Colorado

Election Data Center 2010

The 2010 elections have ended with good news for education on the financial front, a business-oriented Democratic governor, a brand new look for the legislature and apparent stability on the State Board of Education and the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

The highlights were defeat of tax-cutting amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 and voter support in many districts for bond issues and tax override proposals.

The outlook for education and budget issues at the Capitol won’t become clearer until new Gov. John Hickenlooper and new legislative leaders, especially majority Republicans in the House, start fleshing out their programs.

Parts of this section contains background material prepared before the election. Use these links to jump to sections of interest to you:

Governor | Ballot measures | Bonds & Overrides | State Board of Education | CU Regents | Legislature

Recent EdNews stories

Voters say yes to districts

Nov. 5 – Despite the lingering recession and mid-term malaise, voters mostly said yes to school district tax increases this year. Read story

Education panels still up in the air

Nov. 4 – Legislative party caucuses have picked their leaders for the 2011 session, but the composition of the House and Senate education committees is still up in the air. Read story

Stability for SBE, Regents

Nov. 3 – Democratic incumbent Angelika Schroeder won election to the State Board of Education, and CU Regent incumbent Steve Bosley overcame a strong challenger to keep his seat. Read story

SBE races fly under the political radar

Oct. 28 – If history, voter registration and fund raising are any indications, the State Board of Education after Tuesday’s election will look similar to the board that’s been operating for the last two years.. Read story

Spending goes down to the wire

Oct. 19 – With the 2010 election two weeks away, the peak of the campaign fund raising season has passed, but there still were some interesting developments in the latest contribution and spending filings, including in a State Board of Education race. Read story

Related stories on campaign fund raising:

School districts test voters’ mood

Oct. 5 – Despite the fragile economy and perceived voter grumpiness about taxes, 33 Colorado school districts are seeking tax increases in this election, for construction bonds, operating revenue or to provide Amendment 61 escape hatches. Read story

Politics makes changing bedfellows

Sept. 28 – The Colorado Education Association may be the 800-pound education group in Colorado politics, but that doesn’t mean other interest groups aren’t trying to weigh in on 2010 legislative races. To get a sense for who’s supporting whom, Education News Colorado reviewed legislative candidate contributions by the CEA-affiliated Public Education Committee and the AFT Colorado Federation of Teachers, School, Health and Public Employees Small Donor Committee, along with endorsements or contributions by three other groups. Read story, charts

Hickenlooper unveils education agenda

Joe Garcia and John Hickenlooper
Joe Garcia (left) and John Hickenlooper.

Aug. 30 – School funding will remain tight, Democrat John Hickenlooper warned Monday as he unveiled his plans for education if he’s elected governor.

“We’re not going to throw money at the problem,” the Denver mayor said during a news conference at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton with running mate Joe Garcia, president of Colorado State University-Pueblo.

“There is no appetite” among the public for new taxes, Hickenlooper said. Read story, with video

News from other sources

Guide to candidates and measures

Colorado state flag

Governor

• John Hickenlooper (D)
Education policy statement

• Don Maes (R)
Education policy statement (middle of page)

• Tom Tancredo (American Constitution)
General issues page, including link to video on homeschooling

Proposed state amendments

Amendment 60 – The constitutional amendment would require school districts to halve their property tax rates by 2020, not including taxes levied for debt, such as bond issues. The state would be required to cover the lost revenue.

Future property tax rate increases would expire after 10 years, and extension would be subject to voter approval. Recent actions such as the 2007 property tax “freeze” would be repealed.

It also would allow citizen-initiated measures to reduce property taxes, allow property owners to vote on tax issues even if they aren’t residents of a jurisdiction and impose property taxes on government enterprises and authorities.
Text

Amendment 61 – The constitutional amendment would ban all forms of borrowing by state government, including certificates of participation. All local government borrowing would have to be approved by voters, new debt would have to be repaid within 10 years and taxes would have to be reduced after a debt is repaid.
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Proposition 101 – The proposed change to state law would, over time, reduce specific ownership taxes on vehicles to $2 for new vehicles and $1 for used ones, limit title and license fees to $10 a year and abolish taxes on vehicle rentals and leases.

The state income tax rate would be reduced from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent over several years, and telecommunications taxes, except for a 911 fee, would be abolished.
Text

Pro: The measures are backed by a low-profile group of anti-tax activists including Natalie Menten of Lakewood, who maintains a website that tracks alleged government waste, and Douglas Campbell, who has run unsuccessfully for several state offices as an American Constitution Party candidate. Campbell once worked as an aide to TABOR author Doug Bruce when Bruce was a state representative. Website

Con: Coloradans for Responsible Reform, a coalition of business and civic groups, is opposing the measures. Several local governments, school boards and other education boards are formally opposing the three proposals. Website

School district ballot measures

More than 30 Colorado schools districts this fall are proposing bond issues, mill levy overrides of Amendment 61-related ballot measures. Get the details in this story, including a link to the full list. Here’s a list of some of the major proposals:

  • Aspen – $1.2 million override
  • Boulder Valley – $22.5 million override
  • Brighton – $3.2 million override
  • Durango – $3.2 million override
  • Falcon – $125 million bond
  • Littleton – $12 million override
  • Mapleton – $32 million bond issue (match for $32 million BEST grant)
  • Poudre – $16 million override, $120 million bond
  • Salida – $17.9 million bond issue (match for $12.5 million BEST grant)
Colorado Department of Education

State Board of Education

(See story about these races.)

