State School Board: Across the Street, Literally
By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education
During our monthly meeting, as the first week of the 72nd legislative session began, the State Board of Education walked across the street to attend the State of the State address. Jared Polis, our new Governor, reiterated his primary education related promise. “Our top priority this session is empowering every single Colorado community to offer free, full-day kindergarten while expanding free preschool to 8,000 more Colorado children.” The state already pays for kindergarten students to attend for half day classes. Many school districts offer full-day kindergarten, using district funds and parent paid tuition to pay for the additional half day. If the state agrees to pay for free full-day kindergarten for all kindergarten students in Colorado, the estimated cost will be an additional $250 million per year.
In the first week of the new session, 107 new bills were introduced. Seventeen of these involved Education. Of the seventeen, five were sponsored by Democrats, four by Republicans and 8 were bi-partisan. From their introduction the bills will pass through the Senate and House committees, and to both Senate and House Chambers before they become law. Many never get that far, but for now, legislators worked into the night to get their five bills written and submitted by the January 10 deadline.
Under the public-school finance act of 1994 (Section 22-54-115, C.R.S.), the State Board is responsible for determining the monthly amount of money each school district receives from the state. At our January meeting, we certified the December 2018 calculations and distribution. All districts and state distribution amounts were listed. The calculations for January through June 2019 will be certified at the February meeting. All information is available on the State Board of Education website. Here are examples of the state distribution for districts in three counties that I represent: Roaring Fork SD with 5524 students, $1,825,907.67; Garfield 16 with 1163 students, $681,911.92; Meeker with 700 students, $191,591.25; Rangely with 483 students, $288,488.64 and Moffat County with 2106 students, $595,107.88. Throughout all of Colorado, the December distribution totaled $367,678,953.24. (Publisher’s Note: for Lake County School District Numbers, connect HERE.)
In another vote, the State Board approved a Charter School appeal for the SKIES Academy. The SKIES Academy Charter application was initially granted, but later revoked, by the Cherry Creek School District. The State Board found that this was not in the best interest of students, families and the community and remanded the Charter to go back to the local district to work together for a resolution. Charter SKIES Academy, based at Centennial Airport, will be a hands-on, project-based curriculum for 6-8 graders. It will focus on students desiring a possible career in aerospace engineering, piloting and other aspects of aviation.
Thus we begin the first month of the 2019 legislative session and the first State Board Meeting of the New Year.
Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Lake County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in the 29 counties she represents. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.
Grammy winner Bill Miller to perform at CMC
One of the best-known Native American musicians in the country, Bill Miller, will perform at Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Leadville on Jan. 22, 2019, at 7 p.m. The concert is open to the public, and community members are encouraged to attend. Tickets are free in advance and can be picked up at CMC Leadville at the front desk of the New Discovery Building. They will be $10 at the door on the day of the show.
In addition to being a celebrated Native American recording artist, Miller is also an excellent performer, songwriter and world-class native flute player. He has produced more than 12 albums and has received numerous musical accolades, the most notable being three Grammy Awards and six Native American Music Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement award), and he has led Wisconsin’s La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.
Miller also wrote songs with artists such as Nanci Griffith, Peter Rowan and Kim Carnes and has toured with Tori Amos, Eddie Vedder, the BoDeans, Richie Havens, John Carter Cash and Arlo Guthrie.
A Mohican Indian who calls home the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation in northern Wisconsin, Miller began playing guitar at age 12. His music was a way out of the poverty of the reservation. After playing in teen rock bands, he turned in his electric guitar for an acoustic one and began playing folk and bluegrass, later blending in Native American musical conventions.
Besides his musical interests, he is also an accomplished storyteller and painter. His work has appeared in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and many renowned galleries nationally.
He performed the title track on “Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited,” a tribute album to Cash’s 1964 “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.”