Equity for Charter Students

By Jen Walmer, DFER Colorado State Director

Make no mistake – this is big.

It took all 120 days and the courageous leadership of DFER champions in the House and Senate, but equity in mill levy distribution is now a reality.

Sometimes, what’s right wins.

Huge kudos to Rep. Brittany Pettersen, Sen. Angela Williams and Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran for their roles in pushing, cajoling, wrangling and ultimately pulling HB1375 across the finish line today.

In the end, it was about the kids. If we can keep our priorities straight – like we did this week – there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. Now, on to some of the inspirational testimony that made this dream a reality:

“This bill focuses on the needs of kids and puts flexibility back in the hands of the school districts. Regardless of the type of school a student attends, this bill is looking out for them.” – Rep. Brittany Pettersen

“With this bill, we had to change the focus to be about the kids who may not have been born in the wealthiest ZIP code or face significant obstacles to succeed.” – Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran

I believe that one of the bedrock principles of Colorado’s school system is that it should be equitable. Equity in education, and ensuring that all students receive equitable funding so they have the opportunity to receive a quality education is key.”- Senator Angela Williams

“I believe a quality education is the greatest social justice issue of my time. And in the name of that justice, I stand in support of HB1375.” Senator Dominick Moreno

“Charter schools are public schools. Traditional schools are public schools. So if a school board, on its own, overrides the will of the voters, and enshrines discrimination against Latino kids, African American kids, kids on free or reduced lunch, kids who are English language learners, immigrants to our country, they are not getting the money they need to have quality schools.” – Rep. Paul Rosenthal

“If you have kids, all you care about is that your child has access to a quality education. We could debate these issues all day long, but at the end of the day it comes back to kids.” – Rep. James Coleman 

“[…]If I consider myself a leader at the Capitol, and a leader in my community, I have to do what is right. […] My husband would tell me to do what I think is right. […] You have to vote your heart and do what’s right for the kids.” – Rep. Janet Buckner

“The program (districts) create can consist of anything. […] Do it any way you want. But treat all of your kids like they are your kids. This bill is about kids, and I ask for your support.” – Rep. Jeff Bridges

“What these legislators have done is shifted that conversation in a hugely meaningful way to defining equity based on what children need. If nothing else, that’s why I stand in support of their efforts, and in support of House Bill 1375.” – Rep. Millie Hamner

Thank you to these legislators for voting for equity:

Speaker Duran, Reps. Bridges, Buckner, Coleman, Garnett, Gray, Hamner, Hansen, Herod, Kennedy, Lee, Lontine, McLachlan, Michaelson Jenet, Mitsch Bush, Pabon, Pettersen, Rosenthal and Young, Minority Leader Guzman, Senators Aguilar, Court, Donovan, Fenberg, Fields, Garcia, Guzman, Jahn, Kagan, Kefalas, Moreno, Williams and Zenzinger.