Simla, Colorado, home to the Big Sandy Schools 100J February 25, 2019. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)

By Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat Colorado

A proposal that could have allowed Colorado to potentially invest hundreds of millions of dollars more into education by pushing some school districts to raise their taxes fizzled this year after the idea’s chief legislative advocate backed down.

“I agonized over this because I truly believe fixing school finance depends on it,” said state Sen. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican. “It’s about representing my constituents.”

With less than a month left in the legislative session, Rankin said he will not introduce a bill to encourage school districts to adopt uniform tax rates because some of the districts he represents would be hard hit by the change. Advocates said they hope this is not the end of the road for an idea that could raise as much as $450 million for education and make school funding fairer.

Rankin’s proposal would have set state funding as if all districts were charging property owners the same tax rate. Districts with lower tax rates would have had to go to their voters and ask them to approve local tax increases to make up the difference, with a phase-in period over several years.