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Friday Churn: Higher ed whiplash

What’s churning:

Rising tuition rates haven’t been able to compensate for both declining state support and growing college enrollment, according to a national study issued today by the Boulder-based State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

The group’s annual State Education Finance report found that tax support of public higher education dropped about $1.3 billion from 2008 to 2011, now totaling about $87.5 billion.

Over the same period, tuition revenue grew from $42.2 billion to $56.3 billion, and enrollment jumped 12.5 percent.

Here’s the report’s bottom line, in terms of national averages per student:

  • Adjusted for inflation, total educational revenues – net tuition plus state and local funding – per student dropped by 5.7 percent from $11,733 in 2008 to $11,064 in 2011.
  • State and local support per student fell to $6,290 in 2011 dollars, the lowest level in the 25 years of this study.
  • Net tuition revenues per student reached $4,774 in 2011, an all-time high.
  • Over the past 25 years, the percentage of educational revenues supported by tuition has climbed steadily from 23.2 percent in 1986 to 43.3 percent in 2011.

Read the news release, see the full report and see a chart showing Colorado annual figures since 1986.

Names in the news:

Lakewood High School Principal Ron Castagna has been named Colorado’s 2012 High School Principal of the Year while Longmont’s Altona Middle School Principal Joe Mehsling is the state 2012 Middle School Principal of the Year. The awards from the Colorado Association of School Executives makes both school leaders eligible for the National Principal of the Year contests, which will be announced later this year.

Judy Near, a health technician in the Canon City School District, was recently named the National Education Association’s 2012 Education Support Person of the Year. Near has worked at Skyline Elementary School for 27 years, working directly with the school nurse and monitoring student health via screenings.

Allen Smith, executive director of the Denver Summit Schools Network, which encompasses the reform efforts at schools in Far Northeast Denver, is a finalist for a superintendent’s job in Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish, according to a Thursday report in The Advocate.

What’s on tap:

Two events scheduled Monday focus on school finance, appropriate for the day the latest state revenue forecast will be issued:

  • From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: Education and the Courts, part of CU-Denver’s Center for Education Policy Analysis series, is an hour-long talk beginning at 11:45 a.m. at 1380 Lawrence St. Joshua Dunn, an associate professor at CU-Colorado Springs and a regular contributor to Education Next, will provide an overview of the relationship between courts and education with a focus on school finance litigation.
  • A panel discussion on school funding options is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at The University Club, 1673 Sherman St. in Denver. Panelists are scheduled to include national experts, such as Eric Hanushek of Stanford and Marguerite Roza of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and state figures such as Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Pink slime: 9News has a report on whether the state’s largest school districts plan to use “pink slime” – meat filler treated with ammonia. DPS, Jeffco, Dougco and Cherry Creek are among the districts saying no. If you haven’t heard of this issue, EdNews’ own Julie Poppen blogged about it.

Bond issue: Cherry Creek School District leaders are considering asking voters to approve a $125 million bond issue in November, according to this report in the Aurora Sentinel.

Yearbook controversy: Students at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs District 11 say a teacher’s issue with the inclusion of a photo depicting a lesbian couple holding hands is behind a yearbook dispute, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

English language learners: A new study from Vanderbilt University appears to show students who complete English as a Second Language or bilingual education programs within three years fare better in meeting basic reading and math proficiency standards than students who take more than five years to exit those programs. Summary, links to study.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at EdNews@EdNewsColorado.org.

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