These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.


A+ Stay Sharp newsletter: 10.14.20

By Mary Willson

Good morning, Colorado.

It’s been a big week for decisions affecting Denver’s students. Middle and High School students at DPS were scheduled to start transitioning to some in-person classroom time this week. Now, Nov. 9 is the earliest they would return to in-person learning.

According to reporting by the Denverite, Superintendent Susana Cordova sent a letter to DPS staff on Tuesday, citing  an increase in infection rates for children ages 11 to 17. View the DPS COVID-19 dashboard, which shows positive cases in red, citing 245 per 100,000 in the past 14 days.

In this week’s Stay Sharp newsletter, you can find: 

  • Our comprehensive Election Guide about the education issues on your Colorado ballot.
  • Info about our upcoming webinar – “Voting on the State Board of Education: Why it matters”
  • Commentary from A+ President Van Schoales about the importance of the State Board of Education, who oversee all of Colorado’s public schools.

2020 election guide: Education issues on your Colorado ballot // A+ Colorado 

On your ballot this month, there are decisions to be made that affect the educational opportunities for all students in Colorado, including the 911,536 students enrolled in the public school system. How can you join in on our mission, and help drive more equitable funding for our districts? Vote. Many of the ballot initiatives on your ballot tie directly to student funding and those who make policies for all children in public schools.

When we were putting together this guide, we focused a large section on answering questions that voters likely have about the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education yields an extraordinary amount of power within the public school system.

Here’s some of the questions we answered in our State Board guide. 

  • What is the State Board of Education?
  • What do they decide?
  • Is it paid?
  • Why do board members run under political parties?
  • Who is running?
  • Plus, summaries of each candidate in Districts 1, 3 and 7, which are on your ballot.

Also on your ballot are are four measures that directly affect student funding. We put together a guide about what we support and oppose, and why.

Lastly, if you’re in Denver, you’ll see that a Bond and Mill Levy on your ballot, which is “a $795 million bond that would provide funding to build and maintain schools, and a $32 million Debt-Free Schools ballot initiative that would provide operating dollars to fund priorities such as mental health, nursing, and special education supports.” See how this proposed funding breaks down.

All of this in our comprehensive voter’s guide here.  

A+’s special election guide webinar. // Voting on the State Board of Education: Why it matters

As the 2020 election date approaches, A+ Colorado is bringing together a group of State Board of Education experts to inform voters on what the role of the State Board is, and why this campaign matters for the future of Colorado students.
🗓️ Oct 21, 2020 04:30 PM in MST

Panelists:

  • Stephanie Carillo at Colorado Children’s Campaign
  • Sam Battan & Students at Colorado Youth Congress
  • Dan Schaller at Colorado League of Charter Schools
  • Moderated by Valeria Contreras, A+ Colorado

What questions do you have about the State Board of Education? Submit your questions and register to join here.

Musings from A+’s president, Van Schoales.

This year’s election is not only the most consequential Presidential election of my lifetime, but it will also set the direction for Colorado’s public schools with the election of new state Colorado Board of Education Members along with several referenda that will impact our public schools.

Unfortunately, few Colorado voters know the importance of our State Board of Education, who hire our state Commissioner of Education and oversees our public schools.

Public education in Colorado is about 20 percent of the Colorado operating budget, at ~$7 billion per year (this number is more, when spent with local bond revenues).

Colorado is a “local control state,” so school districts retain a good deal of decision making over their budgets, schools, and personnel but the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) distributes billions of funds and interprets our education laws.

CDE sets the direction for our public schools which are arguably the most important factor for the long term development of Colorado. It matters enormously what our state board of education does and more of us should pay attention.

Do take a look at our voter guide and sign up for the State Board webinar to get up to speed on who represents you at the state board of education to ensure they are really working to educate all of Colorado’s students.