Who Is In Charge

Election 2010: SBE, Regents, legislature

Colorado Department of Education
Colorado Department of Education

Democratic incumbent Angelika Schroeder was headed to victory for the State Board of Education Tuesday, as was incumbent University of Colorado regent Steve Bosley.

Republican newcomers were leading in two other SBE races, while in two other regent races a Democratic incumbent was ahead in one race while the Republican was leading in another.

Statewide, Democrat John Hickenlooper was elected governor, bringing into office with him  Joe Garcia, president of CSU-Pueblo, as lieutenant governor. Education advocate Cary Kennedy lost her bid for re-election as state treasurer. And Democrat Michael Bennet, former Denver schools superintendent, was locked in a tight race for U.S. Senate with Republican Ken Buck.

In late-evening returns for legislative contests of interest to education, Rep. Debbie Benefield, D-Arvada, was in a tight race with Republican Robert Ramirez, but Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillion, beat Republican Debra Irvine.

In House District 47 in Pueblo and Fremont counties, Democrat Carole Partin was trailing construction company executive Keith Swerdfeger. Partin is past president of the Pueblo Education Association. A Swerdfeger win would be a gain for Republicans.

Another former teacher, Democrat Laura Huerta, was behind Republican Rep. Kevin Priola in Adams County’s District 30. Priola is a member of the House Education Committee. Incumbent Democratic representatives Sue Schafer, Judy Solano, Cherilyn Peniston and Nancy Todd were leading in their races in suburban Denver districts. All are members of the House Education Committee.

In Colorado Springs’ Senate District 11, Democratic Senate Majority Leader John Morse was clinging to a slim lead over Republican Owen Hill. Education groups of all stripes had backed Morse. (In an El Paso county commissioner race pitting two education figures against each other, outgoing Republican SBE member Peggy Littleton was leading Mike Merrifield, outgoing chair of the House Education Committee. But, candidate Pete Lee appeared on his way to holding Merrifield’s seat for the Democrats.)

In Senate District 6 in the Four Corners, Republican Rep. Ellen Roberts of Durango looked headed for a win over Democratic Sen. Bruce Whitehead of Hesperus. The Colorado Education Association supported Whitehead, while the reform group Stand for Children backed Roberts.

Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs and ranking Republican on the House Education Committee, appeared headed for reelection.

In Denver Senate districts, Democratic incumbents Pat Steadman, Lucia Guzman, Chris Romer and Michael Johnston were heading to easy victories in heavily Democratic districts. (See bottom of this story for current legislative results.)

In the 2nd District for the state board, Schroeder was well ahead of Republican businesswoman Kaye Ferry of Vail.

In the 5th District, Republican investment advisor Paul Lundeen of Monument was leading Democrat Karl Beck in the heavily Republican district.

And in the suburban 6th District, Republican educator Debora Scheffel had a comfortable lead on Democrat and retired medical researcher William Townend of Aurora.

The state board has four Republicans and three Democrats now. The body faces major tasks in the next year, including the hiring of a new commissioner, implementation of the educator effectiveness law and selection of a new testing system.

And the new board will face a changed political landscape, with a new governor and possible changes in party control at the legislature. (See this story for background on the board candidates.)

In the high-spending race for a statewide seat on the Board of Regents, Democrat and CU law professor Melissa Hart was trailing incumbent Republican Bosley, a retired Boulder banker.

In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Michael Carrigan was well ahead of Republican Alex Maller.

And in northern Colorado’s 4th District, Republican Sue Sharkey of Windsor was leading Democrat Michael Bishop-Cotner, also of Windsor.

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Election results courtesy of our partner, 9News.com. Check full Colorado election results there.

Who Is In Charge

Indianapolis Public Schools board gives superintendent Ferebee raise, bonus

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy
Lewis Ferebee

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee is getting a $4,701 raise and a bonus of $28,000.

The board voted unanimously to approve both. The raise is a 2.24 percent salary increase. It is retroactive to July 1, 2017. Ferebee’s total pay this year, including the bonus, retirement contributions and a stipend for a car, will be $286,769. Even though the bonus was paid this year, it is based on his performance last school year.

The board approved a new contract Tuesday that includes a raise for teachers.

The bonus is 80 percent of the total — $35,000 — he could have received under his contract. It is based on goals agreed to by the superintendent and the board.

These are performance criteria used to determine the superintendent’s bonus are below:

Student recruitment

How common is it for districts to share student contact info with charter schools? Here’s what we know.

PHOTO: Laura Faith Kebede
Staff members of Green Dot Public Schools canvass a neighborhood near Kirby Middle School in the summer of 2016 before reopening the Memphis school as a charter.

As charter schools emerge alongside local school districts across the nation, student addresses have become a key turf war.

Charter schools have succeeded in filling their classes with and without access to student contact information. But their operators frequently argue that they have a right to such information, which they say is vital to their recruitment efforts and gives families equal access to different schools in their area.

Disputes are underway right now in at least two places: In Tennessee, school boards in Nashville and Memphis are defying a new state law that requires districts to hand over such information to charters that request it. A New York City parent recently filed a formal complaint accusing the city of sharing her information improperly with local charter schools.

How do other cities handle the issue? According to officials from a range of school districts, some share student information freely with charters while others guard it fiercely.

Some districts explicitly do not share student information with charter schools. This includes Detroit, where the schools chief is waging an open war with the charter sector for students; Washington, D.C., where the two school sectors coexist more peacefully; and Los Angeles.

Others have clear rules for student information sharing. Denver, for example, set parameters for what information the district will hand over to charter schools in a formal collaboration agreement — one that Memphis officials frequently cite as a model for one they are creating. Baltimore and Boston also share information, although Boston gives out only some of the personal details that district schools can access.

At least one city has carved out a compromise. In New York City, a third-party company provides mass mailings for charter schools, using contact information provided by the school district. Charter schools do not actually see that information and cannot use it for other purposes — although the provision hasn’t eliminated parent concerns about student privacy and fair recruitment practices there.

In Tennessee, the fight by the state’s two largest districts over the issue is nearing a boiling point. The state education department has already asked a judge to intervene in Nashville and is mulling whether to add the Memphis district to the court filing after the school board there voted to defy the state’s order to share information last month. Nashville’s court hearing is Nov. 28.

The conflict feels high-stakes to some. In Memphis, both local and state districts struggle with enrolling enough students. Most schools in the state-run Achievement School District have lost enrollment this year, and the local district, Shelby County Schools, saw a slight increase in enrollment this year after years of freefall.

Still, some charter leaders wonder why schools can’t get along without the information. One Memphis charter operator said his school fills its classes through word of mouth, Facebook ads, and signs in surrounding neighborhoods.

“We’re fully enrolled just through that,” said the leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his relationship with the state and local districts. “It’s a non-argument for me.”

A spokeswoman for Green Dot Public Schools, the state-managed charter school whose request for student information started the legal fight in Memphis, said schools in the Achievement School District should receive student contact information because they are supposed to serve students within specific neighborhood boundaries.

“At the end of the day, parents should have the information they need to go to their neighborhood school,” said the spokeswoman, Cynara Lilly. “They deserve to know it’s open.”