being employed by the school district during his or her term, a vacancy shall exist on the BOCES. Specifies that the governing board for the postsecondary institution may appoint the chief executive officer of the postsecondary institution, rather than any employee of the institution.

APPROVED by Governor May 21, 1997
EFFECTIVE May 21, 1997

S.B. 97-153 Interscholastic activities - participation - appeals - arbitration. Prohibits schools and school districts from adopting or agreeing to be bound by rules that prohibit specified participation in extracurricular activities. Requires school principals to authorize a student to participate in an activity through an amateur association or league of which the school or school district is a member unless the student's participation would compromise academic class attendance or the student is academically ineligible to participate in any extracurricular activity according to the rules of the school.

        Authorizes schools to charge a nonenrolled student not more than 150% of the amount the school charges an enrolled student to participate in the activity.

        Authorizes any student sanctioned or determined to be ineligible to participate in any extracurricular activity to appeal the sanction or determination through the applicable process at the school or any league or association to which the school or school district belongs. Additionally authorizes the student at any time to submit the issue to binding arbitration before a group of judges or arbitrators approved by the school, school board, or league or organization to which the school or school district belongs. Directs the judge or arbitrator to consider whether the rule was properly applied and whether a waiver should be granted. Requires that a final decision be rendered within 30 days after filing for arbitration, and makes the judge's or arbitrator's decision binding on all parties. States that the cost of the arbitration shall be borne equally by the student and the association or organization to which the school belongs.

        Excludes certain rules of a coach from the appeal and arbitration process. Such rules are those that are not contrary to statute and are uniformly applied to all team members.

        Deletes statutory references to any association of schools that organizes or controls sanctioned extracurricular and interscholastic activities.

APPROVED by Governor March 28, 1997
EFFECTIVE March 28, 1997

H.B. 97-1007 Capital construction - assistance program - school districts - matching grants. Establishes a school construction and renovation fund. Provides that moneys in the fund are to be used to make matching grants to school districts for capital construction projects. Declares the policy of the general assembly not to provide matching grants for any projects that have not been evaluated and included on the prioritized list prepared by the state board of education.

        Allows matching grants for capital construction projects involving instructional facilities, including classrooms, libraries, physical plants, and administrative areas. Prohibits matching grants for athletic, recreational, or other noninstructional facilities.

        Requires matching grant applications to be submitted by school districts to the state board of education no later than July 1 of each year. Declares the intent of the general assembly that, in applying for matching grants, school districts give consideration to the needs of both traditional public schools and charter schools. Directs the state board or its designees to review the applications and to prioritize them based on the relationship of the project to safety concerns, the relative wealth of the school district, the enrollment growth within the district, and whether the project will assist in incorporating technology into the educational environment. Authorizes the state board to prescribe the form of the applications, to request additional information, and to promulgate rules for the implementation of the program. Directs the state board to transmit its prioritized list of eligible projects to the joint budget committee and the education committees of the house of representatives and the senate no later than December 1 of each year. Provides that the joint budget committee shall determine the number of eligible projects that may receive matching grants, that only projects on the prioritized list may receive matching grants, and that the projects shall be funded in the priority determined by the state board.

        Provides that it is the intent of the general assembly that the amount of a matching grant shall be no more than the difference between the school district assessed valuation per pupil and the statewide average assessed valuation per pupil, expressed as a percentage, multiplied by the cost of the capital construction project.

VETOED by Governor June 5, 1997

H.B. 97-1058 Educator licensing - renewal - reinstatement - inactive status - appropriation. Deletes the requirement that the affidavit submitted by license applicants must be notarized. Requires persons who request issuance of a professional license or renewal of a license, endorsement, or authorization to submit an affidavit stating that the applicant has not been convicted of certain felonies or misdemeanors. States the general assembly's intent that the state board of education adopt the minimum amount of rules necessary to implement the least cumbersome process for educator licensing.

