Tag Archives: efficiency

Leaner Budget Times Call for Colorado Schools to Post Finances Online

It’s going to be a tough fiscal year for education officials used to managing ever-expanding tax-funded budgets. 2009 just might be a year in which policy makers and administrators find ways to cut out the fat and focus the lean spending on classroom success. One way to help is to empower everyday citizens – like my mom and dad, and thousands of other Colorado taxpayers – with detailed financial information online so they can help find cost savings. What am I talking about? It’s called online financial transparency. Can you imagine if school districts and other local education agencies all had searchable databases on their websites that allowed you to see exactly how money is being spent? What once was a distant dream is fast approaching reality. My Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow explains it all in his new backgrounder Shining the Light on Colorado School Spending. Transparency promote greater public accountability and confidence that local schools are being run efficiently and effectively. In many cases it also pays for itself. Today’s technology means it requires little time and cost to put up these databases. Hopefully, some Colorado school district will take the lead and do this on its […]


Westminster Switches to Standards System (the Next Doogie Howser?)

As I look forward to my full-time education here in Colorado, I have to wonder if innovative ideas like the program Westminster School District has started will catch on. From a 9News report (including video) (H/T Complete Colorado): The district will shed the traditional kindergarten through 12th grade system in exchange for a standards-based model with assessment levels of one through ten. Students of different ages will be grouped together by assessment level. Students can only move on the next level if they show proficiency in the standards at their level. “There’s nothing magic about nine months in a classroom or at a particular grade level,” said [superintendent] Dr. [Roberta] Selleck. “The critical component in our standards-based model is that time becomes the variable.” This model was developed by smaller school districts in Alaska. Adams 50 will be the first larger school district in the nation to eliminate grade levels, certainly the first in Colorado. Dr. Selleck says this will allow students to learn and advance at their own pace. Some students will be able to move up levels during the school year, while others may take more than one school year before moving up. Wow! I just have a […]


Offering a Different View on Denver Area School Bond and Tax Elections

In an interview yesterday with reporter Nelson Garcia of 9News, our own Ben DeGrow offered a different point of view on the bevy of school district bond and mill levy elections slated for the Denver metro area this November (H/T Mount Virtus): Ben DeGrow is the education policy analyst for the Education Policy Center within the Independence Institute, which is a conservative political think tank. DeGrow says too many middle class families are coping with high gas prices and a poor real estate market to think about raising their own property taxes for schools. “This may be a tough year for JeffCo and other metro school districts to be asking for money,” said DeGrow. JeffCo is just one of the major districts around Denver poised to ask voters for money this fall. Denver, Aurora, and Cherry Creek have also expressed the intent to place bond issues or mill levies on the November ballot along with a number of other districts across Colorado. DeGrow says school districts place bond issues and mill levies on the ballot during presidential elections because that means more un-informed voters will come to the polls. “You’re reaching into a base of voters who don’t necessarily have […]