Slow Night at the BoE
Dec 11, 2015
Last night’s BoE meeting was mostly uneventful and, after honors and recognition, poorly attended. Even the media table, occupied for the last two years, was vacant. The evening began with a study session about the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The state funding levels are concerning and will continue to create challenges going forward. TABOR (the Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights) was specifically called out by Mr. Rupert as a “danger to funding over time.” Ms. Stevens inquired about how the district would weather a proposed rescission from the State Legislature. District CFO, Kathleen Askelson, reported that she doesn’t expect that this year but there may be a dip in funding next year. She also reported that there is an additional $10 million in the general fund this year.
The most significant agenda item, changing Bradford K-6 to a K-8, was pulled off of the consent agenda for a full discussion. Most of the public comment from administrators, educators, and parents potentially impacted by the decision was supportive. One parent asked the BoE to move slowly and investigate the impacts of the change. Terry Elliott urged the BoE to make a decision in order to align with choice enrollment season and because January will be too late for any boundary changes. The BoE voted to approve the change. If Bradford K-8 does not meet enrollment goals, the change will be reversed.
The most contentious issue of the evening was a planned executive session with district legal counsel, Jim Brannum, focused on Colorado Open Meetings Law and the Colorado Open Records Act. During the second round of public comment, Ryan Seastrem of Americans for Prosperity called the BoE out for a lack of transparency. Seastrem asked that the planned executive session be held in public and all future meetings with the law firm be held in public. Mr. Mitchell asked about the possibility of having the discussion in public and rising to executive session “when delicate questions are asked.” Mr. Brannum stated that it was his recommendation that the discussion be conducted in executive session and recommended against any portion of the discussion taking place in public session.