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Shift in Colorado Law May Save Rural District

A low-performing rural school district in Colorado may avoid state intervention due to a little-known change to a state law, according to a recent article by Chalkbeat Colorado.

The Karval School District, which serves about 90 students in southeast Colorado, has been facing impending state action due to low test scores mostly at its online school, which enrolls about two-thirds of students in the district. Karval has hesitated to close that school and lose per-pupil funding. But a 2013 change to a state law, which has gone largely unnoticed by districts, ensures that school districts will receive funding for at least 50 students, even if those districts do not enroll 50 students. More than 70 percent of school districts in Colorado are small, rural districts.

Due to this law, Karval recently decided to shutter its online school, which means even if students are dispersed to other school districts and the district loses students, Karval will maintain funding for at least 50 students. Closing the online school could also positively impact the district's academic success and allow the district to avoid state intervention. 

Nationwide, rural schools have struggled to maintain funding and many have closed schools or made cuts as student enrollment declines. 

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