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This week's teaching & learning tidbits

LATEST BUDGET NEWS

As cuts continue in D-11, school closures could return

School closures and realignments may not be over in Colorado Springs School District 11, but there won’t be any for this year. Despite having to make $13 million in cuts to the 2011-12 budget, officials promised not to close schools. Read more in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Jeffco latest to announce cuts

GOLDEN – Colorado’s largest school district announced plans Friday to close two schools, cut all employees’ pay by 3 percent and trim two days from the school year in the face of nearly $40 million in cuts for 2011-12.

Jefferson County Public Schools’ budget proposal also includes charging students to ride school buses, reducing graduation requirements by a single credit and suspending a popular outdoor lab program that’s been a rite of passage for sixth-graders since 1962. Read more in Education News Colorado.

Aguilar school facing $224,000 in cuts

Members of the administration, teaching staff and part of the school board for Aguilar School District Re-6 met Monday evening to discuss potential budget cuts for the coming year in areas that include administration, instruction, transportation, athletics and the district’s vocation-technical automotive program.

The district has about $224,000 to cut from its $1,336,895 total program funding for the following year, with $163,398.74 expected in the form of state funding cuts and about $61,000 in debt from transportation-related penalties from the Colorado Department of Education. Read more in the Trinidad Times.

Community raises $500,000 to save two schools

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. – A community group has raised $500,000 to save two elementary schools in Grand County. The East Grand County School District has a projected $1 million shortfall because of state budget cuts. Watch 7NEWS.

Adams 12 releases budget plan

THORNTON – Adams 12 Five Star Superintendent Chris Gdowski announced plans Wednesday to cut 180 jobs, including 94 classroom teachers, for 2011-12 and to ask remaining employees to pay more in medical and pension costs as the state’s fifth-largest district tries to close a $30 million budget gap. Read more in Education News Colorado.

Parents protest Adams 12 Schools’ budget cuts

Hundreds of families turned out for a candlelight vigil in front of Adams 12 Five Star Schools Wednesday. The group said they were mourning the educational losses for their children in the district, and protesting the state cuts to education. Watch Fox 31.

D-49 ideas for change include 4-day week, more technology

A four-day week for most students, a shift from books and papers to online tools and exit exams were among the ideas presented Wednesday night at the third innovation convention in Falcon School District 49. Read more in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

New measures emerge in Aurora’s bid to balance budget

The Aurora Public Schools Board of Education took another step toward finalizing cuts for the coming school year during its meeting Tuesday, offering staff guidance in the form of a list of specific reductions. Increased class sizes, mandatory furlough days, wage freezes, increased health care costs for employees and reductions equaling about 23 teacher coach positions are all on the table. Read more in the Aurora Sentinel.

Parents hand-deliver worries about school budget cuts to lawmakers

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) and other state lawmakers each got a special delivery on Monday. A group of concerned parents wrote them a letter, hundreds of pages long, with hopes of convincing the governor not to cut millions from schools as a way to balance the state budget. Watch more on 9News.

60 MINUTES profiles school paying teachers big bucks

The principal of a new experimental charter school where well-paid teachers cannot get tenure and, unlike in unionized public schools, can be fired easily if they don’t measure up, says he shouldn’t keep his job either if his students’ test scores don’t improve in the first four years. Zeke Vanderhoek, founder of The Equity Project charter school in New York City, spoke to Katie Couric for a 60 MINUTES story that explores the raging issue of unions and tenure in education.

One of the reasons teachers want to work at The Equity Project without a union contract or tenure is the salary – $125,000 per year. It’s among the highest pay for teachers in the U.S. and the big idea behind the school.

“If you want to attract and retain talent, you have to pay for it,” says Vanderhoek, who attracted hundreds of applicants with that salary, from which he hired a small fraction. Watch 60 MINUTES.

Cherry Creek eyes stimulus cash for iPod language program

Speech pathologists from the Cherry Creek School District could soon draw on 100 new wireless devices to address language disabilities in students from all grade levels. Read more in the Aurora Sentinel.

Florida set to replace teacher tenure with merit pay

Florida lawmakers gave final legislative approval on Wednesday to a bill aimed at replacing teacher tenure with a merit-based system, in the latest clash between a U.S. state government and public employee unions. Read more in Reuters.

Dougco parents clamor for private school vouchers

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. – Now that Douglas County Schools have approved a plan to let students use public funds to pay for private school tuition, the phone are ringing off the hook with parents wanting first dibs, a school spokeswoman said. Watch more on 7NEWS.

Thompson students gearing up for annual CSAP exams

Today, Lucile Erwin Middle School students are wearing red to get red-y to take their annual assessment tests over the next two weeks. Tuesday, they’ll come in with crazy hair, followed by a team jersey the next day. Read more in the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

Concurrent enrollment smooths high schoolers’ path to college

In evolving attempts to smooth the path to college, the number of students enrolled in college classes concurrent with their high school studies is growing. Read more in the Denver Post.

Obama: Rewrite No Child law before next school year

President Obama asked Congress on Monday to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law by fall, escalating the urgency of his campaign for an overhaul of public education. Read more in the Washington Post.

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