Mancos school board OKs state suit

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.

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

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.

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.

This deduction is called the “negative factor,” and Mancos schools lost $67,000 to it this year.

Dolores Superintendent Scott Cooper said that this year, the school district’s budget has been cut by $961,344, with an expected $912,407 cut next year.

Over the past five years, his budget has been cut by $3.1 million, he said.

“If this ‘negative factor’ continues, we will have to cut deep into the classrooms, directly affecting the students’ educational future and the economic future of Colorado.”

mshinn@cortezjournal.com