Dear AAK Families,

If you have been following any of the recent developments in Colorado legislation and equally funding all public schools, you may know that last year was a breakthrough year in bringing funding parity to non-district charter schools like the Academy of Arts and Knowledge. AAK is authorized by the Charter School Institute (CSI) rather than Poudre School District. CSI was created by the Legislature in 2004 to address the growing number of charter schools, the desire for innovative models to better serve at-risk students, and the need for another mode of authorizing charter schools than school district authorizers. CSI now authorizes 39 charter schools in Colorado which serve roughly 18,000 students, or roughly 14% of Colorado’s charter school population.

Recognizing that CSI schools have no access to local tax revenue, House Bill 17-1375 created the Mill Levy Equalization Fund but did not appropriate any dollars into this Fund. In 2017, CSI requested $5.5M to ensure parity between CSI students and district charter students. The request was approved, thereby making a first, small step towards funding equity for all public school students. With this additional source of funding for the 2018-19 school year, AAK was able to purchase an updated school-wide, standards-based curriculum in both social studies and science.

Fort Collins Representative Cathy Kipp is planning to introduce legislation that would strip CSI schools of Mill Levy Equalization funding. It is critically important that the voices of your families are heard as if this legislation is introduced and passed, it would mean the end of Mill Levy Equalization dollars to CSI schools, including The Academy of Arts & Knowledge.

While Kipp’s concerns stem from issues with unfair taxation, students attending CSI schools simply do not have access to the same level of funding as their district peers. Parents are not making a political choice when they choose to send their child to a CSI school, they are simply choosing the school best fit for the needs of their children. There are better ways of fixing this funding inequity than stripping CSI schools of Mill Levy Equalization funding.

Here are some ways you can help:

 

  • Attend an issue forum tomorrow in Fort Collins

Representative Kipp, along with Representative Jeni Arndt (who has shared concerns about charter school funding) and Senator Joann Ginal, will be hosting an Issue Forum this Saturday, January 26 at 10:00am at Harmony Library focused on “What’s Next for Education Funding in Colorado?”. Consider sharing this information with your school community as this is a great chance for parent and student voices to be heard. More information about the event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2314158571936492/

 

  • Contact Representative Kipp

The distribution of the CSI Mill Levy Equalization Fund seeks to give every public school student attending a CSI school access to similar levels of funding as peers attending district-authorized public schools. Here are key points to consider sharing with Representative Kipp:

  • I have [X] child/children attending The Academy of Arts & Knowledge.
  • I chose this school for my child(ren) because it best meets the needs of my children.  
  • I am a taxpayer, and my taxpayer dollars are currently going to schools that my children aren’t attending.
  • Please do not repeal the CSI Mill Levy Equalization Fund.

 

Representative Kipp’s contact information follows:

Office:

(303) 866-4569

cathy.kipp.house@state.co.us

Personal:

(970) 219-5267

cathy@cathykipp.com

 

We need to have your parent and student voices heard loud and clear by Representative Kipp to ensure the CSI Mill Levy Equalization Fund remains intact and our school gets the funding it deserves.

Thank you for your support to keep equal funding for all schools, and your continued support of our school.

Shannon Gossard and Jami Montoya

AAK Directors