A bill that would have created a mentorship program to build the leadership skills of Colorado principals died in a Senate committee this week.
Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, and Jim Wilson, R-Salida, sponsored House Bill 18-1367, which would have created a grant program for elementary, middle and high school principals to improve their skills.
Last year, the Colorado Department of Higher Education studied the teacher shortage and found teachers tend to leave the profession because of weak leadership, a news release said. The program would have paired high-achieving principals with those who needed to improve their leadership skills.
“It changes the whole climate of the school when you have a good principal,” McLachlan said.
Three Republicans on the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted to kill the bill on a party-line vote Wednesday, said Conor Cahill, a spokesman for the Colorado House Democrats.
The state is short about 3,000 educators, and the bill was one of several McLachlan sponsored this session to help resolve the problem.
The Legislature set aside $8 million to address the shortage, and the mentorship program would have been paid for with those funds, McLachlan said. It would have received $595,906 in its first year, according to the state documents.
The bill had strong support from education groups across the state, and McLachlan plans to introduce it again next year, she said.
“If we, really, as a state want to invest in and ensure that we are doing all that we can for student success, then we should be supporting our school leaders,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, vice president of the Colorado Education Association.