Monday Churn: Back to work

Daily Churn logoWhat’s on tap:

Things slowly get rolling again this week after an extended holiday for many in Colorado education and state government.

On Thursday the Joint Budget Committee will be briefed on the Department of Education’s 2012-13 budget by staff analyst Craig Harper.

The panel already has been briefed on 2012-13 state aid to schools (see story) and Thursday’s 1:30 p.m. meeting will be focused on other areas of CDE’s budget.

Of particular interest is the $25.9 million the department wants for development of new state tests but which Gov. John Hickenlooper did not include in his overall state budget proposal. Education Commissioner Robert Hammond has said he’ll make a pitch for the money to the JBC.

CDE officials don’t get to speak to the committee until a Dec. 16 hearing, but it will be interesting to see what Harper’s briefing paper says about test costs.

Thursday also is the deadline for campaign committees to file their post-election contribution and spending reports.

The JBC will have a briefing at 9 a.m. Friday on Department of Higher Education spending for 2012-13. The governor is proposing a 5.7 percent cut in college spending, and he and higher ed brass already have agreed on campus-by-campus allocation of the reduced funding (see story).

Of more interest may be committee reaction to Hickenlooper’s proposed cuts in state financial aid.

Also Friday the Colorado Commission on Higher Education meets with campus presidents and governing board chairs to discuss preliminary goals for a new higher education master plan. It will be the first meeting of those groups in four years.

Crafting of a new master plan is required by recent legislation that sets up a performance funding system for state colleges and universities. That system wouldn’t kick for several years and not until after base state funding of higher ed is restored to a set level.

The session runs 1-5 p.m. at the Auraria PE/Events Center. The commission will have its regular monthly meeting from 10 a.m. to noon.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Online education advocates around the country are feeling under siege. A recent EdNews series raised questions about operations in regulation in our state. Now our partners at Education Week round up what’s happening elsewhere around the nation. Story here

The leaders of Monarch Montessori say they will continue with their push to establish a charter school in far northeast Denver through appeal to the state or re-applying next year. Story here

Garfield School District 16 is seeking to fill three of five seats on the board of education. The three incumbents, who all chose not to run for re-election, are serving on the board until replacements can be appointed. Story here

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

More in What's Your Education 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.