Headlines December 17, 2020
School Enrollment Declines
Figures released this week show a significant drop in public school enrollment in Colorado…and that decline may bring a drop in state funding. The drop is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Denver Post reports that Colorado Dept of Education figures show a 3.3% decrease in overall public schools students this Fall compared to last year. It’s the first time in over 30 years that statewide enrollment has declined. State funds for local school districts are based in large part on how many kids are enrolled. State lawmakers will take up the issue when they convene in January.
University of Colorado regents took the unusual step of rescinding an honorary degree Wednesday
The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents on Wednesday revoked an honorary degree given to the late Rev. Charles Woodrich. According to independent investigator and former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, Woodrich was one of 52 priests in Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses who sexually abused children between 1951 and 1999.
The Daily Camera reports that three survivors told the attorney general’s office that Woodrich groomed and assaulted them during the 1970’s and 80’s. This includes the time he was a pastor at Holy Ghost Parish in Denver. Survivors continued to come forward after Troyer’s initial report was published in October 2019.
Woodrich was given an honorary doctor of humane letters degree by the University of Colorado Denver in 1986 to recognize his work with the poor and homeless.
Regent Sue Sharkey said that she hopes that revoking the honorary degree might give a little solace to Father Woodrich’s victims. Woodrich died in 1991.
Lawsuit Over Encampment Sweeps Continues in Denver
Testimony continued Wednesday in federal district court over Denver’s encampment sweeps. The city was sued by people who are experiencing homelessness. They want an injunction that will stop the city from clearing out the encampments.
Denverite reports that witnesses told a federal judge that when the city sweeps an encampment they often get rid of people’s personal property in violation of constitutional rights and a previous court order. And plaintiffs say Denver should make the camps safer by providing basic health and sanitation services. They cite Centers for Disease Control recommendations that say it’s better to leave these types of camps in place during the pandemic rather than disrupt the lives of the people living in them.
The city says that was their initial approach at the start of the pandemic but they began clearing camps after increasing complaints from nearby residents as well as concerns over disease spread in the camps and vermin infestations.