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Sheridan schools going to voters

School board members in Sheridan, the small district southwest of Denver, will ask voters to approve a $6.5 million bond to build a school serving grades 3-8.

If voters agree, the district will receive a $23 million matching grant through the state’s Building Excellent Schools Today or BEST program. Board members at Tuesday night’s meeting unanimously approved the question for the Nov. 6 ballot.

“I hope Sheridan voters voters see that currently we are spending far too much from the general fund to keep two old buildings in good working condition,” Superintendent Michael Clough said in a news release. “The state recognizes Sheridan’s needs and has generously offered to pay for the vast majority of the effort to rebuild this key part of our community’s infrastructure.”

It will be Sheridan’s second attempt in two years to pass a bond issue. Sheridan voters in 2011 said no, leaving a $23 million state matching grant on the table.

Sheridan is among the recipients of the federal School Improvement Grants program and its leaders have implemented a range of reforms.

→ A national report on chronic absenteeism released today is based on in-depth interviews with more than 500 teens in 25 cities, including Denver.

The report, Skipping to Nowhere, found those interviewed were often unaware that skipping even a few days of school can dramatically affect their grades and their chances of going to college.

It also found that students say their parents could have a big impact on improving their attendance but, for the most part, their parents don’t often know when they cut class.

The report sought to find out why students skip, and the number one response: School is boring. The top other reasons given: I don’t like my classes or subjects, it’s more fun to spend time with friends and school starts too early.

Most students who skip said they still expect to attend college after graduation, though other research shows student achievements suffers after only five absences. And students who miss more than 10 days of school are more than 20 percent less likely to graduate form high school and 25 percent less likely to enroll in college.

So what would make skippers more likely to attend school? The no. 1 response: If I could see a clear connection between the classes I take and the job I want. The top other responses: If I knew that skipping meant I’m less likely to get into and graduate from college; if classes involved more hands-on activities; and if I had a teacher who cares about me and wants to see me do well in school.

The report is from the Get Schooled Foundation, which includes a number of resources to help educators and students. For example, students can go to the website and sign up for a wake-up call from a celebrity such as Chris Rock or Nicki Minaj.

→ Gov. John Hickenlooper has made two appointments to the state Capital Construction Assistance Board, which administers the Building Excellent Schools Today or BEST construction grants program.

Pete Jefferson, who fills a seat designated for a engineer with schools experience, has been reappointed. John Conklin has been appointed to fill the position for an architect with schools experience. Conklin’s appointment fills the last vacant seat on the nine-member board, which is made up of appointees of the governor, State Board of Education and certain legislative leaders.

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