Colorado

Monday Churn: Nervously waiting

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Release of quarterly state revenue forecasts has become a dreaded event in recent years as declining state revenues have turned the reports into an unending series of bad news.

The September forecasts from legislative staff economists and the executive branch Office of State Planning and Budgeting will be released to the Joint Budget Committee Tuesday morning.

The last forecasts, in June, brought some good news for education because they were higher than the amount estimated in March, meaning an extra $67.5 million will be available to K-12 education in the second half of the current 2011-12 budget year. But the broader forecasts were still iffy, and Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver and a member of the JBC, said, “Most likely … we still will be having to cut in 2012-13.”

There’s some good – and visual – information about trends in the Colorado economy and the state budget in this slide show prepared by the OSPB and shopped around in recent weeks to various state officials, including the Colorado Commission on Higher Education on Sept. 8.

School finance is top of many minds these days for several reasons, including the tax hikes proposed in Proposition 103, the just-completed Lobato v. State funding adequacy trial and a gloomy long-term state fiscal forecast from University of Denver researchers.

What’s on tap:

TODAY

It’s a deadline day for statewide campaign committees to file contribution and spending reports with the secretary of state’s office. It could provide the first hints of fund-raising strength by opponents of Proposition 103.

Today also is the deadline for submitting comments on draft educator effectiveness regulations if you’d like those comments considered by Colorado Department of Education staff members as they prepare a third draft of those rules. Use this CDE page for links to the current draft and previous comments and for instructions on commenting. Submit comments here.

The State Board of Education will hold another hearing on the rules in October and is expected to vote in November. CDE will continue to accept comments up to the November meeting, but today’s the deadline to submit if you’d like CDE to consider your thoughts before it redrafts rules for the October hearing.

TUESDAY

The Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline meets from 8:30 a.m. to noon to discuss potential bills for the 2012 legislative session. Expect to see proposals designed to reduce the use of suspensions, expulsions and police referrals. The meeting’s in room 0112 of the Capitol. Agenda

The JBC will receive the quarterly revenue forecasts at 9 a.m. in the Legislative Services Building, 200 E. 14th Ave.

The new Education Leadership Council holds its first meeting starting at 1 p.m. at the Carriage House of the Governor’s Mansion. Gov. John Hickenlooper will open the session, and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will give the group its marching orders toward the end of the meeting, according to the agenda. List of members

The Aurora school board meets at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at the Educational Services Center – 4, 1085 Peoria St.

The Boulder Valley board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. at 6500 Arapahoe Road, Boulder.
Agenda

The Douglas County board convenes at 5 p.m. (regular meeting starts at 7:05 p.m.) at district headquarters, 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock.

WEDNESDAY

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

THURSDAY

The St. Vrain board holds a 6:00 p.m. study session at Longmont High School, 1040 Sunset St. Agenda

FRIDAY

A hearing is scheduled on the Colorado Education Association’s request for a preliminary injunction against the state’s recent parent notification rule. The regulation requires parents be informed when school employees are arrested. The hearing will be held at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 209 at the Denver City and County Building. EdNews background story

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