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Monday Churn: School finance passes

Updated 11:45 a.m. – The Colorado House this morning gave unanimous preliminary approval to House Bill 12-1345, the 2012-13 school finance act, which proposes to hold per-pupil K-12 funding stable for the first time in several years.

Movement of the bill also signals that agreement apparently has been reached on amendments to House Bill 12-1238, the contentious early childhood literacy bill. Rep. Tom Massey, sponsor of both the school finance and literacy measures, had been holding the funding bill until he got a sense of what the Senate might do with the literacy bill.

Negotiators met Friday and this morning to work on the literacy measure, and sources said the talks went well. The bill is scheduled in the Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Legislators hailed the school funding bill for keeping combined state and local K-12 funding stable next year, in contrast to the cuts of recent years. But the measure doesn’t mean that districts won’t have to make cuts in their budgets next year. Individual district changes in enrollment and other factors, plus rising costs, will require many districts to trim spending.

What’s churning:

After weeks of lingering on the Senate calendar while backers tried to build support, Senate Bill 12-015 has a hearing in the House Education Committee at 1:30 p.m.

The measure, known as the ASSET bill, would create a special category of college tuition for undocumented students who are graduates of Colorado high schools and meet other requirements, such as applying for legal status. The tuition rates would be higher than current resident undergraduate charges but below expensive non-resident rates. Individual colleges could decide whether to offer the rate.

A similar measure died in House Education last year. But the 2012 version looks like it has a better chance. Chair Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, has signaled his support, and his support could get the measure out of the seven-Republican, six-Democrat committee.

If it passes, the bill still would have to go to the Appropriations Committee in the Republican-controlled House.

The hearing will be in the Old Supreme Court Chamber, the Capitol’s largest hearing room, and last week Massey warned colleagues, “I would plan to make dinner arrangements and plan to be here late.” Nearly 50 witnesses testified during last year’s House Ed hearing.

The ASSET bill is the last item on a four-bill agenda. EdNews will be covering the hearing and providing Twitter and Facebook updates. You can listen to the meeting through the link on this page.

What’s on tap:

Check here for this week’s schedule of education-related legislative meetings.

TUESDAY

What Matters & What Counts in Education holds its monthly forum with Erin Reilly, managing director for Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism. The topic is, Shall we PLAY? – a reference to one of Reilly’s current projects, PLAY!, a new approach to learning that refers to the value of play as a guiding principle in the educational process both in informal and formal spaces. The theme for this year’s talks is creativity in education: how do we produce students able to think critically, and be thoughtful and creative? Learn more.

The Donnell-Kay Foundation hosts day 2 of its annual blended learning summit, with an emphasis on on professional development, teacher certification and district support of blended learning. Florida Virtual School’s Chief Learning Officer Felicia Ryerson will kick off the day. It runs from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the University of Colorado-Denver and is available live via webinar. Learn more.

President Obama visits CU-Boulder to campaign for Congress to block scheduled interest rate hikes for the Stafford student loan program. The speech is part of a swing this week that also includes campuses in North Carolina and Iowa. The president speaks at 6:30 p.m. at the Coors Events Center. Public tickets are available beginning at noon Monday at the events center box office in Boulder. Get background on the loan interest rate controversy in this SFGate.com article.

WEDNESDAY

Douglas County district and union leaders meet for a second day of public negotiations as they work toward a contract for 2012-13. The meeting runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at district headquarters, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock. Learn more.

Gov. Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Garcia will speak at a 10 a.m. Colorado Legacy Foundation event to announce the Colorado Legacy Schools Program funded by the National Math and Science Initiative. The event is in the Capitol’s west foyer.

The state Capital Construction Assistance Board meets at 1 p.m. at 201 E. Colfax Ave., room 101.

THURSDAY

Jefferson County school board members meet for a study session at 5 p.m. at district headquarters, 1829 Denver West Drive in Golden. The agenda includes a discussion with Edgewater city leaders and a legislative update.

FRIDAY

The State Board of Education convenes at 2 p.m. at 201 E. Colfax Ave. for its monthly special meeting to discuss pending legislation.

SATURDAY

Jefferson County school board members host community conversations at five schools across the Jeffco school district. It’s billed as a chance for parents to weigh in on the future of the district. The meetings run from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at these schools: Bear Creek High School, Dakota Ridge High School, Evergreen Middle School, Pomona High School and Wheat Ridge High School.

A good read from elsewhere:

College remediation: College students who combine remedial work with regular classes for credit have a better shot at graduation than do entering students who take only remedial classes, according to a new report by Complete College America. The Chronicle of Higher Education has the details. A measure pending in the Colorado legislature, House Bill 12-1155, would build more flexibility in the state’s remedial system and allow such a combination system.

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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