Joyce Rankin’s Across the Street: Learning about CDE
November 5, 2015
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is located across the street from the state Capitol. As a legislative aide and newly appointed member of the State Board of Education (SBE), I'm strategically located to attend the meetings. They're held across the street — hence the name of the column
My new position as a member of the state board began in August, and I'm on a steep learning curve.
Along with a mountain of reading material, I've been able to visit schools, superintendents, school board members, teachers and parents. They all have concerns about public education, so it's been a real listening experience.
A lot of their concerns involve money, which, as we all know, is very tight these days in the state of Colorado. With TABOR limits and other legislation looming on the horizon, we are at the point where we are beginning to refund money while school districts are continuing to ask for more. As a fiscal conservative, I'm quite concerned with the course we are on but have hope that the legislature will take a look at the overall educational picture and work to make it more equitable, especially in our rural areas.
Next month, many Colorado school districts will be looking to the tax payers for mill levy overrides and school bond issues in order to collect additional funds. The problem here is that the citizens, especially in rural areas, are also experiencing tight budgets, and that while fixing a leaking roof in a school seems to be a legitimate concern with reasonable costs, bond issues that include multiple needs and costs may be more of a challenge. It's important for citizens to understand upcoming local issues and the effects they will have on their children, schools, communities and their own pocket books. It's not an easy decision.
Last week I attended my third state board meeting, where we discussed teacher licensure and whether or not to raise the fees teachers are required to pay in order to teach, and continue to teach, in Colorado. With the shortage of teachers, it doesn't appear to be the time to raise the cost of a teacher's license
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This is my challenge, and I'm studying everything I can on the issue. A board vote will be taken at our November meeting.
Also, at the recent board meeting, the chairman appointed me to serve on the State Board Legislative Liaison Committee. They meet, of course, "across the street" at the Capitol.
I'm honored to serve the third congressional district on the State Board of Education.
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