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Thursday Churn: New CSI interim chief

Updated 8:45 a.m. – Ethan Hemming, deputy executive director of the Colorado Charter School Institute and a former DPS administrator, has been named interim director of the institute.

Hemming steps in for Executive Director Mark Hyatt, who announced in August that he’d be leaving to take a job as president and CEO of the Character Education Partnership in Washington, D.C., in January.

Hemming has been deputy executive director since April. He previously worked 13 years at Denver Public Schools, including three years as deputy executive director of the Office of School Reform and Innovation, which oversees 28 charter and six innovation schools.

The state institute is the authorizer for 22 schools with 10,500 students.

What’s churning:

Democratic legislative leaders on Wednesday unveiled Senate Bill 12-001, which Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Loveland, called part of the Democrats’ “singular” focus on jobs in the 2012 legislative session.

The measure would give modest preferences in bidding for some state contracts to companies that employ certain percentages of Colorado workers and that offer health care and retirement benefits.

In recent sessions, the legislature has granted state colleges and universities significant exemptions from state purchasing, accounting and procurement rules. That’s been a tradeoff – college leaders have said they need greater freedom to manage their own affairs if the legislature keeps cutting their state funding.

The Senate prime sponsor of SB 12-001 is Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, an active voice on education issues. Asked if the proposed contracting requirements would apply to higher ed, Hudak told EdNews she wasn’t sure but would double-check.

Any efforts to impose new requirements would likely be opposed by the well-funded and influential – if sometimes fractious – higher education lobbying corps.

The Colorado Department of Education is accepting proposals for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program. Proposals are due Feb. 21, 2012. Some $6 million will be distributed with the goal of establishing or expanding community learning centers that provide students with academic enrichment opportunities along with activities designed to complement students’ regular academic program. Proposed programs must serve students that attend high poverty, low performing schools. Any public or private organization is eligible to apply for a five-year 21st CCLC grant. These include, but are not limited to, public schools, non-profit agencies, city or county government agencies, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education and for-profit corporations. Read the full request for proposals here.

What’s on tap:

Denver school board members meet at 5 p.m. at 900 Grant St. The agenda includes an enrollment update, a financial presentation and approval of new charter contracts. Agenda

Good reads from elsewhere:

Roaring Fork School District teachers and staff have weighed in — some 65 percent responded to an online survey related to the leadership of Superintendent Judy Haptonstall. According to The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the results will be compiled by a Utah consulting firm and delivered to the school board during a day-long meeting and retreat Friday. Full article

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