School board OKs suit against Colorado

Board hopes to pressure state to increase spending

The Mancos school board voted to become a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the state March 4.

As a member of the Colorado Rural Schools Caucus, the Mancos school district would have been a part of the suit anyway.

But this will give them a poster-child role, Superintendent Brian Hanson said at the Feb. 24 meeting.

The lawsuit should not be time-consuming or a burden, he said, adding, "It's still in it's infancy. As we move into it, we'll be sure to relay the information to our community."

The goal is to force the state to increase education funding because it is an election year.

"No one wants to be illustrated as anti-education," board president Monty Guiles said.

The most recent budget cuts left the district running a $133,000 deficit.

Colorado Amendment 23 requires the state to increase funding for schools by inflation each year after 2010. But starting in the 2008-09 school year, the state has cut budgets, Hanson said.

Each year since the 2010-11 school year, the state has determined a flat figure to designate to school funding and then reduced funding to that level by cutting each district by the same percentage, according to Colorado Department of Education documents. This deduction is called the "negative factor," and Mancos schools lost $67,000 to it this year.

However, per-pupil spending at the Mancos is still greater than in Cortez after a mill levy override went into effect last year. In Cortez, per-pupil funding is $6,309; in Mancos, $7,984.