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Wednesday Churn: Summit draws a crowd

Updated 11:45 a.m. – Read this story from our sister site, EdNews Parent, on yesterday’s Healthy Schools Summit.

Meanwhile, today at the Capitol, Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, was elected chair of the Joint Budget Committee, while Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, was selected as vice chair. The six-member committee has three Democrats and three Republicans, reflecting the fact that the Dems control the Senate and the GOP now has a slim majority in House.

The quick leadership election was conducted in an atmosphere of bipartisan harmony, a mood that continued later in the morning when Gov. Bill Ritter presented his final budget to the panel. “I urge you to approach this budget cycle with an open mind. … It is about finding common ground,” the governor said, adding that if incoming Gov. John Hickenlooper and the legislature want to change what he’s proposed, “You’re going to have to find a way to offset [that change] somewhere else in the budget.” (See this story for more details on Ritter’s budget proposal.)

The rest of the JBC this year includes Sens. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, and Pat Steadman, D-Denver, and as Reps. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, and freshman John Becker, R-Fort Morgan.

What’s churning:

Douglas County’s school board will hear from its choice task force, including a voucher or “option certificates” subcommittee, during its retreat Saturday in Englewood. Starting at 9 a.m., the board is devoting its morning to 20-minute presentations from each of its seven choice subcommittees, which also include “neighborhood school empowerment” and “home school partnerships.”

The option certificates portion begins at 10:30 a.m. at the ISC Corporation, 8680 Concord Center Drive. Go here to see the agendas for Friday and Saturday of the board’s two-day retreat. The retreat is open to the public though public comment typically isn’t heard. The opportunity for public comment on the voucher issue, or any of the choice work, is expected to be the board’s Nov. 16 meeting but that agenda isn’t available yet.

Meanwhile, Douglas County officials have placed an FAQ about the choice work on its website. Already, the district has posted a letter from its superintendent along with summaries of the work done by the options certificate subcommittee and the contract schools subcommittee.

What’s on tap:

The state Capital Construction Assistance Board convenes at 1 p.m. to discuss BEST grants in the wake of local district bond elections, and to talk about possible changes in its procedures (see this story for background on the latter). The session will be at 1525 Sherman Street, Suite B-70.

Earlier this year, the board approved state grants totaling $165.5 million for major projects. Three districts – Elbert, Florence and Peyton – lost their state money when voters rejected bond issues needed to raise local matches. That leaves $27.5 million free, of which Akron will be awarded $17 million. That district was chosen as the “alternate” finalist, and its voters did approve raising taxes to generate the local match.

The Department of Education’s new Expanded Learning Opportunities Commission takes its listening tour to Loveland at The Ranch, 5280 Arena Circle. The meeting runs 4-6 p.m.

Good reads from elsewhere:

  • Klein going: NYC chancellor resigns; another non-educator replaces him. New York Times
  • Value-added redux: LA school board OKs contract with value-added evaluation firm. Los Angeles Times
  • Free college: New Haven high school grads with good grades to get free tuition at state schools. New York Times
  • Charter transfers: One in 10 Chicago charter students transfers out; discipline cited. Catalyst Chicago

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