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Tuesday Churn: No change in RE-1

What’s churning:

Roaring Fork Superintendent Judy Haptonstall remains on the job following a special board meeting Monday in Glenwood Springs. The meeting included an hour of public comment and a closed-door “executive session.”

The board intends to issue a formal public statement about “next steps” today but Re-1 Board President Matt Hamilton told the Post-Independent newspaper that the conversation with Haptonstall was “productive.” Hamilton and two other new board members had been critical of how Haptonstall handled a principal dismissal last spring. One Colorado Department of Education official spoke positively about Haptonstall’s work. More.

The Walton Family Foundation this morning will announce a $25 million grant to the KIPP Foundation with the goal of doubling the number of students who attend KIPP charter schools around the country over the next four years.

Denver is home to three KIPP schools: KIPP Denver Collegiate High School at 451 S. Tejon St., KIPP Montbello College Prep at 5290 Kittredge St. and KIPP Sunshine Peak at 375 S. Tejon St.

KIPP’s national network of 109 public charter schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia serves 32,000 students. Watch the Walton Family Foundation website for more details. And check the KIPP site for a complete list of schools around the country.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a “Twitter Town Hall” Monday afternoon, taking questions from PBS NewsHour reporter John Merrow about a range of topics including No Child Left Behind waivers, early childhood education, teacher evaluation, upcoming Race to the Top process for preschools, the innovation fund, test cheating scandals, teacher pay and recruitment, and comparisons with educational approaches in other countries. Duncan cited South Korea, Singapore and Finland. The video is archived here.

Stand for Colorado’s Kayla McGannon posted a national commentary on the Education Week web site this week, focusing on the Denver school board elections. The piece, “Reform Is Not a Dirty Word,” is due in this week’s print edition. “If the impact of Denver’s school board elections was a litmus test of any sort, it showed that reform is no longer a dirty word, whether that label comes by word or deed,” writes McGannon. Full column.

The National Council on Teacher Quality released a study yesterday reporting that a survey of 74 large urban school districts laid off far fewer teachers than expected this school year. The NCTQ study showed districts “took measures other than laying off teachers to reduce budget gaps.” Still, the council found, 9,545 teachers were laid off, approximately 2.5 percent of the teaching force. Half of the districts reported no layoffs. Full report here.

In case you missed it: Thanks to a recount Monday 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 on tap:

The Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 Board of Education will consider a four-day school week when it meets tonight at 6 p.m. in a work session, followed by a regular board meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the district administration building, 400 E. Elm St. in Cortez. An increasing number of smaller Colorado districts have moved to four-day weeks in response to budget cuts. Agenda.

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