Who Is In Charge

Monday Churn: Revenues edge up

Updated 3:15 p.m. – A slowly improving economy has sparked growth in state revenues since the last official forecasts three months ago, according to new projections issued this afternoon.

The Office of State Planning and Budgeting calculated revenues for 2012-13 will be up to $164.5 million higher that previously projected. Legislative economists calculated $132 million in growth.

In a statement, Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “We look forward to working with the Joint Budget Committee to proportionally restore some of the difficult cuts we already proposed in the budget. That means taking care of our state’s neediest seniors, supporting local governments and doing all we can to fund K-12 and higher education to their fullest potential.”

Henry Sobanet, Hickenlooper’s budget director, told reporters after a legislative briefing that there’s really about $149 million that could be used to reduce about $188 million in total proposed cuts to K-12, higher education, grants to local government and some senior programs.

So, Sobanet said, about 80 percent of the proposed cuts could be rolled back, depending on what the legislature decides.

The administration’s existing budget plan calls for about $48 million in K-12 cuts and $30 million in higher education reductions.

The governor is sticking with his proposal to not restore a $100 million senior citizen property tax break. Instead he wants to target relief to low-income seniors.

House Republicans have been pressing to restore the so-called homestead exemption, so the administration and lawmakers will have to reach compromise on that issue before the 2012-13 budget is passed.

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What’s on tap:

TODAY:

From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: Education and the Courts, part of CU-Denver’s Center for Education Policy Analysis series, is an hour-long talk beginning at 11:45 a.m. at 1380 Lawrence St. Joshua Dunn, an associate professor at CU-Colorado Springs and a regular contributor to Education Next, will provide an overview of the relationship between courts and education with a focus on school finance litigation.

The Colorado School Finance Partnership and the Colorado Department of Education are sponsoring a panel discussion on school funding options at 6 p.m. Monday at The University Club, 1673 Sherman St. in Denver. Panelists include national experts, such as Eric Hanushek of Stanford and Marguerite Roza of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and state figures such as Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver.

TUESDAY

The Boulder Valley school board has a special meeting at 5 p.m. to review data as part of a goal-setting process. The session is at 6500 Arapahoe in Boulder. Agenda

The Douglas County school board has a 5 p.m. meeting scheduled at 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock, with the public portion beginning at 7 p.m. The agenda includes a discussion of Monday’s state revenue forecast, which may impact cuts at high schools, and a not-yet-filed resolution on open negotiations between the board and the teachers union. Previous story on public contract talks.

The Aurora school board has a meeting scheduled at 6 p.m. at 1085 Peoria St. The agenda includes an update on the 2012-13 budget, results of a staff climate survey and a resolution in support of Senate Bill 12-015, which would create a separate category of tuition for undocumented students. More on Senate Bill 12-015.

WEDNESDAY

The Adams 12-Five Star school board has a 7 p.m. meeting scheduled at 1500 E. 128th Avenue, Thornton. Agenda

FRIDAY

Jeffco school board members meet at 8:30 a.m. for a daylong work session to discuss governance principles, student achievement and monitoring of district work. This is the board’s fifth session monitored by facilitator Jim Weigel. Agenda

Good reads from elsewhere:

Race and teaching: Today’s Denver Post has an article on the continuing concerns of African-American teachers in Denver Public Schools. EdNews took a closer look at this issue in May and found it’s a concern across the state.

Teachers skeptical: An online survey of 10,000 U.S. teachers has found that only 16 percent believe linking student test performance to teacher pay is “absolutely essential” or “very important” in retaining good teachers. The poll was conducted by education publisher Scholastic and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. USA Today has the story.

Westwood, AG settle: For-profit Westwood College has reached a multi-million settlement with the attorney general’s office over consumer protection allegations involving its student loan program. The Denver Business Journal has details.

Immigration friction: The Roaring Fork school district and police within its boundaries have crafted an agreement that urges “extraordinary discretion” whenever school resource police officers deal with immigrant students and families. The issue has been a touchy one in the district, and one student group isn’t happy with the agreement. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent has the story.

Colorado and corruption: A months-long investigation into transparency in government by the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity finds not a single state earning an A and only 5 states were given B’s. Colorado ranked 33rd among the 50 states, with a D+ letter grade. Read more about the investigation in this news release and find out why Colorado received such a low score.


