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Tuesday Churn: Coming attractions

What’s churning:

Having packed the 2011-12 budget package off to the House, the Senate is free to turn to other business, which has been building up on its calendar.

Two of the 74 items on today’s floor calendar are Senate Bill 11-126, which would make undocumented students eligible for a form of resident tuition, and Senate Bill 11-052, which would tie 25 percent of state higher ed support to institutional performance on negotiated goals, starting in 2016-17. Get background on SB 11-126 here and details on SB 11-152 here.

Supporters of what’s called the ASSET bill believe they can get SB 11-126 out of the Senate this year, but the proposal has been on hold while sponsors looked for support in the House, where Republicans have a one-vote majority.

Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, said Monday talks are continuing with House members who are “on the fence,” and that the bill could come up for Senate debate this week, perhaps Friday.

The performance-funding measure has been on ice because of ongoing discussions between higher ed lobbyists and sponsor Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder. Talks have revolved around adding a “trigger” in the bill – a minimum level of state support that would have to be reached before performance funding would kick in. Heath has plenty on his plate – he’s also a major player on the volatile issue of congressional redistricting, the other big assignment, along with the budget, that lawmakers needs to complete this year.

Although it doesn’t have a position on the performance-funding bill, the Department of Higher Education has been actively involved in the talks. Conversations are continuing this week, and one source said it’s possible there will be Senate floor debate this week. Bills are routinely delayed – or “laid over” – every day, so even though the two measures are on today’s calendar, that doesn’t mean they have to be heard.

What’s on tap:

The Aurora school board will hold a special meeting starting at 6 p.m. at district headquarters, 1085 Peoria St. Agenda


The Jeffco schools will hold public budget forums at three district high schools from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The meetings will be at Ralston Valley, Alameda and Columbine high schools. Details

Good reads from elsewhere:

In case you missed it: This Sunday magazine cover story showcases a principal bent on improving his neighborhood middle school. The New York Times.

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