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Wednesday Churn: Budget speakouts

What’s churning:

If you want to learn more about pending K-12 budget cuts in 2011-12 – or express your opinion about them – Democratic lawmakers are offering plenty of opportunities.

A set of 12 town hall meetings around the state is scheduled for Saturday (see list – Greeley meeting time has been changed to 9 a.m.), and a big new meeting was announced on Tuesday.

The Senate Education Committee will hold a three-hour hearing on Thursday, March 24 to take testimony on the potential effects of school budget cuts. The session will start at 2 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers, the Capitol’s largest meeting room.

Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins and chair of Senate Ed, wrote Tuesday, “This will be one of the first efforts to tell the media and the public of the precarious state of education in Colorado.”

Democratic plans to cut K-12 by less than the $332 million proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper may become clearer next week, after the Friday release of quarterly state revenue forecasts.

While budget hand-wringing has been largely a Democratic preoccupation to date, Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, hinted to reporters Monday that broader discussions are underway.

“I had an interesting conversation with the speaker,” he said, adding only that conversations involve the size of the state reserve next year and creation of a state rainy-day fund.

Democrats are eying a smaller 2011-12 reserve as a way to reduce education cuts, while creation of a state rainy-day fund has been a priority for some Republicans. “The speaker,” of course, is House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch.

What’s on tap:

The University of Colorado Board of Regents holds a special meeting at 10 a.m. at 1800 Grant St., Astronauts Conference Room, 8th floor. The meeting starts with an executive session, apparently involving a real estate matter at the Anschutz Medical Center. Agenda

The Adams 12-Five Star board meets starting at 5 p.m., Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton. Agenda

The St. Vrain school board holds a study session at 6 p.m. in the Erie High School Commons, 3180 County Road 5, Erie. Agenda

Good reads from elsewhere:

Status check: U.S. urged to raise teachers’ status. New York Times.

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