Monday Churn: Ballots and budget

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

State schools and colleges will learn Tuesday how much they may have to tighten their belts in the 2012-13 school year, and some school districts also will learn that evening how their voters feel about proposed tax increases.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposed 2012-13 budget will be released at 1 p.m. Tuesday, the day that it’s due to the legislative Joint Budget Committee.

School district and college leaders have long expected that cuts were a foregone conclusion. But there’s some recent statehouse speculation that proposed K-12 cuts could be in the $100-$200 million range instead of the $200-$300 million that has been bandied about. The cut would be off the approximately $5.2 billion in state and local funds that districts are receiving this year for basic operations.

State support for public colleges and universities is about $519 million this year, about $125 million below the 2010-11 budget. Word is that Hickenlooper will propose a cut for 2012-13 but that it won’t be as large as the one imposed for the current budget. But it’s also expected that state funding for financial aid and work study, about $100 million this year, will be cut.

Direct state support to colleges and universities now provides only about a quarter of their revenues; the rest is provided by ever-increasing tuition.

The governor’s budget is kind of an opening shot. Next year’s budget won’t be finished up until April or May, after two more revenue forecasts have been issued and the legislature has approved the document.

The education budget equation will change dramatically if Proposition 103 passes Tuesday. It would provide extra funding for all levels of public education by raising state income and sales tax rates.

If voters approve Prop. 103 – most political observers don’t think that will happen – the 2012 legislature could have as much as $512 million in extra revenue to spend on schools and colleges in both the current budget year and in 2012-13.

Kristin Donley, a science teacher at Monarch High School in the Boulder Valley district, has been named 2012 Colorado Teacher of the Year.

Donley got the surprise announcement during an all-school assembly Friday attended by education Commissioner Robert Hammond and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-2nd District. The ostensible reason for the assembly was for state officials to honor the school’s one-to-one computer program, which ensures every student has access to a laptop.

According to a Colorado Department of Education news release, Donley has taught physical science, chemistry and biology at Monarch for 10 years and also has established a peer science mentorship program for elementary and middle school students. In addition, she is a district curriculum coordinator.

What’s on tap:

Students at Colorado community and local district colleges this week will have the opportunity to get advice on how to move on to four-year schools. The “4 Year 4 You” program provides information about programs available for students to transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions.

During a statewide tour this week, volunteers will talk with students about guaranteed admissions to four-year schools, dual enrollment and other transfer programs.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday – Colorado Northwestern Community College,
7:30-9:30 a.m. and Colorado Mountain College
in Edwards,
1:30-3 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Trinidad Junior College,
8-9:30 a.m.; Lamar Community College, noon-2 p.m., and Otero Junior College,
4-5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday – Pueblo Community College, 8-9:30 a.m.; Pikes Peak Community College,
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Arapahoe Community College,
2:15-3:45 p.m., and Red Rocks Community College, 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday – Community College of Aurora,
8-9:30 a.m.; Front Range Community College,
11 a.m.-1 p.m., and Community College of Denver,
2-3:30 p.m.
  • Friday – Northeastern Junior College,
8-9:30 a.m.; Aims Community College,
10 a.m.-noon, and Morgan Community College
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

The initiative was organized by CU Regent Stephen Ludwig and is supported by College in Colorado, the Community College System and the Public Education & Business Coalition.


It’s the last campaign finance-reporting deadline for committees supporting and opposing Proposition 103.


Election Day

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposed 2012-13 state budget will be released at 1 p.m.

Douglas County school board members are scheduled for a brief public meeting from 5:50 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the district administration building, 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock. Agenda


The Adams 12-Five Star board has a meeting set for 7 p.m. at the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton. Agenda


The Colorado Commission on Higher Education meets starting at 10 a.m. at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton. Expect the governor’s proposed budget to be a topic of discussion.

The Boulder Valley school board has a special meeting set for noon at 6500 Arapahoe in Boulder.

The Denver school board’s calendar lists a “Focus on Achievement” session scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. Agenda

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

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.