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.

Tennessee Votes 2018

Early voting begins Friday in Tennessee. Here’s where your candidates stand on education.

PHOTO: Creative Commons

Tennesseans begin voting on Friday in dozens of crucial elections that will culminate on Aug. 2.

Democrats and Republicans will decide who will be their party’s gubernatorial nominee. Those two individuals will face off in November to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. Tennessee’s next governor will significantly shape public education, and voters have told pollsters that they are looking for an education-minded leader to follow Haslam.

In Memphis, voters will have a chance to influence schools in two elections, one for school board and the other for county commission, the top local funder for schools, which holds the purse strings for schools.

To help you make more informed decisions, Chalkbeat asked candidates in these four races critical questions about public education.

Here’s where Tennessee’s Democratic candidates for governor stand on education

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley hope to become the state’s first Democratic governor in eight years.

Tennessee’s Republican candidates for governor answer the big questions on education

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, businessman Randy Boyd, Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, and businessman Bill Lee are campaigning to succeed fellow Republican Haslam as governor, but first they must defeat each other in the 2018 primary election.

Memphis school board candidates speak out on what they want to change

Fifteen people are vying for four seats on the Shelby County Schools board this year. That’s much higher stakes compared to two years ago when five seats were up for election with only one contested race.

Aspiring county leaders in charge of money for Memphis schools share their views

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners and county mayor are responsible for most school funding in Memphis. Chalkbeat sent a survey to candidates asking their thoughts on what that should look like.

Early voting runs Mondays through Saturdays until Saturday, July 28. Election Day is Thursday, Aug. 2.

full board

Adams 14 votes to appoint Sen. Dominick Moreno to fill board vacancy

State Sen. Dominick Moreno being sworn in Monday evening. (Photo by Yesenia Robles, Chalkbeat)

A state senator will be the newest member of the Adams 14 school board.

Sen. Dominick Moreno, a graduate of the district, was appointed Monday night on a 3-to-1 vote to fill a vacancy on the district’s school board.

“He has always, since I have known him, cared about this community,” said board member David Rolla, who recalled knowing Moreno since grade school.

Moreno will continue to serve in his position in the state legislature.

The vacancy on the five-member board was created last month, when the then-president, Timio Archuleta, resigned with more than a year left on his term.

Colorado law says when a vacancy is created, school board must appoint a new board member to serve out the remainder of the term.

In this case, Moreno will serve until the next election for that seat in November 2019.

The five member board will see the continued rollout of the district’s improvement efforts as it tries to avoid further state intervention.

Prior to Monday’s vote, the board interviewed four candidates including Joseph Dreiling, a former board member; Angela Vizzi; Andrew LaCrue; and Moreno. One woman, Cynthia Meyers, withdrew her application just as her interview was to begin. Candidate, Vizzi, a district parent and member of the district’s accountability committee, told the board she didn’t think she had been a registered voter for the last 12 months, which would make her ineligible for the position.

The board provided each candidate with eight general questions — each board member picked two from a predetermined list — about the reason the candidates wanted to serve on the board and what they saw as their role with relation to the superintendent. Board members and the public were barred from asking other questions during the interviews.

Moreno said during his interview that he was not coming to the board to spy for the state Department of Education, which is evaluating whether or not the district is improving. Nor, he added, was he applying for the seat because the district needs rescuing.

“I’m here because I think I have something to contribute,” Moreno said. “I got a good education in college and I came home. Education is the single most important issue in my life.”

The 7,500-student district has struggled in the past year. The state required the district to make significant improvement in 2017-18, but Adams 14 appears to be falling short of expectations..

Many community members and parents have protested district initiatives this year, including cancelling parent-teacher conferences, (which will be restored by fall), and postponing the roll out of a biliteracy program for elementary school students.

Rolla, in nominating Moreno, said the board has been accused of not communicating well, and said he thought Moreno would help improve those relationships with the community.

Board member Harvest Thomas was the one vote against Moreno’s appointment. He did not discuss his reason for his vote.

If the state’s new ratings this fall fail to show sufficient academic progress, the State Board of Education may direct additional or different actions to turn the district around.