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Monday Churn: Time for public comment

What’s churning:

Denver Public Schools’ latest proposal to improve some of its lowest-performing schools is up for public comment tonight from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at district headquarters, 900 Grant St.

For more on the district’s proposal, set for school board vote on Nov. 18, see this press release.

This marks the fourth year in which the district has proposed dramatic change at schools that have struggled for years – Montbello High School, the focus on much of the 2010 plan, was among the original 30 Colorado schools given a “unsatisfactory” state rating in 2001.

Denver school board members voted unanimously on the first proposal, in November 2007, which closed eight schools and restructured five others. In November 2008, the board split 5-2 on a proposal that included the first co-location of charters in district buildings.

And last year, the board split 4-3 in a contentious meeting marked by a new board member taking her seat sooner than expected to vote with dissenters. The proposal marked the first time that charters placed in district buildings were required to have attendance boundaries and accept any interested students living within them.

Critics of the 2010 plan are expected to attend tonight’s meeting, including staff at some of the affected schools who’ve come up with their own alternative proposals.

Aurora Public Schools has scheduled a public comment session tomorrow night that could also prompt some heat. The sole topic at the 6 p.m. meeting at 15771 E. 1st Ave. is an arbitrator’s recommendation on a grievance filed by APS teachers.

The Aurora Education Association filed the grievance after district leaders added a sixth period to high school teachers’ schedules this fall, a move estimated to save $2.6 million and approved in March as part of a $15.7 million package of budget cuts. An arbitrator has ruled in favor of teachers and, while the ruling is non-binding, the district is asking for public input.

The Aurora Sentinel has followed this issue with a story about the arbitrator’s ruling and a story about the district’s estimated costs of complying with it. Aurora Superintendent John Barry sent out this brief letter to staff members.

What’s on tap:

Gov. Bill Ritter formally kicks off “Complete College Colorado,” a month-long series of events and activities designed to promote the importance of college to individual success and the state’s economy. The event starts at 2 p.m. on the second floor atrium bridge of the Auraria campus science building.

According to the governor’s office, “The Complete College Colorado initiative … will build awareness of the programs and services available across the state to help individuals earn higher education degrees or certificates. The campaign will also highlight the role higher education plays in improving the economic success of individuals, communities and the state.”

The Department of Education’s town hall meetings on a new state testing system continue today at the University of Northern Colorado in the Kepner Building. The meeting runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

CDE’s new Expanded Learning Opportunities Commission takes its listening tour to Limon, meeting at the offices of the East Central BOCES from 4-6 p.m.

The Cherry Creek board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at Ponderosa Elementary School, 1885 S. Lima Street in Aurora.

Good reads from elsewhere:

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