Just thought I’d give a recap of my day in Colorado Springs at the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) conference at the Broadmoor. Board members Mary Seawell, Bruce Hoyt and I are attending this conference.
First, I want to thank the Colorado taxpayers for making this conference possible. There is a wealth of information at this conference that will make my job as your (unpaid) school board member so much easier and so much more transparent. I am grateful for the taxpayer investment in us board members.
One breakout session I attended today was entitled, “The Mind of the Colorado Voter: How Will Districts Fare at the Polls in 2010?” It discussed some data that Hill Research Consultants pulled together in a sampling of 500 Colorado voters, to see how they felt about their school systems and what their tolerance for funding increases via mill levy hikes or bond initiatives might be.
Generally speaking, Coloradans know that the biggest problem with the education system is the lack of funding, but they are not particularly keen on any funding increases right now. Some reasons for that, obviously, include the state of the economy, with a few things like spending inefficiencies sprinkled in for good measure. Things like teacher quality ranked next but not very closely. The data seems to suggest that Coloradans might feel hamstrung by TABOR.
One data point that really gave me pause was the response of Denver County voters to the question, “How good do you want your schools to be”? You would expect that we’d vote “the best” or “in the top 10,” right? What was shocking was that we said we’d be fine with just “average.” That says to me that voters think DPS is so lackluster that they’re grateful for any improvement at all. Wow.
The next breakout session I attended was entitled, “Start from a Defensible Position: School Law Basics,” which was an overview of how boards should operate under the Colorado State statutes. An interesting takeaway from this session was the legal interpretation that an open meeting records request can be granted in the event that, say, three board members pass emails back and forth and decide on a certain issue via email. The state statutes say that a meeting can be held if there is “quorum” (defined in board policy) or three members present, whichever is less. Very interesting.
Click here to read the state statutes regarding school boards.