State Board of Education to meet today in GJ

Colorado’s State Board of Education will meet today and Thursday in Grand Junction, a rare departure from its typical monthly meeting in Denver.

The board hasn’t met in Grand Junction in at least the six years that board member Marcia Neal, a Grand Junction Republican, has served on the board. Neal said fellow board member and Denver Democrat Elaine Berman suggested this winter having the meeting in Neal’s hometown before Neal’s planned exit from the board at the end of this year. Neal announced in March that she had changed her mind and will seek a second term this fall, but plans proceeded for a Grand Junction meeting anyway.

Three board seats are up for election this year. Neal and fellow board member Jane Goff, an Arvada Democrat, are seeking re-election this fall, but Berman, who is also reaching the end of her first term, is not.

Neal said the board used to travel semi-regularly for meetings but has cut back on travel in recent years to save money. The board’s last visit to the Western Slope was a meeting in August 2006 in Telluride. She doesn’t envision this week’s meeting will start a new trend of meeting around the state, but she is looking forward to bringing the meeting here so locals can attend a meeting and so other board members can see western Colorado.

“The Western Slope frequently feels like we’re left out of conversations. All of the (other) current board members live on the I-25 corridor. I think it’s good for them to get the Western Slope perspective,” Neal said.

The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting in Room 213 of the University Center at Colorado Mesa University includes legislative and school finance updates, an update on state assessments, and discussion of 2015-16 budget priorities. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Public comment will be taken after scheduled items.

Another board meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the same location. That meeting will focus on turnaround or priority improvement plans for Montezuma-Cortez and Ignacio school districts in southwestern Colorado.

Both meetings are open to the public.


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