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Wednesday Churn: A look inside CU

What’s churning:

Financial transparency has been a popular buzzword in the corridors of state government for years now. The call for greater disclosure of – and easier access to – government financial records started with Republicans, but nowadays you won’t find a legislator who doesn’t say transparency is a good idea.

Over the last four years, the legislature has passed laws requiring greater transparency by state government and school districts, and a measure pending this year, House Bill 12-1252, would impose similar requirements on state colleges and universities.

The University of Colorado System, which came in for criticism during a committee hearing on HB 12-1252, recently unveiled a new website called the “Accountability Data Center.” Board of Regents Chair Kyle Hybl touted the site as providing “our constituents with one website where they can review budget, academic and general information about the operations of the entire CU system.”

The site, in the works since last fall, does make it easier to access information that was already available, but not necessarily easy to find, on the system’s multiple websites. A lot of the information is contained in PDFs and spreadsheets. But there are some searchable areas, including staff salaries (no names) and the results of student surveys about individual classes and instructors. Go here to surf around the new site.

Transparency bills usually are greeted with a “Yes, but” response from the targeted agencies, the “but” meaning it will cost money to comply. Those same worries have been raised about this year’s higher ed transparency bill, and it still has some hoops to jump through before it becomes law. Read the current version of the bill here.

School districts were required to post financial information online by a 2010 law. It sometimes takes some clicking around a district’s site to find the right link. For an example of what one district has done, check the Adams 12-Five Star transparency section.

To see how state government has responded to its disclosure mandate, check out the State Transparency Online Project.

What’s on tap:

Adams 12 Five Star board members meet at 5:15 p.m. today at 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton. Agenda items include a discussion of the 2012-13 budget.

The Colorado Legacy Foundation today holds its daylong Healthy Schools Summit, including a discussion on “Reversing the Childhood Obesity Epidemic” by Dr. James Marks, director of the Health Group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. More info.

Good reads from elsewhere

Pointing fingers: The president of the Pueblo City school board responds to concerns the district isn’t doing enough to improve student achievement in this column in the Pueblo Chieftain.

Mayoral endorsement: Fox 31 News reports that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is supporting an early literacy bill that’s drawn some criticism as the measure works its way through the General Assembly.

Dallas news: The Dallas Morning News has most stories behind a pay wall but you can catch the video of Harrison Schools Superintendent Mike Miles’ first press conference as the lone finalist to run the Dallas school district on this blog post, which includes a brief description about why one board member abstained from voting for Miles. Also, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports on Tuesday night’s school board meeting in Harrison.

Learn more, live longer: Americans are living longer but those with more education are living the longest, according to a study highlighted in The New York Times. The article includes an interactive graphic that allows readers to see how counties within their states rank – in Colorado, Pitkin and Douglas counties top the list while Denver ranks 45th of the 59 counties ranked.

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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