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Monday Churn: Looking ahead

What’s churning:

Adjournment of a legislative session typically is greeted with universal relief as lawmakers return to jobs and families, bureaucrats can get work done without Capitol distractions and lobbyists start keeping normal schedules. And lots of people go on vacation.

But the respite is usually a brief one, and thoughts quickly turn to the next legislative session. That’s what happened late last week at a meeting of the Education Leadership Council, a group of educators, officials and business leaders that advises Gov. John Hickenlooper on education policy. See list of members here.

A key item on the group’s agenda was “2013 Legislative Agenda,” and the council broke into two brainstorming groups before getting back together to compare notes.

Here are some of the issues members came up with as possible grist for the 2013 meeting of the General Assembly:

  • Tweaks to the educator effectiveness law and more funding
  • Some sort of legislation on parent involvement, possible to co-opt another parent trigger bill
  • Changes to the innovation schools law, which up to now has been used almost solely by DPS
  • More funding for preschool and full-day kindergarten
  • Another attempt to lower college tuition for undocumented students
  • Handling of schools that face state intervention after five years of priority improvement or turnaround ratings
  • Higher education admissions policies

“This is the first of many conversations we need to have,” said Christine Scanlan, Hickenlooper’s legislative policy director and a council member. She noted the administration will be talking to lots of interest groups about education policy, and the Hickenlooper’s TBD Colorado process also is expected to produce policy proposals. Get more information on that effort here.

She also noted that 2013 is not an election year, and “in off years, you tend to have more policy-based discussions.”

And since 2012 is an election year, Scanlan and others noted there will be lots of new legislators as of next January. Some estimates put that number at 30 to 40, and those folks will need a crash course in education issues.

“This will be a particularly extraordinary year with so many new people,” Scanlan said.

It’s official – Hickenlooper has signed House Bill 12-1245, the 2012-13 school finance act. Of course, there wasn’t any doubt, but the formalities have to be observed. The governor signed the bill Saturday at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds in Poncha Springs, not coincidentally the home of Republican Rep. Tom Massey, architect of this year’s funding bill. Check out our database for what the act means to individual districts.

A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce takes a look at school boards and how the business community can influence them to make boards more accountable. The report uses 13 case studies, including Denver. Read it here.

The Sewall Child Development Center has honored four people with its annual awards, including Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, former Piton Foundation CEO Mary Cronin, executive director Kim Dvorchak of the Colorado Juvenile Defense Coalition and dance instructor Debbie Stark, who works with physically handicapped artists.

What’s on tap:

High school graduation season continues, with a long list of ceremonies scheduled for Aurora, Boulder Valley, Cherry Creek, Douglas County and Jeffco schools. Check district or school websites for details.

It also looks like a busy week for reports. The National Council on Teacher Quality on Tuesday will release a study on “What Teacher Preparation Programs Teach About K-12 Assessment,” and the Annie E. Casey Foundation on Wednesday releases a national report on children living in kinship families.


The Boulder Valley school board has a 6 p.m. meeting scheduled at the Education Center, 6500 E. Arapahoe Road in Boulder.

DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg will be hopscotching around the district as the school year nears its end, visiting a newcomers’ kindergarten class at Place Bridge Academy on Wednesday and dropping in on classes at Merrill Middle School, Fairmont Dual Language Immersion Academy and Westerly Creek Elementary on Thursday.

The state Capital Construction Assistance Board meets 1-3:30 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch High School, 4800 Telluride St., Building 2, Denver.

The Adams 12-Five Star board has a meeting scheduled at 7 p.m. in the Training Center at the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave., Thornton.

The Poudre school board has a 7 p.m. study session scheduled at the Educational Services Center, 395 South Pratt Parkway, Longmont.


Douglas County School District and its teachers union are slated for another day of public negotiations, from 4 p.m. to midnight at district headquarters, 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock. Another five days of open negotiations kick off June 4. More info.


Denver Public Schools board members are scheduled for a 2 p.m. retreat. No indication of location yet or agenda, but the info should be posted here when available.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Common Core debate: Speaking to a meeting of the Education Writers Association, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell defended the Common Core Standards against the current chatter that they’re a federal conspiracy to impose uniformity on the states. There’s been some of that expressed by a few Colorado Republican officials. Stateline has the details.

More for public college leaders: Median compensation for public college heads grew 3 percent in 2010-11, according to a survey by The Chronicle for Higher Education. Three public college leaders earned more than $1 million, according to this New York Times report. Median total compensation of all 199 public college presidents surveyed was $421,395.

Texas tuition tussle: The Texas university regents have rejected a resident tuition increase proposed by UT-Austin Chancellor William Powers, and Gov. Rick Perry also weighed in against the hike. The Wall Street Journal has the story. A similar mini-drama played out this spring with the CU Regents, who resisted initial administration proposals but ultimately approved a smaller resident tuition hike.

The EdNews’ Churn is a roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education, published during the summer as news warrants. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at

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