        Clarifies that a professional licensee need not be employed as a professional educator during the term of the professional license and that employment as a professional educator is not a requirement for renewal of a professional license. Specifies that any professional development activities completed will apply to renewal of any professional educator licenses or endorsements the applicant may hold. Deletes the requirement that a professional licensee consult with an immediate supervisor in completing professional development activities. Prohibits the state board of education from adopting rules to require: Specific professional development activities; more than 6 credit hours or 90 actual hours of professional development activity; a completion schedule for professional development activity; or supervision or approval of professional development. Requires educators to select professional development activities that will assist the educator in achieving the standards for a professional educator. Lists several goals that are included in those standards.

        Changes the current type IV authorization, transitional, to a type IV authorization, extension. Provides that, under this authorization, any licensed educator who, prior to expiration of an educator license, fails to complete the necessary professional development activities because of extreme hardship can continue teaching while completing the professional development activities. Allows issuance of the authorization only on a finding of hardship by the state board of education. Limits the authorization to one year unless the licensee can make a further showing of extreme hardship.

        Establishes a procedure by which a person may reinstate his or her professional license after the department refuses to renew it. To reinstate a license, requires the license holder to pay a fee and to cure any defect that resulted in denial of the renewal, including completing any professional development activities if necessary. Specifies that, prior to reinstatement, the license holder is deemed to not hold a professional license or certificate. Prohibits the department from requiring any person who reinstates a license to demonstrate professional competencies as a condition of reinstatement.

        Allows a professional educator licensee to convert the license to inactive status by delivering the license to the department of education. Clarifies that, while on inactive status, the licensee is considered unlicensed and is not required to complete professional development activities. Provides that, while on inactive status, expiration of the license is suspended and that when the license is returned to active status, it is valid for the period remaining on the license as of the date inactive status was assumed. Allows a licensee to return to active status by requesting the license from the department of education. Requires the department to issue a new license stamped with the new expiration date when the license holder returns to active status. Specifies that, if a person completes professional development activities while on inactive status, those activities may be used to renew the license so long as: The licensee submits evidence of completion of the activities; the activities meet the criteria adopted by the board of education; and the activities are completed within 5 years before the license expires.

        Deletes the state board of education's authority to waive the requirement for professional development plans. Specifies that an educator may simultaneously hold varying types of educator licenses.

        Clarifies that any provisional educator license is valid in a school district that does not offer an induction program if the induction program requirement is waived for that school district. Allows the state board of education to renew a provisional educator license for additional 3-year periods if the provisional licensee can demonstrate good cause for failure to complete an induction program. Exempts any professional teacher license applicant who completes an induction program while teaching under an adjunct teacher authorization, an emergency authorization, or a temporary authorization from the requirement to complete the induction program as a provisional licensee. Exempts any professional educator license applicant from the induction program requirement if the school district in which the applicant is employed does not offer an induction program, but requires the applicant to complete whatever training requirements the school district may have.

        Prohibits the state board of education from requiring any applicant for a professional educator license to demonstrate professional competencies if the applicant demonstrated professional competencies prior to obtaining a provisional educator license.

        Authorizes the department of education to issue a professional teacher license to any person who obtains national certification. Broadens the provisional principal license requirements to allow 3 years' experience working with students as a licensed or certificated professional in a school, rather than considering only teaching experience. For purposes of identifying licensed administrators who may teach occasionally without maintaining a valid teachers license, broadens the requirements to allow 3 years' experience working with students as a licensed or certificated professional in a school, rather than considering only teaching experience. Deletes the provisions that require the state board of education to respond in writing to the professional standards boards when referring recommendations back to the boards. Repeals the minority alternative teachers fellowship program.

        Appropriates $25,550 to the department of education for implementation of the act.

APPROVED by Governor June 5, 1997
EFFECTIVE June 5, 1997

H.B. 97-1108 Educators - approved program of preparation - requirements. Specifies that approved preparation programs for school principals and school district administrators shall include proficiencies in the principles of business management and budgeting practices and in the analysis of student assessment data and its use in planning for student instruction.

        Instructs the Colorado commission on higher education to adopt policies requiring any institution of higher education that offers such an approved preparation program to include said proficiencies. Prohibits the institution from increasing either the amount of course work in the program or the cost of the program as a result of including said proficiencies.

