Colorado school districts

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K-12 Education in Colorado
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Robert Hammond
Number of students: 854,265[1]
Number of teachers: 48,078
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:17.8
Number of school districts: 259
Number of schools: 1,813
Graduation rate: 75%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $8,724[3]
See also
Colorado Department of EducationList of school districts in ColoradoColoradoSchool boards portal
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Colorado
Glossary of education terms

Colorado is home to 1,813 schools and 854,265 K-12 students.[4]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education
    • Robert Hammond, Commissioner of Education
    • Paul Lundeen (R), Chairman, Fifth Congressional District
    • Marcia Neal (R), Vice-Chairman, Third Congressional District
    • Elaine Gantz Berman (D), First Congressional District
    • Angelika Schroeder (D), Second Congressional District
    • Pam Mazanec (R), Fourth Congressional District
    • Debora Scheffel (R), Sixth Congressional District
    • Jane Goff (D), Seventh Congressional District


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment and per-pupil spending.

Student enrollment, 2011-2012 Per-pupil spending, 2012-2013[5]
1.) Jeffco Public Schools 1.) Pawnee School District RE-12
2.) Denver Public Schools 2.) De Beque School District 49JT
3.) Douglas County School District 3.) Silverton School District 1
4.) Cherry Creek School District 4.) Agate School District 300
5.) Adams 12 Five Star Schools 5.) Liberty School District J-4
6.) Aurora Joint School District No. 28 6.) Hinsdale County School District RE-1
7.) Boulder Valley School District 7.) Campo School District RE-6
8.) Colorado Springs School District 11 8.) Pritchett School District RE-3
9.) St. Vrain Valley School District 9.) Creede Consolidated School District 1
10.) Poudre School District 10.) Woodlin School District R-104


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Colorado as reported in the Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[6]

Demographic information for Colorado's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 7,143 0.84% 1.10%
Asian 26,522 3.10% 4.68%
African American 40,932 4.79% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students 1,817 0.21% 0.42%
Hispanic 272,490 31.90% 24.37%
White 479,288 56.11% 51.21%
Two or more 26,073 3.05% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

State sued over Amendment 23

On June 27, 2014, a group of parents, educators and school districts filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado. The lawsuit seeks to enforce Amendment 23, an initiative approved by voters in 2000 to gradually raise school funding levels. Under the amendment, the state had to raise funding levels for schools to 1988 levels and then hold steady. Though the state did this for a decade, in 2010, school funding was cut. In order to work around the amendment, lawmakers invoked a tactic called the "negative factor" and cut almost $1 billion from schools.[7] To make those cuts, the "negative factor" provided the mandated increases from Amendment 23 off the base funding that schools receive, rather than on the total funding that includes additional financial resources for specific programs. The lawsuit alleges that the "negative factor" violates Amendment 23.[8]

The lawsuit comes after voters rejected a school finance overhaul initiative and after a legal battle challenging the constitutionality of the state's system of financing schools failed in 2013. This new lawsuit, however, is much more narrowly focused in that it only looks at whether or not the state violated Amendment 23.[7][8]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Colorado State Board of Education adopted the standards on August 2, 2010. Full implementation was set to be achieved in the 2013-2014 academic year.[9][10]

School board composition

School board members are elected by residents of the school district. School boards in Colorado may have five, six or seven members, those members may serve four-year or six-year terms and they may be elected by geographic district or at-large. School districts that are coterminous with a city and a county have stricter regulations. Those school boards must have a seven-member school board, and those members must serve four-year terms with five of them getting elected from geographic districts and two elected at-large.[11]

If a vacancy occurs in a school board, the remaining members of the school board must adopt a resolution declaring such vacancy. The school board must then appoint a person to fill the vacancy within 60 days of the vacancy occurring. The newly appointed member will then serve the remainder of the unexpired term.[12]

District types

Colorado school districts vary by region type. Some school districts correspond to specific cities or counties, and because of that, have stricter regulations when it comes to school board elections.[11] All school districts in Colorado, however, are governed by an elected board of education, and they all have the power to levy ad valorem taxes for school purposes and to issue general obligation bonds after voter approval.[13]

Term limits

The Colorado Term Limits Act, which was added to Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution, limits any nonjudicial elected official of any county, city, town, school district or other political subdivision to serving no more than two consecutive terms in office. The power to change those limitations, by lengthening, shortening or eliminating them, was given to the voters of political subdivisions. Because of this, term limits for school board members vary by district.[14]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Colorado school board elections, 2015

A total of 21 Colorado school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for 64 seats on November 3, 2015.

