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Thursday churn: Benefield loses

Updated 5 p.m.The Jefferson County clerk’s office this afternoon posted final results in the House District 29 race showing that Republican challenger Robert Ramirez beat incumbent Rep. Debbie Benefield 12,738 votes to 12,541. Benefield, a longtime parent and schools activist in Jefferson County, was a member of the House Education Committee and a vocal opponent of the educator effectiveness bill during the last legislative session.

Her defeat leaves the Republicans in control of the House with a bare 33-32 majority. Democrats remain in control of the Senate with a 20-15 margin.

What’s churning:

Dueling press conferences are scheduled before tonight’s Denver school board vote on a contentious reform plan for Far Northeast Denver.

Supporters of the proposal go first, at 4:30 p.m., followed by opponents at 5:30 p.m. Both sides say they’re made up of parents, educators and community members. Both events will be at 900 Grant St., where the board meets.

Tonight’s board meeting begins at 5 p.m. and will break for an hour-long public comment session at 6:30 p.m. The board is expected to vote after that. See the full agenda here.

The DPS proposal actually includes school in other parts of the city – adding a Denver School of Science and Technology campus at Cole, for example – but the most attention has focused on the six schools in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch. Here’s the DPS snapshot of the plan and here’s a one-page comparison of an alternate plan proposed by opponents, including the Denver teachers’ union, arguing for more time and community input.

What’s on tap:

The University of Colorado Board of Regents kicks off a two-day meeting starting at 1 p.m. today in the University Center at CU-Colorado Springs.

The packed agenda includes action on CU’s proposed new qualified transfer program for community college students (get more details on that here), a report on CU online education efforts, a presentation from the athletic department (which has had some changes lately) and a proposal to reinstate a regents’ committee on intercollegiate athletics.

The panel also will get a report from Vice President Kelly Fox on the recently released higher education strategic plan, elements of which have been criticized by CU President Bruce Benson. (Agenda)

In other CU news, a committee on the Boulder campus has recommended closing the university’s journalism school – get details here. A second panel is studying how journalism and related disciplines might be reorganized.

The Jefferson County school board holds a special meeting starting at 5 p.m. in the third floor conference rooms of district headquarters at 1829 Denver West Drive, Building 27. On the agenda are reviews of the first-quarter financial report and the district strategic plan, and an executive session to discussions negotiations with employee associations and with the superintendent.

The state Quality Teachers Commission meeting that was scheduled for today has been cancelled.

Good reads from elsewhere:

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