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Wednesday Churn: CEA motion denied

Updated 2:45 p.m. – Chief Denver District Judge Robert Hyatt has denied a motion by the Colorado Education Association that he issue a preliminary injunction to suspend a contested State Board of Education rule. The regulation requires prompt notification of parents when teachers or other school employees are arrested for certain crimes.

In a 10-page ruling filed last Friday (read full text), Hyatt concluded the CEA arguments did not meet the specific legal standards for issuance of a preliminary injunction. A CEA spokesman indicated today that the union will continue to pursue its legal challenge to the rule.

The judge heard several hours of testimony and legal arguments on Sept. 23. (See this article for coverage of that hearing and background on the issue.)

Updated 11:45 a.m. – Lesley Di Mare, interim president of Nevada State College in Henderson, today was named president of Colorado State University-Pueblo on an unanimous vote of the CSU Board of Governors.

She will succeed Joe Garcia, who resigned as president after being elected lieutenant governor last year.

Di Mare joined Nevada State in 2007 as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. She previously worked as an administrator at Arizona State University West and was a speech communications faculty member at UCLA. She holds a Ph.D. in speech communications from Indiana University. (See her resume.)

See this news release for comments from CSU officials and details about the search process.

With the Pueblo post filled, the Board of Governors is expected to turn to finding a successor to Chancellor Joe Blake, who has announced his intention to leave the post.


What’s churning:

Republican legislators Tuesday sent a letter to the Capitol’s top Democrats, urging them to publicly oppose Proposition 103, the ballot measure that would raise state income and sales taxes for five years to provide extra funding for education.

“While there has been considerable speculation about whether the proposed recessionary tax hike will result in 30,000 lost jobs or 119,000 lost jobs, what is clear is that the state should not endorse any policy that will beat back a jobs recovery on any level or in any number,” read the letter.

It’s an old political gambit – trying to corner your opponent into an answer that could be troublesome no matter what the reply is. The missive went to Gov. John Hickenlooper, Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, and House Minority Leader Sal Pace, D-Pueblo. (Both Shaffer and Pace are seeking to run against incumbent GOP congressmen next year.)

Hickenlooper wasn’t about to bite. Asked if the governor would respond, press secretary Eric Brown responded, “No. The governor’s position on 103 is well known.” That position is that the governor isn’t taking a position, standing on his campaign promise that he wouldn’t seek tax hikes during his first year in office.

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, a former community college and university president, has repeatedly gone through verbal gymnastics on Prop. 103, expressing his sympathy for the idea but stopping short of an endorsement (see story).

The University of Denver’s Strategic Issues Program, which periodically weighs in on important civic issues, has issued a new report suggesting a fundamental restructuring of state government, including use of “private contractors to provide services where appropriate and to foster competition. Furthermore, the panel recommends the state focus on residents when allocating resources, rather than on institutions, a principle that is evident in the panel’s call for redefining how both K-12 and higher education are funded. The panel suggests Colorado consider allowing education dollars to follow the student, not flow directly to the school or university regardless of value or attendance.”

Among other things, the “Rethinking Colorado’s Government” report suggests college student vouchers or stipends; repeal of Amendment 23, the formula that sets state K-12 funding, and “substantial changes” in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Reports. (Read the news release here and get links to full report documents.)

The report comes on the heels of another DU study about the severe structural problems in the state’s revenue and spending system (see details).

The DU group has produced a number of thoughtful studies on state issues in recent years, including one on our messed-up state constitution. But none of the studies have prompted any action by the public, interest groups or state government.

What’s on tap:

The State Board of Education meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the boardroom at 201 E. Colfax Ave. Top agenda items include briefings on implementation of the new state content standards and proposed graduation guidelines, plus another public hearing on proposed regulations for implementation of the educator effectiveness law. Agenda

Word on the street is that members of the State Council for Educator Effectiveness, which made a detailed proposal for implementation about implementation of the evaluation system, may raise concerns about the direction of the Department of Education’s draft rules. EdNews will be at the meeting, so check later today for coverage.

Padres y Jovenes Unidos, an education advocacy group, will hold a 5 p.m. rally outside the Capitol to urge passage of legislation to reduce what the group believes is inappropriate disciplinary methods in many schools. The Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline is considering possible legislation on the topic and meets next on Oct. 18.

Critics of school discipline policies also are issuing a new report on the issue today in Washington, D.C. The panel at a National Press Club event includes Kevin Welner of the University of Colorado Boulder.

The Adams 12-Five Star school board is hosting a community conversation about education values and priorities at 7 p.m. at Thornton High School, 9351 Washington St. More