January 24, 2019

Denver, CO – The Senate Education Committee today passed SB19-009, Financial Incentives for Rural Educators, a bill that would help address the teacher shortage plaguing rural districts. The bill passed committee with a 5-to-0 vote and now moves to the Senate floor for a second reading.
There are an estimated 3,000 unfilled teacher jobs in Colorado, with rural school districts feeling the brunt of the shortfall. The problem is compounded by the fact that many Colorado teachers are preparing for retirement and the number of teacher-preparation program graduates in the state has declined by 24.4 percent over the past five years.
“We have short-changed our children for too long,” said Senator Nancy Todd, Senate Education Committee Chair, Senate sponsor of SB19-009, and retired teacher. “Every child deserves a high-quality education, but too many students in rural parts of our state simply do not have access to one because thousands of teacher positions go unfilled.”  
This bill would remove the limit on stipends available and increase the total amount of the stipend available to students in teacher preparation programs who agree to teach in rural schools from $2,800 to $4,000.
“This bill is an investment in our children’s future. It will ensure that we are able to attract talented educators to our rural districts and give every child the opportunity to succeed,” added Senator Todd.
Of the 178 school districts in Colorado, 148 are classified as “rural.” There are 109 districts that have fewer than 1000 students, meeting the criteria for “small rural,” with 88 districts made up of fewer than 500 students, according to the Colorado Department of Education.
For more information about SB19-009, please visit: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-009.