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Monday Churn: Hammond sole finalist

Updated 5:45 p.m. – Members of the State Board of Education announced late this afternoon that Robert Hammond, who’s been serving as commissioner of education since December, is the sole finalist for the permanent job.

The board voted 7-0 on April 21 to name Hammond and Aurora Superintendent John Barry as finalists. State law requires 14 days elapse between the naming of finalists and a selection, and that clock started running on April 21. The board could formally hire Hammond as of May 5 but is expected to do so at its May meeting next week.

In a statement today, board Chair Bob Schaffer, R-4th District, said, “Once he is named commissioner, we will need to rally around him and make him the best in the country.”

The statement quoted Schaffer and four other board members praising the process and the breadth of the applicant pool.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Elaine Gantz Berman, D-1st District was quoted as saying.

Mary Frances Nevans, secretary to the board, said the vote to name Hammond sole finalist was 7-0, with Marcia Neal, R-3rd District, making the motion and Angelika Schroeder, D-2nd District, seconding it.

Get more background on Hammond and Barry in this EdNews story.

What’s churning:

State lawmakers start their final full week of the 2011 session with the usual backlog of work on their calendars.

One key task was finished Friday when the Senate agreed to House amendments and repassed Senate Bill 11-230, the 2011-12 school finance bill. That measure cuts next year’s total program funding for schools by $227.5 million from this year’s level.

Another $67.5 milllion will be available later for distribution to school districts, but only if the state closes the 2010-11 budget year with more money than originally projected. And, if that money materializes, it will be distributed to some districts based on enrollment, at-risk students and local tax revenues, not to all districts by formula.

The clock is ticking for some education-related bills, particularly Senate bills that haven’t yet moved to the House. Among those are Senate Bill 11-052, the higher education performance funding bill, and several others up for Senate floor votes today.

See this week’s education-related legislative calendar.

Meanwhile, today is the first day that families can pick up applications to participate in Douglas County’s Choice Scholarship program, also known as vouchers. It’s also the first day that families will be able to see which private schools they’ll be able to choose from – the list will be posted today on the district website.

At least 28 private schools applied by the April 15 deadline and district officials have been working to determine which meet their criteria. Families are asked to fill out applications, also available on the website, and return them by 5 p.m. May 12. If more than 500 students apply, a lottery drawing is scheduled May 16. Families will be notified about their applications between May 17 – 20. Learn more.

What’s on tap:

TODAY

Denver Public Schools board members meet via teleconference at 7 a.m. to vote on three innovation school applications, items delayed from last Thursday’s meeting. Agenda.

Adams 14 Commerce City is hosting a community meeting to talk about planned improvements in schools in fall 2011. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Adams City High School. Details.
TUESDAY

Aurora Public Schools board members meet at 5 p.m. in closed session to talk about negotiations, then go into public meeting at 6 p.m. Agenda items include presentation of a draft copy of the 2011-12 budget. Agenda.

Douglas County school board members meet at 5 p.m. in closed session to talk about negotiations and other legal matters, then convene in public at 7:05 p.m. Agenda items include an update on the district’s choice plan. Agenda.

Adams 50 Westminster is offering another chance to talk about the district’s proposed budget plan for 2011-12, at 6 p.m. in the Westminster High School Cafeteria.

WEDNESDAY

Adams 12 Five Star school board members meet at 5:15 p.m. in informal work session, switching to regular public business at 6:30 p.m. Agenda items include discussion of a revised budget plan, given recent changes in state K-12 funding cuts. Agenda.

Adams 50 Westminster is holding a community hearing on the budget specifically for Spanish-speaking families, at 6 p.m. at the district’s Welcome Center.

THURSDAY

Jefferson County Public Schools holds a budget hearing as part of its school board meeting. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. but the board is in closed session for an hour for legal advice, and is expected to convene in public at 6 p.m. Agenda.

FRIDAY

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education meets starting at 1 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the Capitol. Agenda.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Money matters: An analysis of the billions spent on ed reform in the past decade shows some gains but gaps remain. Newsweek/Center for Public Integrity.
Parenting styles: Two strong students, two different approaches when it comes to parental pressure. Los Angeles Times.

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