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Schooling in the Era of COVID-19: School Board District Budget Decision Making


Join us on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 from 12:00-1:00pm MDT for a webinar in our series, Schooling in the Era of COVID-19: School Board District Budget Decision Making.

This discussion will cover how school board members can navigate the development of effective school district budgets with rapidly declining revenue. This is a more in-depth discussion and follow-up for the first webinar on school district budgeting earlier this month.

What should district board members and leaders consider when thinking about budget building and cuts?

How can districts ensure that the dollars are going to best meet student needs with a lens of equity in terms of meeting the needs of the most vulnerable students?

How can and should districts think about community engagement and the politics in their community to ensure that budget decisions are informed by the community, research, and data?

The conversation will be moderated by Erica Meltzer from Chalkbeat Colorado, and will include a presentation by Dr. Marguerite Roza from Georgetown University, one of the leading experts on school finance followed by a panel discussion with School Board members from across Colorado.

Sponsored by Chalkbeat Colorado, A+ Colorado, ERN, RootEd, and Gates Family Foundation.

Panelists include:

Marguerite Roza, Ph.D., Georgetown University
Dr. Roza is Research Professor and Director of the Edunomics Lab (, a research center focused on exploring and modeling education finance policy and practice. She leads the McCourt School of Public Policy’s Certificate in Education Finance, which equips participants with practical skills in strategic fiscal management, finance policy analysis, and financial leadership.

Dr. Roza’s research traces the effects of fiscal policies at the federal, state, and district levels for their implications on resources at the school and classroom levels. Her calculations of dollar implications and cost-equivalent trade-offs have prompted changes in education finance policy at all levels in the education system. 

Dr. Roza has led projects on state and school district finance policy, financial equity, pensions, compensation, higher education finance, and other related topics, including the Institute for Education Sciences multi-year study of weighted student funding, the Finance and Productivity Initiative at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), and the Schools in Crisis Rapid Response Paper Series. She has written extensively on financial transparency and the opportunity for equity and productivity. Her work has been published by the Brookings Institution, Public Budgeting and Finance, Education Next, Governing, Peabody Journal of Education, and the American Journal of Education. Dr. Roza is author of the highly regarded education finance book, Educational Economics: Where Do School Funds Go?

Dr. Roza regularly works with state and local policymakers and education leaders and presents at research conferences and to national associations across the country, including the National Conference of State Legislators, National Association of State Boards of Education, Association of School Business Officers, Education Writers Association, and Policy Innovators in Education Network. She is frequently interviewed in the national media, and her work has been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post, and Education Week.

Dr. Roza teaches as part of the Certificate in Education Finance and in programs elsewhere, including the University of Washington, Rice University, and the Broad Center. 

Prior to her appointment at Georgetown University, she served as Senior Economic Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier, she served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy teaching thermodynamics at the Naval Nuclear Power School. Dr. Roza earned a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Washington and a B.S. from Duke University. She also studied at the London School of Economics and the University of Amsterdam.

Susan Miller, Treasurer, Jefferson County Board of Education: Susan Miller began her career as a municipal credit analyst for Standard and Poor’s. She was later a public finance investment banker for Kidder, Peabody & Co., helping municipal issuers across the western United States finance capital programs. She homeschooled four children for five years, and after which she and her family participated in Alberta’s “great education bargain”. Her family moved to Colorado over ten years ago. She was active in the gifted/talented community at the local, state, and national level, ensuring GT was included in Colorado’s ESSA plan. She now works for a K12 consulting firm that advises districts on assessments/enrollment, long-term facility planning, funding and project management. She has published articles for Thomas Fordham Foundation on subjects including gifted education, school board governance and school district management. Ms. Miller is a graduate of Northwestern University and in November 2019 was elected as the District 4 Director for the Jefferson County Board of Education, where she serves as Treasurer of the Board for this $1.2 billion school district, that serves 84,000 children and their families.

Angela Cobián, Treasurer, Denver Public School Board of Education:
Angela Cobián is a first-generation Mexican-American from southwest Denver. Cobián was elected in November 2017 to represent her community of District 2. The first in her family to graduate from college, Angela Cobián attended The Colorado College. Cobián graduated with a Bachelors in Political Science and a Minor in Spanish in 2011.She earned the Fred Sondermann Award in Political Science and membership in the Pi Gamma Mu Honors Society. Angela then returned to her hometown to teach 2nd and 3rd grade Literacy for English Language Acquisition-Spanish students in Denver Public Schools. Cobián concurrently earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado-Denver. In 2013, Cobián was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to consult with the NGO Ensena por Mexico on program development for student-led social change initiatives, as well as teach English at the National Pedagogical University in Mexico City.

Upon returning from Mexico, Cobián returned to the school she taught at as a Bilingual Community Organizer with Together Colorado, an affiliate of the PICO National Network. In this role, she co-lead school and congregation-based organizing with parents and parishioners, working on immigration and education issues. Angela continues her work in collective action as the Manager of Organizing Strategy for Denver and Memphis with Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). In recognition of her work in the community, Cobián was awarded the Denver Foundation’s Swanee Hunt Emerging Leader Award in 2017.

In her volunteer time, Angela is a member of The Colorado College Alumni Association Board and CC Alumni and Students of Color Association. She has previously volunteered with the Denver Foundation, Chinook Fund, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Cobián is also a former trustee of the Colorado College, and served on the Community Planning and Advisory Committee (CPAC) for the 2016 Bond and Mill Levy. Outside of work and volunteering, Cobián enjoys reading, politics, history, listening to jazz and cumbia-punk music, as well as visiting the Denver Art Museum.

Gilbert Patrick “Pat” Mestas, Primero School District Board of Education

I am the CASB representative for Primero Re-2 School District in Weston, Colorado. I graduated from
Primero in 1973 and four generations of my family have attended this school. In the past and currently
I have served on the school board for multiple terms as member and vice-president. My father, my
brother, and I have all been Primero Board members.

While a coal miner, I attended Trinidad State Junior College receiving my license as the first Colorado
class of registered EMTs and an MSHA Certification as an Underground Electrician Apprentice. I was a
nine-year member of Underground Mine Rescue team and a Journeyman Heavy Equipment Operator.

My brother Rudy, my wife Connie and I own the Morning Glory Ranch which is over 100 years old.
My commitment to our children’s education never wavers.