State Board of Education advances $29 million budget proposal to legislature

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DENVER – The State Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting advanced a proposal to the legislature to reduce the 2021-22 budget for education programs and CDE operations by $29 million.

The proposed reductions meet the request for state agencies to identify a 10% reduction in their budgets in response to the economic decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The proposed reductions were designed to minimize impact on literacy programs, prioritize support for struggling schools and protect the state’s most vulnerable students.

The proposal continues reductions made by the legislature in the 2020-21 budget to the Computer Science Courses Grant Program, School Counselor Corp Grant and the Local School Food Purchasing Grant. 

In addition, the proposal would trim the BEST Cash Grant program by $8,952,444, and reduce capital for charter schools by $3,182,076. The proposal also would save $1,014,000 by suspending social studies assessments that are typically given on a sampling basis to fourth and seventh graders. The proposal also reduces $500,000 from the Concurrent Enrollment Expansion Program and a $2 million reduction in the Career Development Incentives grant.

The proposal includes a $885,000 reduction in CDE operations and $972,000 in personnel. A full list of the proposed reductions is available on the website. 

Computer science grants for teacher training approved
In other action, the board approved the $335,000 in Computer Science Teacher Education Grants for the 2020-21 school year, including training provided through districts and coordinated by CDE.  The grants are designed to expand teachers’ capacity to provide instruction in computer science. 

Board supports governor’s budget request for Imagination Library 
The board voted to support Gov. Jared Polis’ budget request of $410,000 to establish the Colorado Imagination Library program. Colorado has 26 local communities participating in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a voluntary program that provides an age-appropriate book every month to participating children ages 0 to 5. 

November 2018 order for Pueblo school district temporarily revised
The board revised its November 2018 order requiring Pueblo School District 60 to hire an external entity to fully manage Risley International Academy of Innovation in order to increase student achievement. Understanding the unique challenges that have arisen during the pandemic, the board approved a one-year modification to its order, requiring the district to hire an entity for partial management of Risley and return before the board to provide an update in March 2021. 

Board approves waiver request on concurrent enrollment for charter school in Colorado Springs
A charter waiver request submitted by the Charter School Institute was approved for Thomas MacLaren School in Colorado Springs. The waiver allows the school to offer students access to concurrent enrollment classes while continuing to require students to complete all school-administered courses. Under the waiver, concurrent enrollment classes cannot replace local course requirements for graduation.  

Recognition of outstanding educators
Two educators were recognized as Colorado’s most recent recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. In July, the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House announced its 2019 awardees. Linda Cochran from Altona Middle School in the St. Vrain Valley School District was named the 2019 Mathematics honoree. The science honoree for 2019 is Erin Greenwood from Nevin Platt Middle School in Boulder Valley School District. 

The board also recognized Barbara Taylor as the 2020 recipient of the Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year Award. Taylor teaches at Pomona High School in Jeffco Public Schools. 

Recognition of outstanding student artists
The board recognized the following student artists for their accomplishments in the Colorado Congressional Art Competition:

  • Xan McKenna, Boulder High School, Boulder Valley School District, Congressional District 2
  • Alexandra Hoffman, The Vanguard School, Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, Congressional District 5
  • Ryan Searls, Horizon High School, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Congressional District 6
  • Karly Venn, Lakewood High School, Jeffco Public Schools, Congressional District 7 

Rulemaking Hearing
The board approved the Rules for the Administration of Statewide Accountability Measures for the Colorado Public School System, Charter School Institute, Public School Districts and Public Schools. The approved amendment will permanently change the Unified Improvement Planning submission deadline from April 15 to Oct. 15, beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

Notices of Rulemaking
The board approved the following notices of rulemaking and will hold rulemaking hearings for each of the following sets of rules at its January 2021 meeting.

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