APPROVED by Governor March 20, 1997
EFFECTIVE March 20, 1997

H.B. 97-1117 Teachers - contracts - resignation, renewal, and nonrenewal. Provides that a teacher or chief administrative officer must give written notice to a school district that he or she will not fulfill the obligations of said person's employment contract for the succeeding academic year no later than 30 days prior to the commencement of the succeeding academic year.

        Provides that a full-time probationary teacher must notify a school board of his or her rejection of reemployment for the succeeding academic year no later than 30 days prior to the commencement of the succeeding academic year.

APPROVED by Governor April 21, 1997
EFFECTIVE August 15, 1997

H.B. 97-1146 Educational interpreters for the deaf - standards. Creates an interpreter standards committee in the department of education for the purpose of making recommendations to the state board of education on the minimum standards for educational interpreters for the deaf in the public schools. Lists the items to be studied by the committee. Requires the committee to submit a final report to the state board of education on or before December 31, 1997. Abolishes the committee on July 1, 1998.

        Directs the state board of education to promulgate rules setting minimum standards for persons employed by or in school districts as educational interpreters for the deaf.

        On or after July 1, 2000, requires any person employed as an interpreter for deaf students in the public schools on a full-time or part-time basis to meet the minimum standards for educational interpreters for the deaf as established by rules of the state board of education.

APPROVED by Governor March 24, 1997
EFFECTIVE March 24, 1997

H.B. 97-1174 Exceptional children - placement - disruptive students - pilot schools. Provides that the "least restrictive environment" does not include an environment in which the nature or severity of a child's disability is so disruptive that the education of other students in a regular classroom would be significantly impaired, even when the disabled child is provided supplementary aids and services.

        Requires that the placement committee utilize guidelines recommended by the department of education to determine the least restrictive environment for placement of a child with a disability. Allows the placement committee to consider the cost to the school district when choosing between 2 or more appropriate placements for a child with a disability.

        If the teacher determines that the presence of a child with a disability in the classroom is so disruptive that the education of other children is being significantly impaired, the teacher may use the district's regular in-school disciplinary procedure unless it would be inconsistent with the child's individual educational program or may request a review of the individual education program or behavior plan to consider changes in services or placement.

        Reduces the cap on the number of full-time residential pilot schools for students who are expelled from 2 to 1. Increases the cap on the number of year-round nonresidential pilot schools from 2 to 3.

APPROVED by Governor April 24, 1997
EFFECTIVE July 1, 1997

H.B. 97-1200 School finance - special building and technology fund. Expands the school district special building fund to allow moneys in the fund to be used for acquiring, as well as constructing, a building and for purchase and installation of instructional and informational technology. Specifies that purchase of such technology includes expenditures for software and staff training related to the new technology. Changes the name of the fund to the special building and technology fund.

APPROVED by Governor March 24, 1997
EFFECTIVE March 24, 1997

H.B. 97-1203 School district reorganization - requirements - full 12-grade education program. Requires that a school district plan of organization include a provision that the reorganized school district or districts will provide a full 12-grade education within the boundaries of the reorganized district.

APPROVED by Governor March 24, 1997
EFFECTIVE March 24, 1997

H.B. 97-1210 Charter schools - funding level. Beginning July 1, 1998, requires the charter school and the school district to agree in the charter school contract on the level of funding and the services to be provided by the school district. Specifies that the combination of funding and services shall equal at least 95% of the district per pupil operating revenues multiplied by the number of pupils enrolled in the charter school. Authorizes the charter school to choose those services that it will purchase, at cost, from the school district. Prohibits a school district from requiring a charter school to pay rent for space within school district facilities that the school district board of education deems available. Recognizes that costs for the use, operation, and maintenance of facilities used by the charter school are subject to negotiation between the charter school and the school district.

VETOED by Governor June 5, 1997

H.B. 97-1219 Educational accountability - consolidation of statutes - abolition of state accountability advisory committee. Consolidates the statutory sections on educational achievement with the sections on educational accountability. Abolishes the state accountability advisory committee.

