Tuesday Churn: Ritter keeps working

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Gov. Bill Ritter was doing more than packing the last boxes on Monday, his final full day in office. He announced 14 appointments to six state college and university boards, including eight new members and six re-appointments.

Of interest are the appointments of two term-limited Democratic legislators. Outgoing House Speaker Terrance Carroll of Denver was named to the Metro State board, while last session’s speaker pro tempore, Buffie McFadyen of Pueblo West, will become a trustee of Adams State, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

College trustee nominations have to be confirmed by the state Senate, which remains in Democratic hands, and seldom are controversial. Ritter’s making the appointments means one less thing to do in the hectic early days of the Hickenlooper administration and keeps boards at full strength.

Here’s the list:

Colorado State University Board of Governors – Leonard W. Gregory of Pueblo West, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Bonifacio A. Cosyleon of Pueblo, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education – Anthony L. Leffert of Denver, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; James M. Johnson of Colorado Springs, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; John U. Trefny of Golden, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees – Matthew S. Wassam of Sedalia, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Peter R. Decker or Ridgway, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Adams State College Board of Trustees – Buffie McFadyen of Pueblo West, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Timothy L. Walters of Alamosa, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Metropolitan State College of Denver Board of Trustees – Terrance D. Carroll of Denver, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Ellen S. Robinson, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Michelle M. Lucero of Littleton, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Western State College of Colorado Board of Trustees – Linda A. Clark of Denver, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Todd M. Wheeler of Castle Rock, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

On Dec. 22 Ritter reappointed Jose Marquez of Englewood and appointed Kathleen Eck of Edwards to the Mesa State board.

On Monday, Ritter staffers also paused in their packing to publicize three reports touting the administration’s accomplishments. You can read the main one here (the education section starts on page 14). Earlier, the administration released a report on what it saw as the successes of the P-20 Education Coordinating Council.

Also on Monday, for the fourth year, the Denver School of Science and Technology at Stapleton announced 100 percent of its senior class has been accepted to four-year universities. A celebration is planned at the school at 10 a.m. Thursday. There are 86 members in the senior class, which is mostly minority. Read more here, including a breakdown of the universities accepting students.

What’s on tap:

New Gov. John Hickenlooper, along with Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, Attorney General John Suthers, Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Secretary of State Scott Gessler will be sworn in during ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. on the west steps of the Capitol.

Good reads from elsewhere:

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.