Education overhaul's effect on District 51

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The massive education funding overhaul awaiting Governor Hickenlooper’s signature could benefit District 51 schools.

Senate Bill 213 would add funding for items like full-day kindergarten and increase funding levels for at-risk students. If the bill gets signed into law, Colorado voters would have to approve a $1.1 billion tax hike on the ballot this fall.

The bill marks the first time in nearly 20 years lawmakers have changed the formula for determining how much funding each district in the state gets.

Though still too early to know for certain, District 51 Chief Operating Officer Melissa Callahan Devita said the bill will likely have a positive impact on District 51.

“We do expect it to be positive for us, but they haven't done a financial run that has a lot of validity at this point," Callahan Devita said.

She also said given the recent $30 million cuts the district has sustained over the last four years, officials will be meticulous in determining where any additional funding would go.

“We’ve lost 20 percent of our operating budget, so we’d really need to be looking at where are the best investments for those dollars to ensure our students continue to achieve and move forward with our education,” she said.

The bill has passed through both the House and Senate and has not gained a single Republican supporter.

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