Jared Polis Foundation Education Report Spring 2003


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From 2002-2008, the Jared Polis Foundation (JPF) Education Report reached out to Colorado households, organizations and government entities semi-annually highlighting educational reform, advances and local educational issues.

The foundation decided to end the program in the fall 2008.

Published in: Education
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Jared Polis Foundation Education Report Spring 2003

  1. 1. The Jared PolisEducation Report Spring 2003 Dear coloradoans, It is with great pleasure that I bring you this Education Report lled with useful information on cyberschools, St. Vrain, and school nance. While the state is mired in a recession, it is par- ticularly important to stay informed on education issues so that our children are not the victims of our budget crisis. Thanks for staying informed and involved! Vice Chair - Colorado State Board of Education For specic information about your local school district, please visit www.cde.state.co.us Not Paid for by Tax Dollars
  2. 2. W hat Happened in St. Vrain?The St. Vrain School District- located The District is also planning to elim-in Boulder, Broomeld, Larimer, and inate 21 administrative positions.Weld counties- is facing what is With these measures, the Districtperhaps the worst school budget expects to have a $3-5 million short-crisis in State history. This article will fall at year’s end but a balancedexplain what happened and what is budget by June 2004.being done to prevent this disasterfrom occurring anywhere else. Last November voters approved a $212.9 million bond to build 10 newThe District’s decit resulted from schools - six of them immediately.using inated numbers to cover The District is proceeding with onlyexpense overruns for three years. St. four of the six new schools atVrain also overestimated reserves this time with the other two likelyand underestimated salary costs; delayed by one year. The new facili-including failing to consider the ties are to relieve overcrowding, asprevious year’s summer salaries, district schools are at 97% of capac-undercounting 150 full-time employ- ity, which includes a record-break-ees, and neglecting to add salary ing increase of 2,466 students forincreases to the budget. Disturb- the last three years. In the fastestingly, the District’s accounting rm growing areas of the district, 14actually signed off on its audited schools are 100% over capacity.nancials. Accordingly, State policymakers are exploring ways to tighten The State Board of Education isauditing procedures for school dis- looking at the nancial status oftricts in Colorado. districts through its accreditation process. Legislators are consideringTo keep serving the students of St. several proposals to aid districtsVrain, the State provided a $15 mil- and prevent a similar situation inlion interest-free loan to help keep the future, including:the District aoat. This loan is inaddition to the nearly $44 million that • Allowing land salesthe District has borrowed from the • Increasing school board oversightState since 1999. St. Vrain agreed • Accounting for certainto meet several criteria to ensure budgeting techniquesthat it could make the District solvent • Requiring accurate publicand repay the loan: information in bond electionsLoan Agreement Facts: For more information, visit our web- • 7.1% pay cut for teachers and site at www.jaredpolisfoundation.org. classied staff • 15% decrease in non-salary items • Average of 13% pay cut for all administrators • 35% cut in administrative costs next year • Freeze lling vacancies
  3. 3. I nnovations In EducationUniversity of Northern Colorado’s online community where educatorsYouth Entrepreneurship Confer- connect to share their knowledgeence & Business Competition: and experience. OWL.org supportsThe Institute for Entrepreneurship teachers and school staff withand UNC host a mountain states practical tips, strategies, and edu-event providing students (ages 8-18), cational materials.their teachers, and parents an For additional information visit www.owl.orgopportunity to gain rsthand experi-ence with youth business. The con- Girls Embrace Technology Intern-ference is broken down into two ships (GET): Supported by CUeducational tracks, – one for students Boulder’s Integrated Teaching andand the other for teachers (a for-credit Learning (ITL) and the Alliance foroption for teachers is available). Technology Learning and SocietyThis year, a track has been added for Programs, GET provides a six-weekthe parents of budding entrepreneurs. IT internship experience to 36 highThis conference targets not only stu- school girls. The objective is to activelydents already engaged in business engage them in a “job-like” experienceenterprises but also those who have to explore their potential for a careera future interest