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The Daily Churn: Wednesday

What’s churning:

Updated: Joe Garcia, president of Colorado State University-Pueblo and newly minted Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, will take some time off from the university while he and gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper are on the campaign trail.

The CSU Board of Governors today approved a resolution detailing a transition plan under which Garcia will continue his duties as president until Sept. 10, during the period when the new academic year is starting. After that he’ll take unused vacation time and then unpaid leave until the election on Nov. 3. CSU-Fort Collins President Tony Frank will oversee things in Pueblo while Garcia is off. Chancellor Joe Blake also said he’ll be spending more time in the Pueblo community.

If Hickenlooper and Garcia win, the board will begin a search for a replacement. If the Democratic team is defeated, Garcia will return to his post as campus president effective Nov. 4.

Republican Party operatives, who’ve got their own gubernatorial candidate mess to deal with, have agitated for Garcia to leave his job, arguing a working state employee shouldn’t be also be campaigning. The statement issued by CSU said the needs of the Pueblo campus were the primary concern of the board.

Michael Bennet’s surprisingly wide margin of victory over Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate should stop stomachs from churning among Dems, and may allow tomorrow’s unity rally to provide some closure. And perhaps the Denver school board and others within Denver Public Schools can bury the hatchet and get back to the business of focusing on education rather than politics. We will soon find out.

As people digest this year’s Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) scores, it’s clear that results for the state as a whole were disappointing at best, but a victory for people pushing a reform agenda. Districts like Harrison, Denver and Mapleton with ambitious reform plans did well, even if they have a long way to go before claiming bragging rights. In terms of growth, stalwarts Douglas County and Cherry Creek did well, along with Denver and, to some extent, Aurora. See EdNews’ analysis of growth data.

On tap today:

A full day for SBE: The State Board of Education holds its regular monthly meeting today. Agenda highlights include a vote on the recommended 2010 projects for BEST funding, a second appeal from the Prospect Ridge Charter of conditions imposed on its charter by the Adams 12 District and a request for innovation status from Colorado Springs District 11 for Wasson High School.

Good reads from elsewhere:

A $10 billion breather: The U.S. House of Representatives passes a bill to save 100,000 teaching jobs.

Oh, Arizona: Tucson, state government do battle over ethnic studies.

Closing the gap: Some colleges have nearly eliminated the graduation gap among different races, ethnicities.

But I want my tater tots: The healthy school lunch movement is gaining steam nationally.

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