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Thursday Churn: Legislative preseason

What’s churning:

Just like a sports team, the Colorado legislature has a preseason and dates recently have fallen into place for key meetings and deadlines leading up to the Jan.11 opening of the 2012 legislative session.

Here’s a schedule of education-related milestones to watch for in the coming weeks:

Oct. 18 – The Legislative Task Force to study School Discipline has its final meeting and will discuss a draft bill that would overhaul state laws and expulsion, suspension and other disciplinary measures. Read draft

Oct. 25 – The Educational Success Task Force, another legislator/citizen study group, holds its last meeting to discuss possible 2012 legislation. One idea that’s on the table is adding the Accuplacer to the tests taken by state high school students. Read recent story

Nov. 1 – It’s the deadline for Gov. John Hickenlooper to submit his 2012-13 budget proposal to the Joint Budget Committee. There’s already been chatter that he may suggest cutting $200-$300 million from K-12 spending and up to $100 million from higher ed.

Nov. 8 – Legislative Council, a body of legislative leaders, meets to review proposals by interim study committees, including the two education-related panels.

Nov. 16 – The JBC gets briefed on 2012-13 school finance.

Nov. 17 – Hickenlooper is scheduled to discuss in budget plan with the JBC in person.

Dec. 1 – The JBC will receive a two-hour briefing from staff on Department of Education spending for 2012-13 (not including school finance). It’s also deadline day for legislators to request three of the five bills each is allowed to introduce in 2012.

Dec. 2 – The budget committee gets a three-hour briefing on the Department of Higher Education budget.

Dec. 16 – CDE has its hearing before the JBC. (Department leaders get to make their funding pitch and answer questions committee members came up with at the Nov. 16 and Dec. 1 hearings.)

Dec. 19 – The JBC sits through a daylong hearing on the Department of Higher Education’s budget. (This is a drawn-out affair because top brass from every college and higher ed system get to make a pitch.)

Dec. 20 – The quarterly state revenue forecasts will be issued by legislative and executive branch economists, refining the financial picture for the JBC’s work.

Jan. 11, 2012 – Opening day of the regular season – the legislature convenes.

If you missed the More From Our Schools forum Tuesday evening, go here for links to MP3 audio files from the event.

Event panelists includes former Milwaukee superintendent Howard Fuller, now director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, CU Boulder education Dean Lorrie Shepard and Paul Hill, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education. PBS education reporter John Merrow moderated.

What’s on tap:

Jefferson County school board candidates meet at 7:30 p.m. for a forum hosted by the American Association of University Women, Lakewood branch. It’s at Holy Shepherd Church, 920 Kipling St. in Lakewood.

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