APPROVED by Governor April 24, 1997
EFFECTIVE August 6, 1997
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause. It shall take effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninety-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly that is allowed for submitting a referendum petition pursuant to article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution; except that, if a referendum petition is filed against this act or an item, section, or part of this act within such period, then the act, item, section, or part, if approved by the people, shall take effect on the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon by proclamation of the governor.

H.B. 97-1249 School finance - extracurricular activities - PERA contributions - charter school approval - expelled students services - special education - assessments - appropriations. Increases statewide base per pupil funding from $3,568 to $3,667. Deletes the provision requiring the minimum per pupil funding amount to be increased annually by an amount equal to at least 85% of the percentage increase in statewide base per pupil funding. Requires that, for the 1997-98 budget year, such amount be increased by the difference between the district's per pupil funding for the 1997-98 budget year and the school district's per pupil funding for the 1996-97 budget year as determined under the regular formula. Sets forth the formula for determining such increase for the 1998-99 budget year and thereafter. Defines "per pupil funding".

        Increases the at-risk factor from 11% to 11.5% for purposes of determining the amount of funding a school district will receive for its at-risk pupils. Stipulates that every school district receiving at-risk funding for the 1997-98 budget year and thereafter expend no less than 75% of such funding on direct instruction or staff development, or both, for teaching at-risk pupils.

        Replaces current provisions in the school finance act (the act) relating to the determination of a reorganized district's size factor with new provisions based upon whether the size factor of the new district or districts is less than or greater than the size factor of the original district or districts.

        Deletes the provision that allows school board members and other officers or employees to be held personally liable for knowingly and willfully certifying a levy in excess of that allowed by the act.

        Allows the state treasurer, in accordance with written directions from a school district, to make a distribution from the state public school fund directly to an account designated by the district that allows the district to retain title to the funds.

        For purposes of the definition of "at-risk pupils", changes the definition of "district pupils eligible for free lunch" to exclude the restriction that eligibility be determined based upon the federal law in effect on July 1, 1994. Deletes the provision allowing school districts to elect to count at-risk pupils on October 15 of the applicable year or the school day nearest that date.

        Modifies the definition of "funded pupil count" to mean the greater of the district's pupil enrollment for the applicable budget year or the average of the district's pupil enrollment for the applicable budget year and the district's pupil enrollment for the 2 immediately preceding budget years.

        Modifies the provision concerning the insurance reserve requirement to allow school districts to establish a separate fund or account in the general fund for risk management purposes.

        For the 1997-98 budget year, increases the amount required to be allocated to instructional supplies and materials, capital outlay, and other instructional purposes from $130 to $134 per pupil. For the 1998-99 budget year and budget years thereafter, requires that such amount be increased by the same percentage as statewide base per pupil funding. Reduces the amount of such moneys that may be used for staff development from 20% to 10%. For the 1997-98 budget year, increases the amount required to be allocated to the capital reserve fund, to a fund or account within the general fund for the purpose of risk management, or among such fund or accounts from $210 to $216 per pupil. For the 1998-99 budget year and budget years thereafter, requires such amount to be increased by the same percentage as the statewide base per pupil funding.

        Prohibits any school or school district that receives funds under the act from belonging to an organization or association or enforcing a rule of a coach or principal that would deny a student the ability to participate in any school or interscholastic activity due to the student's participation in lawful activities during out-of-school hours and off of school property.

        Directs the Colorado economic development commission, on or before October 1, 1997, to make recommendations to the governor and general assembly regarding methods of evaluating the need to limit state economic development programs that allow decisions made by local governments to adversely affect the amount of general fund revenue that would otherwise be used to finance public schools.

        Decreases the employer contribution rate to the public employees' retirement association (PERA) from 11.6% to 11.5% for the school division. For the 1997-98 budget year and budget years thereafter, requires the difference between the district's total employer contribution rate to PERA as calculated at 11.6% and as calculated at 11.5% to be credited to a capital construction account in the general fund.

        Modifies the provision requiring interest earned on certain moneys transferred to the public school fund to be retained in the fund. Requires all interest earned on the fund to be credited to the public school income fund and periodically transferred therefrom to the state public school fund.

