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Monday Churn: Legislature hitting stride

What’s churning:

The legislature is starting to hit its stride, and there’s plenty of interest on this week’s calendars, including Joint Budget Committee consideration of how to balance the 2010-11 budget – which may or may not include education cuts – and a joint meeting between the JBC and the two education committees to talk about the bleak budget picture.

The two education panels also have a joint meeting Wednesday morning to hear from interest groups about the burden of state mandates and reform initiatives. That issue is expected to jell into legislation later in the session under the sponsorship of House Ed Chair Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs. He’s already asked a wide variety of interest groups to suggest current state mandates that they like to see junked.

Also on Wednesday, the House Finance Committee considers House Bill 11-1008, a measure that would reduce employee representation on the Public Employees’ Retirement Association board.

A couple of interesting education bills were introduced Friday before lawmakers headed out for the weekend.

House Bill 11-1155 would legally allow the lieutenant governor to serve as an agency director, formalizing Gov. John Hickenlooper’s plan to have Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia run the Department of Higher Education. The measure also would allow the lieutenant governor to earn a combined salary equal to the director’s salary.

Senate Bill 11-061 would eliminate one step in the current appeals process for special education students.

Also Friday, the State Board of Education held its first legislative meeting of the 2011 session. The board voted to oppose one bill.

That measure, Senate Bill 11-169, is sponsored by a former SBE member, Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster. It would require state regulation of education management organizations, such as those that operate some charter schools. The bill has raised concerns about being excessively prescriptive on districts and costly for management organization. A legislative staff fiscal analysis estimates the fee for certification at just over $20,000.

Members also expressed concerns about Senate Bill 11-079 (requiring the state’s 20 largest school districts to study outsourcing of non-academic services) and House Bill 11-1055 (giving charter schools easier access to unused district buildings) but voted just to “monitor” them for now.

What’s on tap:

(Click here for the week’s full legislative education calendar as of this morning.)

TUESDAY

The Douglas County school board is scheduled to convene at 5 p.m. at the administration building, 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock.

The Aurora school board meets at 6 p.m. at the Educational Services Center, 1085 Peoria St. Agenda

WEDNESDAY

The Metro State trustees meet in the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria campus, starting with an executive session at 8 a.m. Agenda

The Adams 12-Five Star school board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. in the Training Center at the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton.

THURSDAY

The Denver school board holds a focus on achievement session starting at 4:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St.

The Jefferson County school board meets at 6 p.m. at the district education center, 1829 Denver West Dr. Bldg 27, Golden. Agenda

FRIDAY

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education meets starting at 1 p.m. at Pickens Technical College in Aurora.

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