in starting one. in engineering and technology.For additional information please contact:David Cessna, (970) 351-1691 The 2003 interns will create a stand-david.cessna@unco.edu alone multimedia software product to teach elementary-level studentsOWL.org: This FREE service is about the fate of various contami-provided by the National Education nants introduced into river systems.Association and its State and Local For additional information please contact:Afliates. Devoted to “Educators Lucy Sanders at cuatlas@spot.colorado.eduHelping Educators,” OWL.org is an A bout The Jared Polis Foundation The Jared Polis Foundation promotes technol- ogy, community, and education in Colorado. The Foundation currently supports three pro- grams. One of our programs offers the latest technology on a traveling school bus where students learn a standards-based curriculum. Another program refurbishes and redeploys donated computers for education and training in underserved neighborhoods. In addition, the Foundation publishes the Jared Polis Education Report to keep citizens informed about what is happening in Colorado’s K-12 education environment.
  4. 4. F unding Failures & Future FixesColorado is facing its worst economic growth; the Gallagher Amendment, ing fell throughout the 1980s andcrisis since the Great Depression. passed by voters in 1982, limits 1990s, which dropped the StateState lawmakers need to cut expen- the growth of residential property from 18th nationally in 1983 to 39thditures by more than $900 million, taxes. in 2002, according to the Federalabout 15% of the State General Fund Recently, many of Colorado’s edu- government (see chart above).Budget, to create a balanced budget cational leaders agreed to supportthis year. They will also need to a ballot issue to allow the people Some say the roots of the Statedecide how to deal with an expected to change Amendment 23, which fiscal problems are in the tax$870 million shortfall next year. offers some protection to school limitation amendments to the State funding, and in combination with Constitution; namely TABOR andProponents of a strong public edu- major changes to TABOR and the the Gallagher Amendment. Thecational system, including the State Gallagher Amendment to help the mixture of these two provisions, plusBoard of Education, have helped State make it through this nancial permanent tax cuts approved duringlegislators and the media under- crisis. the 1990s, cut local funding to schools forcing the State to pay more, which was still not enough to stop the fall in state per pupil fund- ing. This situation led voters to pass Amendment 23 in 2000. Both of the major Denver daily newspapers have supported this comprehensive approach involving the three amendments. This summer, several state working groups will look at possible changes to these three constitutional amendments which must be approved by voters. Citizens may participate in these meetings and offer their views. For more information contact 303-333-3580 or e-mail Jared Polis at jared@jaredpolis.com or hisstand that the budget can not be As a State Constitutional Amend- policy director Scott Groginsky atxed at the expense of education ment, Amendment 23 protects scott@jaredpolis.comalone; and any major changes in Kindergarten through 12th gradeschool funding must be mixed with educational funding. The measurechanges to the TABOR (the “Taxpay- requires yearly State educationers Bill Of Rights”) and the Gallagher spending increases at the rate ofAmendment. The TABOR amend- ination plus one percent throughment, passed by voters in 1992, 2011 and at the rate of ination there-limits State taxes and spending by after. Voters passed this initiativethe rate of ination plus population because Colorado’s per pupil spend- To request school accountability reports visit our website at www.jaredpolisfoundation.org
  5. 5. N ow Students in Colorado Can Take Courses Online!There is a new type of student in Colorado: the cyberstudent. Currently,over 3000 Colorado students are enrolled in online courses. These onlineclasses can enhance learning for a wide range of students, especiallystudents with the following characteristics: • Students with social difculties • Dropouts or expelled students in physical classroom settings • Students requiring long-term • Students with disabilities or hospitalization or particular learning needs • Students needing access to • Teen parents or pregnant teens advanced or remedial courses unavailable in a physical school.Some cyberstudents also take one or more classes in a traditionalneighborhood school, such as physical education, music, art or othercourses unavailable in cyberschools. Online teachers regularly communi-cate with students by e-mail and phone, and some classes have groupdiscussions online or by conference call. To nd out more about Coloradocyberschools, visit www.jaredpolisfoundation.org/cyberschools