        For the 1997-98 budget year, permits districts to certify their eligibility for additional school finance revenues: (1) Under their constitutional fiscal year spending limits; and (2) in excess of their constitutional fiscal year spending limits with voter approval but in no event more than the district could receive under the school finance formula. Requires that such certifications be submitted no later than December 1, 1997, and that they be reviewed and approved by an auditor for the district.

        Amends the "Charter Schools Act" to provide that a charter school must apply to, and be granted a charter from, a school district. Prohibits a charter school from applying to or being granted a charter from a school district unless a majority of the charter school's pupils reside in the chartering school district or in school districts contiguous thereto.

        Requires a school district, upon request of a student or the student's parent or guardian, to provide services to any student expelled from such school district to enable the student to return to school or complete the GED. Provides that such services shall be provided by the expelling school district unless such district expelled less than 50 students the preceding year. Allows a school district that expelled less than 50 students the preceding year to provide such services in conjunction with one or more school districts, boards of cooperative services, or pilot schools. Establishes in the department of education the expelled student services grant program to provide moneys to school districts and pilot schools for purposes of funding said services for expelled students. Sets forth the criteria for the state board of education to consider when awarding such grants.

        Amends the "Colorado Pilot Schools Act" to allow pilot schools to enter into agreements with a school district or board of cooperative services to provide services to expelled students to enable such students to return to school or complete the GED. Clarifies that students receiving educational services from a pilot school pursuant to such agreement shall not be considered enrolled at the pilot school or subject to the pilot school's admission requirements. Allows pilot schools to apply for grants under the expelled student services grant program.

        For the 1997-98 budget year, provides for the distribution of $49,800,756 to each school district or board of cooperative services that maintain special education programs in proportion to the amount of funding appropriated and received by the district or board for the 1994-95 budget year. Establishes a formula for distributing any increase in the appropriation made to the department of education for special education programs for the 1997-98 budget year and budget years thereafter based on the percentage of children with disabilities residing in the school district divided by the total number of children with disabilities statewide.

        Creates the Colorado assessment program and, in connection therewith, directs the department of education to implement, beginning with the 1997 spring semester, statewide assessments adopted by the board of education in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and science. Directs the state standards and assessments development and implementation council to develop and recommend to the board state assessments in said subject areas. Establishes an implementation schedule for the administration of assessments under the program. Requires the department to prepare an annual report on the assessments and submit such report to the education committees of the house of representatives and the senate and to the governor. Specifies the contents of the report. Requires the board to specify the time by which a district shall begin to assess students in subject matters other than reading, writing, mathematics, and science.

        Allows the department to fund the student assessment program with moneys appropriated by the general assembly for public school finance, total program, subject to the limitation set forth in the annual general appropriations bill. Appropriates $1,600,000 to the department of education for the implementation of the student assessment program for the 1996-97 fiscal year and $1,800,000 for the 1997-98 fiscal year.

        Adjusts the appropriation for the state aid school finance payments for the 1997-98 budget year to decrease the general fund appropriation, total program, by $9,237,485 and to increase cash fund exempt appropriations, total program, by $9,025,872 and by $6,406,731 from reserves in school lands and federal mineral lease revenues. Increases the appropriation for special education by $4,737,485. Increases the appropriation for gifted and talented children by $1,000,000. Appropriates $3,500,000 for the expelled student services grant program.

APPROVED by Governor April 30, 1997
EFFECTIVE April 30, 1997

H.B. 97-1253 Commission for achievement in education - abolition. Abolishes the Colorado commission for achievement in education. Includes the graduate education and research study in the statewide higher education enrollment plan to be adopted by the Colorado commission on higher education.

APPROVED by Governor May 21, 1997
EFFECTIVE August 6, 1997
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause. It shall take effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninety-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly that is allowed for submitting a referendum petition pursuant to article V, section 1 (3) of the state constitution; except that, if a referendum petition is filed against this act or an item, section, or part of this act within such period, then the act, item, section, or part, if approved by the people, shall take effect on the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon by proclamation of the governor.

 

Session Laws of Colorado Digest of Bills General Assembly State of Colorado


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