Updated 1 p.m. – The House State Affairs Committee this afternoon delayed a vote on House Bill 12-1067, which would limit campaign contributions in school board and RTD races.
Chair Rep. Jim Kerr, R-Lakewood, said he wanted to wait until the full committee was present. Only seven members were in the room as the meeting ended over the lunch hour. (See background below.)
The first education bill out of the box this session is House Bill 12-1067, which would limit contributions to school board candidates. It’s set for a hearing this morning in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
The measure would set a $500 limit on individual contributions and a $5,000 limit on small donor committees. The bill also would apply to RTD elections.
The background for the bill, of course, is the high spending in recent Denver Public Schools board elections. In 2011, at-large candidate Allegra “Happy” Haynes raised and spent more than $230,000 to win her citywide seat while in 2009, at-large winner Mary Seawell raised more than $240,000 (see story).
Sponsors of the bill are Denver Democrats Reps. Beth McCann and Lois Court and Sen. Irene Aguilar.
McCann got an amended version of a similar bill out of committee last year, but the measure was killed on the House floor.
One education lobbyist, asked about the bill recently, indicated that the measure is a solution in search of a problem for most districts but sighed and said, “When Denver sneezes, other districts reach for the tissues.”
The committee hearing starts this morning after floor adjournment in room 0112 of the Capitol. EdNews will be there.
What’s on tap:
Denver school board members meet at 5 p.m. at district headquarters, 900 Grant St. The agenda includes three new innovation school proposals, as well as a possible change to the 2012-13 academic calendar. A public comment session is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Jeffco school board members meet at 5 p.m. at district headquarters, 1829 Denver West Drive in Golden. The agenda includes the renewal of the contract for Superintendent Cindy Stevenson.
Ed research in the news:
Charter laws – Colorado ranks seventh in the nation based on the quality of its laws governing charter schools, according to an annual report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. That’s actually down from a previous rank of fourth, a decline the group says is because Colorado “was surpassed by states that made substantial changes to their charter laws.” Recent actions such as the State Board of Education’s approval of new standards for charter school authorizers were not included in new calculations, however. Maine ranks number one with 158 points out of 208; Colorado was given 130 points. The report prompted a response from the Center for Education Reform, which disagrees with the rankings.
Child obesity – An article in this month’s issue of the journal Sociology in Education details a study finding no link between the increase in childhood obesity – at least for middle school students – and the availability of junk food in schools. “We held back from publishing our study for roughly two years because we kept looking for a connection that just wasn’t there,” said the lead author of the study. You can read the New York Daily News report on the study and learn more about the study itself.
Dropout costs – A report analyzing the financial burdens of 16- to 24-year-olds who are neither in school nor working estimates taxpayers will lost $1.6 trillion over the lifetime of this cohort while the social costs will amount to $4.7 trillion. Researchers at Columbia Teachers College and CUNY’s Queens College looked at the lost earnings, lower economic growth and higher government spending resulting from the estimated 3.4 million Americans in this age bracket, described as “chronic opportunity youth.” They also estimated an additional 3.3 million are “under-attached,” or only partially engaged in work or school. Read more about the study in this Education Week report and see the study.
Good reads from elsewhere:
A tense school board meeting turned into a “mini riot,” according to the board president, over a vote to non-renew the contract of superintendent Terry Ebert in Ellicott School District 22. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports stepped-up security at future meetings may be the result.
The dropout rate in Boulder is approaching zero, the Boulder Daily Camera reports ahead of the official statewide release of dropout and graduation rate data. The district’s overall dropout rate has fallen from from 1.5 percent in 2009 to 0.8 percent in 2011.
Sweeping education reforms in Louisiana were forwarded by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is seeking approval of private school vouchers, an easier path for charter school creation and an end to job protections for teachers under the state’s tenure law, according to the Times-Picayune.
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.