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Friday Churn: A big gap looms

Updated 2:45 p.m.Vody Herrmann, assistant commissioner for school finance, is retiring in March, Department of Education officials announced this afternoon.

Herrmann’s departure will leave a big gap, given that few people in state government have a greater command of the intricacies of school finance than she does. Herrmann has been a fixture at legislative hearings, helping walk lawmakers through one fine point or another. She’s also been a key contact for scores of district administrators seeking help with budget riddles.

The news was announced in an email to legislators and education lobbyists by CDE legislative liason Anne Barkis.

Commissioner Robert Hammond also gave the news to superintendents around the state in an email.

“Vody is a true expert on Colorado school finance and she has poured her heart and soul into helping school districts navigate its many intricacies year after year. As revenues rose and fell and as the laws and rules changed, Vody kept track of every dollar with the kind of eagle-eyed stewardship every taxpayer expects. She has been a pillar at CDE, and she long will be known for her strong professional relationships with school district leaders, legislators and the broader education community,” the email read.

“I am honored to have worked for the department and with Colorado school districts,” said Herrmann. “I will miss working with school districts and all the fine professionals—both at the department and in the field—who are dedicated to improving student achievement. School district leaders across the state do a tremendous job of managing the resources they receive and often don’t receive the credit they deserve for their thoughtful and careful management of taxpayer resources. I will miss working with them. There is never a good time to take this step, but I reached a point where I know it feels right.”

Herrmann previously was a finance official for the Fort Morgan schools and the South Platte Valley BOCES.

The email said Vody would be with the department through March (before the legislature adopts the 2011-12 state budget).

Herrmann’s departure will come in the middle of the third legislative session of K-12 budget cuts and in a period of increasing financial distress for many school districts.


What’s churning:

The State Council for Educator Effectiveness starts the second day of a three-day retreat at 9 a.m. The group is expected to start shaping up the recommendations it will make to the State Board of Education next spring. The sessions will be in the Ruffatto Hall Community Board Room at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education.

Except for the poor souls slogging away at the Joint Budget Committee, today is a quiet getaway day at the legislature, as is always the case on the first Friday of a new session.

Good reads from elsewhere: