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Tuesday churn: DPS touts budget increase

UpdatedDenver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg is proposing a $10 million increase in school budgets in 2011-12, despite an expected state funding cut of up to $20 million.

Boasberg said cuts to central services, enrollment increases and operational savings accumulated over the past two years will allow the state’s second-largest district to bolster individual school budgets by 2.3 percent. Winning more than $80 million in competitive grant funding over the past two years also helps.

“At a time when districts are continuing to endure severe budget cuts, we’re pleased to propose a budget to our Board of Education that significantly increases dollars going to our classrooms,” Boasberg said in an afternoon press conference.

Read the full news release here and see the budget presentation here.

DPS board member Andrea Merida sent out her own press release prior to Boasberg’s afternoon event, criticizing district leaders for failing to get input on budget priorities from key stakeholders such as the teachers’ union and parents. Here’s her take. The board meets tonight, see agenda and more details below.

What’s churning:

The hunt for a new Colorado education commissioner is moving along with the posting of an online survey that seeks public opinion about the strengths a new commissioner should have.

The short survey, available online until Jan. 26, lists 19 “areas of emphasis” from which respondents are asked to select the five that are most important to them. There’s also a box in which you can type your own suggestions. The 19 characteristics, some of which seem to overlap, include knowledge of various education issues and trends, leadership in a variety areas and ability to work with different parts of the education world and state government, among other things.

Survey results, along with results of interviews being conducted by a search firm, will be used by the State Board of Education to refine the final job application form, which will be issued by Feb. 17.

See this page for a link to the survey (and the initial application form, (if you’re so inclined).

Read this story for details of the most recent SBE discussion about the search.

What’s on tap:

The legislature has a relatively light schedule this week. You can find the House and Senate calendars here. Or, better yet, subscribe to our Capitol eNewsletter and we’ll send you a full weekly calendar every Sunday evening and updated daily calendars Monday through Thursday. Subscribe here

School boards, however, are putting in a busy week. Here are highlights:

TODAY

Aurora Public Schools board members are being asked to approve changes in student graduation requirements at their 6 p.m. meeting at 1085 Peoria St. Here’s the agenda and here’s a link to the board’s presentation on the proposed changes.

Denver Public Schools board members have their usual monthly four-hour work session, starting at 4:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. Topics include the district’s improvement plan to the state, the latest call for new schools and a discussion about tenure changes as a result of the Educator Effectiveness Act, also known as S.B. 191. Here’s the agenda, which includes links to the board presentations.

Douglas County school board members have a 5 p.m. meeting at 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock. Their agenda includes a discussion of the board’s Nov. 16 resolution opposing the plaintiffs’ position in the Lobato vs. Colorado education funding lawsuit and whether the board needs to better publicize that vote as the case heads to an August trial. Other districts, including Jefferson County, are supporting the plaintiffs. Also, board President John Carson is expected to give an update on the School Choice Task Force, which launched the district’s voucher exploration.
WEDNESDAY

Adams 12 Five Star school board members meet at 6:30 p.m. at 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton. Here’s the agenda, which includes a report on special education demographics at Westgate charter, a school for at-risk gifted students.
THURSDAY

Adams 12 Five Star board members meet again for a work session with their community on budget priorities. The district expects to cut another $25 million for 2011-12 and is asking for public input. The session begins at 6:30 p.m., same place as Wednesday’s meeting. Here’s more info.

DPS board members gather again at 5 p.m. at 900 Grant St. for their usual monthly meeting – following Monday’s work session – and public comment session. Check the agenda here. Topics include an update on changes in Far Northeast Denver and a vote on guidelines for Innovation School applicants.
Jefferson County school board members meet at 5 p.m. at 1829 Denver West Drive in Golden for a closed session on negotiations with employee groups and an open discussion of the district’s preliminary facilities master plan, specifically the pieces of it that would not be included in a 2011 bond question. The agenda includes links to the plan.

Good reads from elsewhere:

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