Here are several quick facts about Colorado's school board elections in 2015:

  • The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Jeffco Public Schools with 85,793 K-12 students.
  • The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Widefield School District 3 with 9,184 K-12 students.
  • Six districts are tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with five seats up for election in each.
  • Seven districts are tied for the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with two seats up for election in each district.

The districts listed below served 655,780 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2015 Colorado School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Academy School District 20 11/3/2015 2 5 23,657
Adams 12 Five Star Schools 11/3/2015 4 5 42,990
Adams County School District 50 11/3/2015 3 5 10,124
Aurora Public Schools 11/3/2015 3 7 39,696
Boulder Valley School District 11/3/2015 4 7 29,780
Brighton School District 11/3/2015 4 7 15,671
Cherry Creek School District 11/3/2015 3 5 52,655
Colorado Springs School District 11 11/3/2015 4 7 29,543
Denver Public Schools 11/3/2015 3 7 80,890
Douglas County School District 11/3/2015 3 7 63,114
Falcon School District 49 11/3/2015 2 5 15,063
Greeley-Evans School District 6 11/3/2015 3 7 19,840
Harrison School District Two 11/3/2015 2 5 11,108
Jeffco Public Schools 11/3/2015 2 5 85,793
Littleton Public Schools 11/3/2015 2 5 15,571
Mesa County Valley School District 51 11/3/2015 2 5 21,925
Poudre School District 11/3/2015 5 7 27,510
Pueblo City Schools 11/3/2015 3 5 17,902
St. Vrain Valley School District 11/3/2015 4 7 28,109
Thompson School District 11/3/2015 4 7 15,655
Widefield School District 3 11/3/2015 2 5 9,184

Path to the ballot

To qualify as a school board candidate in Colorado, an individual must:[15]

  • Be a registered voter in the corresponding school district for 12 consecutive months prior to the election.
  • Be a resident of the corresponding geographic district, if the school district elects school board members by district.
  • Not have been convicted of a sexual offense against a child.
  • File a written notice of intention to run and a nominating petition with the secretary of the board of education in the corresponding school district no later than 67 days prior to the election.

Campaign finance

School board candidates are required to register a candidate committee if they plan to accept contributions. Candidate committees are not required if candidates only use their own money for campaigning. School board candidates are required to file disclosure reports for all expenditures made related to their campaign, whether they use their own money or contributions from other sources. All campaign finance documents and reports must be filed with the Colorado Secretary of State.[16]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. National Center for Education Statistics, "State Education Data Profiles," accessed August 14, 2013
  5. Colorado Department of Education, "School District Funding Database," accessed July 9, 2014
  6. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Colorado Public Radio, "Parents, school districts file lawsuit asking state to enforce Amendment 23," June 27, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Denver Post, "Group suing Colorado over $1 billion cut in school funding," June 27, 2014
  9. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed June 12, 2014
  10. Colorado Department of Education, "Standards and Instruction," accessed June 13, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 22, Article 31, Section 201," accessed July 9, 2014
  12. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 22, Article 31, Section 129," accessed July 9, 2014
  13. United States Census Burea, "Colorado," accessed July 9, 2014
  14. Colorado Constitution, "Article XVIII, Section 11," accessed July 9, 2014
  15. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 22, Article 31, Section 107," accessed July 8, 2014
  16. Colorado Secretary of State, "School District Information: School board candidates," accessed July 9, 2014