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This week’s teaching & learning tidbits

Colorado Springs fee-to-ride school bus plan backfires

COLORADO SPRINGS- Schools in Colorado Springs have hit a roadblock in their plans to charge students $1 each time they ride the bus — not enough students are signing up for rides.

The Falcon District 49 school board voted earlier this year to switch to a fee-for-service operation this fall after the state cut funding. Check out this CBS4 news report.

High school seniors’ geography scores don’t improve

High school seniors’ scores on a national geography assessment showed no improvement between 2001 and 2010, and scores have declined from 1994 levels, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Read more in U.S. News & World Report.

School mails home political flyer in back-to school packets

BRIGHTON – Parents of Prairie View High School students in Brighton got a concerning flyer in their back to school information packets this year.

“Education specific funding being used to push a political agenda — that’s not appropriate,” said concerned parent Stacy Petty. It was a flyer with state Sen. Rollie Heath’s ballot proposal. Watch the 7NEWS report.

Denver schools urged to put more disabled kids in regular settings

A local advocacy group has released a report claiming Denver Public Schools still doesn’t do enough to serve disabled children inclusively.

“We’ve really seen a trend, and it’s not new, but it’s a backward trend,” said Advocacy Denver’s executive director, Aileen McGinley, who helped write the report. “DPS has been good at agreeing to listen, but we have concerns about their priorities.” Read the Denver Post story.

Dougco moves ahead with voucher charter

CASTLE ROCK – As expected, Douglas County school board members on Tuesday gave the final nod of approval to a charter school that will serve as the administrative home of students with vouchers.

School board members voted unanimously June 27 to create the Choice Scholarship School but made that approval contingent upon a review of its charter school application by the district’s accountability committee. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Federal complaint filed against vouchers

A state advocacy group for the disabled is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Douglas County’s voucher pilot, alleging it discriminates against children with special needs.

The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People filed the complaint Monday with the department’s Civil Rights Division, citing violations of federal laws governing the treatment of students with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read all about Dougco voucher issues at EdNews Colorado.


Boulder Valley’s preschool expansion aims to fill gaps

Amy Baggett wanted her 3-year-old twin boys to attend the same preschool at Louisville’s Fireside Elementary School as her older son, but their family of six didn’t qualify for tuition-free spots through the state’s Colorado Preschool Program.

Now she’s waiting to find out if they will qualify for a scholarship that will help with the $700 cost for two spots in the half-day, four day-a-week program. If not, she said, it’s unlikely preschool will happen at all this year. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Aurora schools bond program saves $29 million for extra projects

Thanks to careful financial management and a competitive construction market, Aurora Public Schools’ bond program is under budget by millions of dollars.

As a result, the APS Long Range Facilities Advisory Committee—comprised of APS staff, community members and local government representatives—met last spring to review and prioritize facility needs. Based on the LRFAC recommendations, the APS Board of Education recently approved $29 million from the bond savings for additional construction and technology projects.

About half of the construction funding will be spent to expand four APS elementary schools that are currently over capacity due to student enrollment growth.

New construction projects will include:

  • A whole building remodel for Tollgate Elementary
  • A two-classroom addition for Kenton, Sixth Avenue, and Side Creek elementary schools
  • A new kitchen at Virginia Court Elementary
  • Roof repairs at eight schools
  • Repair projects at five schools
  • Energy efficiency projects at APS elementary, middle and high schools

Colorado parents look for alternatives for day camps

SILVERTHORNE – Parents in the Summit School District are scrambling to find alternatives after the district closed down its day camps.

Day camps at Frisco Elementary, Silverthorne Elementary and Summit Cove Elementary all closed. The program included before-school, after-school and summer care. Camps at Dillon Valley and Upper Blue elementary schools closed in the last few years before that. Read more in the Denver Post.

School tax measure has half needed signatures

DENVER – State Sen. Rollie Heath says more than 65,000 signatures have been collected for a ballot proposal that would increase taxes to raise more money for Colorado schools.

The Democratic lawmaker said Thursday that the campaign is halfway toward its goal of gathering 125,000 signatures on petitions. A total of 86,000 signatures from registered voters is needed by Aug. 1 to place the measure on the November ballot. Check out this 7NEWS report.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.