The complex issue of school finance and its impact on Cherry Creek schools and students was the hot topic during the Cherry Creek Schools ‘Day at the Capitol’ on March 13. The annual event, sponsored by the Cherry Creek Community Legislative Network (CCCLN), brought three dozen citizens, district employees and the district’s legislative delegation together under the gold dome for discussion on legislative issues affecting public education.
Superintendent Mary Chesley and Board of Education President Jennifer Churchfield welcomed the group before members of Senator Mike Johnston’s staff provided a briefing on SB13-213, Johnston’s proposed school finance funding formula and ballot issue. The 170-page measure has many modifications and technical changes to the current school finance formula and is being watched closely by educators and parents across Colorado.
The group also got an overview of higher education funding from Chad Marturano, Director of Legislative Affairs for Colorado Department of Higher Education. College costs continue to rise rapidly in Colorado and across the country. Cherry Creek Schools lobbyist Tonette Salazar provided an update on nearly 50 bills introduced this session that could have an impact on public education.
On a lighter note, several members of the district’s legislative delegation took time to honor Superintendent Chesley, who will be retiring at the end of the school year. Lawmakers also joined the group for further discussion over a working lunch.
Parents including Ilana Spiegel and Zhonette Brown felt it was important to participate.
“I attended because many of the decisions that are being made about our school, and more importantly our kids, are being made at the Capitol,” said Spiegel. “The district and school administrators often have their hands tied when it comes to both funding and teaching and learning. I have decided as a parent and stakeholder in the district it is time to put my mouth where the money is so the wonderful leaders of the district can make decisions for what is best for our kids.”
“I attended for two main reasons,” said Brown. “First, I want to understand and be able to communicate to my community what is being contemplated for possible legislation that may have the most direct impact on our district and school. It is my hope that our community can be proactive rather than reactive by being informed. And, while I know that our administrators do a fantastic job in this regard, I believe they need the support of the full community. Second, I want our legislators to understand how important education policy is to the voters in our district, that it does impact our voting, and that they should govern and govern themselves accordingly.”
CCCLN is a non-partisan committee promoting awareness of education issues, legislation and the legislative process. In addition to the Day at the Capitol, the group hosts a Breakfast with Legislators in the fall, a Legislative Overview at the beginning of the session, and a Legislative Wrap-up at the end of the session. That event will be held from 9:30-11 am on Wed., May 8 at the Educational Services Center, 4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111.
Posted March 18, 2013.