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The Daily Churn: Thursday


Updated 6 p.m.Gubernatorial candidates John Hickenlooper and Don Maes debated education and children’s issues today at a session organized by our partners at 9News, along with the Colorado Children’s Campaign and The Children’s Hospital. Both candidates agreed there’s little immediate likelihood of tax increases to support schools. Third-party candidate Tom Tancredo was invited to the event but cancelled. Go here to read the 9News story and view video clips.

What’s churning:

Terrance Carroll, the term-limited speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, is the new chairman of the board of A+ Denver, an education advocacy group founded in 2006. Carroll replaces former Denver Mayor Federico Peña as chair of the group.

Carroll, a Denver Democrat and the first African-American elected speaker, is a lawyer with Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm with offices in Denver.

A+ describes itself as “non-profit independent civic organization formed to help Denver transform its public school district into the best in the country and to make increased student achievement and public school reform a top priority in the Denver community.”

The organization has at times been an aggressive advocate for change in Denver Public Schools, most notably during debate over the future of the ProComp teacher compensation system. In 2008, ProComp was instrumental in pushing the district to steer some of its ProComp reserves toward larger bonuses for teachers who measurably improved student achievement or taught in tough-to-staff positions or in challenging schools. More recently, the organization has kept a lower profile.

Gov. Bill Ritter’s office has announced that more than 900,000 free meals were served to Colorado children over the summer break, the largest number since the free summer meals program was started more than three decades ago. You can get more information in this news release and background in this recent EdNews story.

What’s on tap:

A grudge match between the Colorado Leadership Academy charter school in Commerce City and the Adams 14 school district is expected to be the highlight of today’s State Board of Education meeting. The school – the district’s only charter – wants the district’s exclusive chartering authority revoked, claiming Adams 14 hasn’t treated it fairly or legally in financial and other matters.

Revocation of the district’s exclusive chartering authority would mean the school could apply to be supervised by the state’s Charter School Institute. CDE officials say this is the first time a district’s exclusive chartering authority has been challenged. Most districts have such authority. You can read the school’s appeal here and the district’s reply here. The hearing starts at 2 p.m.

At the school’s request, CDE officials examined some of the school’s financial claims. The board was told Wednesday that the district appeared to be in the right in most cases. (Read the staff report.)

The board today also is expected to discuss and vote on resolutions opposing the three budget-busting ballot measures, amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. (Get background on what opponents call the “ugly three.”)

And outgoing board member Peggy Littleton, R-5th District, has proposed a resolution on violent video games.

The Denver school board meets at 5 p.m. tonight at the usual place, 900 Grant St. The agenda includes Superintendent Tom Boasberg’s report on school ratings and a decision about buying a 5.91-acre site near Montbello High School to start an early childhood education center tentatively scheduled to open in fall 2011. The center is being designed to serve more than 250 preschool and kindergarten students, relieving capacity strains in nearby elementary schools.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County’s school board will meet at 5 p.m. tonight at the district’s Golden headquarters. Tonight’s meeting, and another scheduled for noon tomorrow, same place, are a continuation of board members’ work with facilitator Matt Van Aucken , who’s helping them with teamwork. Tonight’s agenda describes meeting several goals in the earlier meeting:

“On August 20, the Board met several of its desired outcomes toward being a more effective and responsible team, including communication agreements on parent/student advocacy; communications with board members and superintendent on issues, students and advice; meeting structure agreements including timing of and member participation in discussion topics, arrival time for regular meetings, and presiding member role in the absence of the Board President; and, review of governance process policies, including agreement on action related to Board Member Conflict of Interest (GP-9) and the Financial Oversight Committee.”

Good reads from elsewhere: