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Monday Churn: Ballots and budget

What’s churning:

State schools and colleges will learn Tuesday how much they may have to tighten their belts in the 2012-13 school year, and some school districts also will learn that evening how their voters feel about proposed tax increases.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposed 2012-13 budget will be released at 1 p.m. Tuesday, the day that it’s due to the legislative Joint Budget Committee.

School district and college leaders have long expected that cuts were a foregone conclusion. But there’s some recent statehouse speculation that proposed K-12 cuts could be in the $100-$200 million range instead of the $200-$300 million that has been bandied about. The cut would be off the approximately $5.2 billion in state and local funds that districts are receiving this year for basic operations.

State support for public colleges and universities is about $519 million this year, about $125 million below the 2010-11 budget. Word is that Hickenlooper will propose a cut for 2012-13 but that it won’t be as large as the one imposed for the current budget. But it’s also expected that state funding for financial aid and work study, about $100 million this year, will be cut.

Direct state support to colleges and universities now provides only about a quarter of their revenues; the rest is provided by ever-increasing tuition.

The governor’s budget is kind of an opening shot. Next year’s budget won’t be finished up until April or May, after two more revenue forecasts have been issued and the legislature has approved the document.

The education budget equation will change dramatically if Proposition 103 passes Tuesday. It would provide extra funding for all levels of public education by raising state income and sales tax rates.

If voters approve Prop. 103 – most political observers don’t think that will happen – the 2012 legislature could have as much as $512 million in extra revenue to spend on schools and colleges in both the current budget year and in 2012-13.

Kristin Donley, a science teacher at Monarch High School in the Boulder Valley district, has been named 2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year.

Donley got the surprise announcement during an all-school assembly Friday attended by education Commissioner Robert Hammond and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-2nd District. The ostensible reason for the assembly was for state officials to honor the school’s one-to-one computer program, which ensures every student has access to a laptop.

According to a Colorado Department of Education news release, Donley has taught physical science, chemistry and biology at Monarch for 10 years and also has established a peer science mentorship program for elementary and middle school students. In addition, she is a district curriculum coordinator.

What’s on tap:

Students at Colorado community and local district colleges this week will have the opportunity to get advice on how to move on to four-year schools. The “4 Year 4 You” program provides information about programs available for students to transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions.

During a statewide tour this week, volunteers will talk with students about guaranteed admissions to four-year schools, dual enrollment and other transfer programs.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday – Colorado Northwestern Community College,
7:30-9:30 a.m. and Colorado Mountain College
in Edwards,
1:30-3 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Trinidad Junior College,
8-9:30 a.m.; Lamar Community College, noon-2 p.m., and Otero Junior College,
4-5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday – Pueblo Community College, 8-9:30 a.m.; Pikes Peak Community College,
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Arapahoe Community College,
2:15-3:45 p.m., and Red Rocks Community College, 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday – Community College of Aurora,
8-9:30 a.m.; Front Range Community College,
11 a.m.-1 p.m., and Community College of Denver,
2-3:30 p.m.
  • Friday – Northeastern Junior College,
8-9:30 a.m.; Aims Community College,
10 a.m.-noon, and Morgan Community College
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

The initiative was organized by CU Regent Stephen Ludwig and is supported by College in Colorado, the Community College System and the Public Education & Business Coalition.

TODAY

It’s the last campaign finance-reporting deadline for committees supporting and opposing Proposition 103.

TUESDAY

Election Day

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposed 2012-13 state budget will be released at 1 p.m.

Douglas County school board members are scheduled for a brief public meeting from 5:50 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the district administration building, 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock. Agenda

WEDNESDAY

The Adams 12-Five Star board has a meeting set for 7 p.m. at the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton. Agenda

THURSDAY

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education meets starting at 10 a.m. at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton. Expect the governor’s proposed budget to be a topic of discussion.

The Boulder Valley school board has a special meeting set for noon at 6500 Arapahoe in Boulder.

The Denver school board’s calendar lists a “Focus on Achievement” session scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. Agenda

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