Headlines April 15, 2022
Lawmakers Send Budget To Governor
State lawmakers passed a $36.4 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year Thursday. Although the Joint Budget Committee did not honor all the spending wishes by lawmakers, the bill, also known as the Long Bill, passed along party lines.
The Denver Gazette reports lawmakers in each chamber made compromises. The Budget Committee cut a proposal to expand funding for an office of Public Guardianship pilot program in two rural districts and another that increased funding to the Department of Education.
Gov. Jared Polis has 10 days to act on the spending plan.
Former Superintendent Corey Wise Sues Douglas County School District And Its Newly Elected Douglas Board Members
Former Douglas County School District Superintendent Corey Wise has filed complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this week.
Wise says the Douglas County School District and its four recently elected board members unlawfully fired him for implementing a mask mandate and for developing a district equity policy.
According to The Denver Post, Wise says the conservative school board terminated him after he advocated for students. He says his firing was retaliatory and a violation of civil rights laws.
After voters elected a conservative majority to the school board last Nov., the new majority worked to lift the district’s mask mandate, which Wise upheld as part of a successful lawsuit against the mask-adverse and newly formed Douglas County Health Department.
Wise’s complaint also alleges the new board removed all mention of diversity in a revised equity policy. Wise’s policy received backlash from conservatives, who equated the policy to critical race theory.
Shortly after his termination last Feb., the board’s conservative majority said they fired Wise because they did not feel he supported them.
According to The Denver Post, neither the school district nor the members named in the filing have responded to requests for comment.
Immigrant Rights Organizations File Racial Discrimination Complaint Against Guards At Aurora ICE Detention Facility
The American Immigration Council, Immigrant Justice Idaho, and Immigration Equality filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security alleging two guards at the Aurora Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention Facility committed racial discrimination, retaliation, and excessive use of force against two Black immigrants and other detainees at the facility.
The organizations say two guards identified as Alvarez and Perry engaged in egregious behavior against two detainees who they have identified by the pseudonyms “James” and “Musa.”
The complaint demands that the facility fire any staff who have used excessive force or committed civil or constitutional violations. It also requests that GEO Group, the company contracted by ICE to operate the facility, institute corrective measures.
The policy attorney for the American Immigration Council told The Colorado Sun, the two detainees are seeking asylum or protection from torture in their home countries. The attorney also said the complaint could spark a Department of Homeland Security investigation or even the facility’s closure.
The immigrant rights organizations say if the Department of Homeland Security does not sufficiently honor the complaint, which they filed in March, they may take legal action.
State Board of Education Considering Restoring Some Authority to Adams 14 School District
The State Board of Education signaled Thursday it was open to restoring partial authority to the beleaguered Adams 14 School District. According to The Denver Gazette, the Board gave the District six more weeks to develop a plan outlining a partnership with a partial manager that will assist the district in a turnaround effort.
A state review panel recommended the board reorganize the district or close or consolidate the district’s schools.
The State Board of Education could still potentially opt for closure or consolidation of the district’s schools if district leaders do not submit a sufficient plan by May 11.
Adams 14 unanimously voted to end its contract with its previous full oversight manager earlier this year amongst tensions between the district and its management company.
Boulder County Public Health To Release COVID-19 Data Three Times A Week
Boulder County Public Health has updated their COVID-19 data webpage which now includes live dashboards that will be updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The webpage provides access to the county’s total positive COVID cases and cumulative deaths.
The Boulder County Public Health conducted new calculations that removed confusing data from the webpage. For example, they revised inaccurate documentation from Jan. and February’s Omicron surge.
According to a news release, Boulder County Public Health changed the website in order to “provide friendly and accurate information to all users, by focusing firmly on the population of Boulder to avoid misleading information.”