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Monday Churn: One vote does matter

Updated 4:30 p.m. – Thanks to a recount today that showed its bond issue passing by one vote, the Ignacio schools have landed a state construction grant.

The final tally showed the measure passing 524 yes to 523 no, courtesy of an additional yes vote found in La Plata County. Ignacio is a low-income, 750-student district that straddles the La Plata-Archuleta County line southeast of Durango.

The La Plata vote was 462 to 419, while the Archuleta vote of 62 yes and 104 no was unchanged in the recount.

Ignacio and Englewood were alternates for Building Excellent Schools Today funding when awards were made last June. Because two BEST finalists and three other alternatives lost their tax elections, the state Capital Construction Assistance Board voted Nov. 3 to make Ignacio and Englewood finalists, even though the Ignacio vote was tied at that point.

Ignacio’s project, a total of $14.9 million in state and local funds, will renovate an existing middle school into a K-5 facility. The district’s bond issue will raise $4.7 million of the total. The recount comes just in time for the Thursday sale of the certificates of participation (a form of lease-purchase agreement) that the state uses to finance BEST projects.

Of the 43 bond issues and mill levy overrides proposed by 36 districts this year, only 12 were approved by voters, a rate of rejection not seen since the oil bust years of the late 1980s. List of all proposals, compiled by the Colorado School Finance Project.

What’s churning:

Jefferson County school board members have voted in a new president, Lesley Dahlkemper, who was elected Nov. 1. Dahlkemper replaces outgoing president Dave Thomas, who opted not to seek a second four-year term on the board governing the state’s largest school district.

Dahlkemper spoke frequently on the campaign trail about her ability to bring together different viewpoints and it’s a skill she’ll need. Jeffco, like nearly every other school district, is poised for another round of budget cuts, with an estimated $70 million needed in trims over the next two years. The district already has closed two schools, chopped two days off the school calendar and reduced all employees’ pay by 3 percent.

Other Jeffco board officers are Paula Noonan as first vice-president, Laura Boggs as second vice-president, Jill Fellman as secretary and Robin Johnson as treasurer. Fellman was also elected Nov. 1.

Denver Public Schools board members are expected to elect officers Friday at a special meeting where newly elected members Happy Haynes and Anne Rowe will be sworn in for their first four-year term. Board member Arturo Jimenez, who was re-elected by 144 votes, will be sworn in for his second term.

School boards in Adams 12 Five Star and in Adams 50 Westminster also are scheduled to swear in new members and elect officers on Thursday. Douglas County’s newest school board members – Kevin Larsen, Craig Richardson and Justin Williams – are expected to be sworn in after Thanksgiving.

Aurora‘s school board elected a new president, Mary Lewis, last week. Lewis also was sworn in for her second term and two new board members, Dan Jorgensen and Cathy Wildman, took the oath of office for their first terms. Aurora canceled board elections because the candidates were unopposed.

What’s on tap:

TODAY

The Cherry Creek School Board meets at Sagebrush Elementary School, 14700 E. Temple Place, in Aurora beginning at 7 p.m. The agenda includes the election of officers.

The Roaring Fork School District, based in Glenwood Springs and serving about 5,500 students, scheduled a special meeting and executive session this morning at 11 a.m. to consider the contract of superintendent Judy Haptonstall. School board president Matt Hamilton told the Post-Independent newspaper that the quick meeting was needed, following elections earlier this month, because “it’s not fair to anyone involved to create an unsettling environment” within the district. The question of Haptonstall’s contract immediately came up when Hamilton and two other new board members were sworn in. Haptonstall’s current contract expires in May 2013. Brief agenda here.

TUESDAY

The Aurora Public Schools Board of Education has a 6 p.m. meeting scheduled. No agenda has yet been posted.

The Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 Board of Education will consider a four-day school week when it holds a work session at 6 p.m. and a regular board meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the district administration building, 400 E. Elm St. in Cortez. Agenda.

WEDNESDAY

The Joint Budget Committee will be briefed by staff on K-12 spending for 2012-13. The session runs from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the committee hearing room on the third floor of the Legislative Services Building, 200 E. 14th Ave.

The Educational Success Task Force meets starting at 1 p.m. at the Colorado Community College System offices, 9101 E. Lowry Blvd. Agenda

The St. Vrain School District Board of Education has a 6 p.m. study session scheduled, but no agenda has yet been posted. The meeting will be held at Mead High School, 12750 County Rd. #7, in Longmont.

THURSDAY

Gov. John Hickenlooper discusses his proposed 2012-13 budget with the JBC from 11 a.m. to noon in the ground floor hearing room of the Legislative Services Building.

The Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee meets from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Lowry Conference Center, 1061 Akron Way, Building 697 in Denver. This is a state-level committee mandated by federal and state law. Members are interested in the quality of education received by children/youth with disabilities. More detail here.

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