District 2

District 5

District 6

University of Colorado Board of Regents

At-large

District 1

District 4

Legislature

Races listed include those where an incumbent serves on the House or Senate education committee and those where a candidate has an education background, such as teaching or school board service. If a candidate’s name isn’t linked, it means we couldn’t find a website.

State Senate

District 31 (southeast Denver)

District 32 (east Denver)

District 33 (northwest Denver)

District 34 (northeast Denver)

  • Michael Johnston (D, appointed incumbent, education committee member)
  • Lisa Ringle (R)

State House

District 16 (El Paso County)

  • Larry Liston (R, incumbent)
  • Janet Tanner (D, District 11 board member)

District 22 (Jefferson County)

District 24 (Jefferson County)

District 29 (Jefferson County)

District 30 (Adams County)

District 31 (Adams County)

  • Tom Janich (R, former Brighton board member)
  • Judy Solano (D, incumbent and education committee vice chair)

District 35 (Jefferson County)

District 41 (Arapahoe County/Aurora)

House 43 (Douglas County/Highlands Ranch)

District 45 (Douglas County)

  • Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock and an education committee member, is unopposed.

District 47 (Pueblo County)

District 49 (Larimer County)

District 51 (Larimer County)

District 56 (Eagle, Lake and Summit counties)

District 60 (South-central mountains from Park to Custer counties)

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.


For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.


Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.

call out

Our readers had a lot to say in 2017. Make your voice heard in 2018.

PHOTO: Chris Hill/Whitney Achievement School
Teacher Carl Schneider walks children home in 2015 as part of the after-school walking program at Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Memphis. This photograph went viral and inspired a First Person reflection from Schneider in 2017.

Last year, some of our most popular pieces came from readers who told their stories in a series that we call First Person.

For instance, Carl Schneider wrote about the 2015 viral photograph that showed him walking his students home from school in a low-income neighborhood of Memphis. His perspective on what got lost in the shuffle continues to draw thousands of readers.

First Person is also a platform to influence policy. Recent high school graduate Anisah Karim described the pressure she felt to apply to 100 colleges in the quest for millions of dollars in scholarships. Because of her piece, the school board in Memphis is reviewing the so-called “million-dollar scholar” culture at some high schools.

Do you have a story to tell or a point to make? In 2018, we want to give an even greater voice to students, parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and others who are trying to improve public education in Tennessee. We’re looking for essays of 500 to 750 words grounded in personal experience.

Whether your piece is finished or you just have an idea to discuss, drop a line to Community Editor Caroline Bauman at cbauman@chalkbeat.org.

But first, check out these top First Person pieces from Tennesseans in 2017:

My high school told me to apply to 100 colleges — and I almost lost myself in the process

“A counselor never tried to determine what the absolute best school for me would be. I wasted a lot of time, money and resources trying to figure that out. And I almost lost myself in the process.” —Anisah Karim     

Why I’m not anxious about where my kids go to school — but do worry about the segregation that surrounds us

“In fact, it will be a good thing for my boys to learn alongside children who are different from them in many ways — that is one advantage they will have that I did not, attending parochial schools in a lily-white suburb.” —Mary Jo Cramb

I covered Tennessee’s ed beat for Chalkbeat. Here’s what I learned.

“Apathy is often cited as a major problem facing education. That’s not the case in Tennessee.” —Grace Tatter

I went viral for walking my students home from school in Memphis. Here’s what got lost in the shuffle.

“When #blacklivesmatter is a controversial statement; when our black male students have a one in three chance of facing jail time; when kids in Memphis raised in the bottom fifth of the socioeconomic bracket have a 2.6 percent chance of climbing to the top fifth — our walking students home does not fix that, either.” —Carl Schneider

I think traditional public schools are the backbone of democracy. My child attends a charter school. Let’s talk.

“It was a complicated choice to make. The dialogue around school choice in Nashville, though, doesn’t often include much nuance — or many voices of parents like me.” —Aidan Hoyal

I grew up near Charlottesville and got a misleading education about Civil War history. Students deserve better.

“In my classroom discussions, the impetus for the Civil War was resigned to a debate over the balance of power between federal and state governments. Slavery was taught as a footnote to the cause of the war.” —Laura Faith Kebede