Colorado Senate Bill 291: Bad Idea for Supporters of "Local Control"
Before they’re scheduled to adjourn the session sometime next week, the legislators at the Colorado State Capitol still have some decisions to make on key education bills. But one bad idea has popped up at the last minute that you ought to know about.
Four weeks ago sponsoring Democrat lawmakers included in the original version of the School Finance Act a provision to punish “sore losers” — voters in school districts that opt to restore taxpayer protections usurped by the Colorado Supreme Court. In other words, if approved by the legislature and signed by the governor, the state would stop backfilling funds to districts that opt out of ratcheting increased local school property taxes.
The provision was amended out of the School Finance Act to avoid the controversy. But the issue returned as Senate Bill 291 (PDF), passed on a party-line vote out of the Senate Education Committee, and now is being considered by the full senate.
It will be interesting to see how the votes shake out. For many, the “local control” doctrine in the state constitution is a convenient mantra selectively used to support certain education policies and not to support others. If anyone in the legislature really consistently believes in “local control”, they would oppose SB 291.