November 18, 2022
DPS School Board Rejects Second School Closure Plan
The school board to Denver Public Schools rejected Thursday, another revised school closure plan revealed by the district’s superintendent moments into their meeting.
Just as board members were ready to discuss and vote on closing five schools during last night’s meeting, Superintendent Alex Marrero introduced another revision to the school closure plan that further reduced the number of recommended closures to two schools, Denver Discovery School and Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy.
Earlier in the week, DPS officials reduced a recommended list of 10 school closures to five, with the district placing the recommendation for a board member vote Thursday evening.
The superintendent said he made the additional change after hearing objections by students and community members at a public comment session the district held earlier in the week.
The Denver Post reports most board members expressed dismay over the last minute revision and questioned if Marrero’s actions violated open meeting laws by not being noticed on the school board’s agenda.
According to the Denver Post, all but one board member voted against closing the two schools while also unanimously revoking a resolution directing the superintendent to develop a consolidation plan.
During the meeting, board members expressed they and district officials will still need to decide on how to address the challenges caused by low enrollment.
Congressional District 3 Race Likely Heading To Automatic Recount
County clerks in Congressional District 3 released updated vote results Thursday showing Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert maintaining a lead over her Democratic opponent Adam Frisch by 551 votes.
The Denver Post reports only Moffat County still had ballots left to report and the number of ballots remaining to be tabulated from the county is 25.
The latest unofficial posting by the Secretary of State’s office was around 8:30 pm last night.
With the margin of the votes in the race being less than 0.5 percent of the votes received by the leading candidate, the race is likely headed to an automatic recount as required by Colorado law.
According to Colorado Public Radio, an automatic recount will not likely change the outcome of the race based on historical precedent.
The last day for election officials to complete a statutory recount is December 13th.
Denver Audit Says City Lacks Resources To Handle 2023 Trash & Recycling Changes
Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien announced Thursday he and his staff recently completed an audit examining the city’s trash and recycling services which revealed critical issues as the city will launch a new volume based program in 2023.
O’Brien says because the city’s Solid Waste Management Division is severely understaffed as well as working with an aging and unreliable fleet of trucks, the division will unlikely be able to handle the upcoming changes and expanded services for volume-based pricing or otherwise known as the “pay-as-you-throw” program.
Under the new program, the cost of trash pickup for users will be based on how much a residential unit throws away, while recycling and compost materials will have no extra charges.
According to O’Brien, Denver had a 21% vacancy rate among its trash service drivers as of last summer and predicts the rate will double as the city needs more staffing for expanded recycling and composting services under the new volume pricing program.
Among other criticisms, O’Brien also said Denver spent more than $10 million dollars on repairs for aging trucks, while a new truck would cost the city approximately $350,000.
State Appeals Court Gives Billionaire Couple Second Chance To Pursue Tax Refund
The Colorado State Appeals Court has sent a tax refund case by billionaires Phil and Nancy Anschutz back to District Court. The Appeals Court ruled that Judge J. Eric Elliff made an error in dismissing the Anschutz case and has ordered Judge Elliff to reopen the case. The appellate court agrees with Anschutz case after reversing the dismissal of the lower court case yesterday.
The Anschutz case argues that the Anschutz’s “excessive business losses” in the year 2018 qualify them for a 8 million dollar tax refund.
The Colorado Appeals court agrees with the Anschutz’s position that Colorado does take on any federal tax rhetoric and came out saying that the CARES act does apply to the year 2018. In the original dismissal, Judge Elliff argued that the Anschutz’s case could diminish state government funding.
The case could have broad implications for more taxation and revenue cases across Colorado as more could file refunds if the Anschutz receive a favorable outcome in their case.
Fort Collins City Council Votes Against Minimum Wage Increase
After months of discussion, the Fort Collins City Council voted unanimously against a minimum wage increase during its Tuesday meeting.
According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, council members hope to revisit the issue with more community engagement and have scheduled another vote May 16th.
City staff recommended a minimum wage option informed by resident and business owner feedback that would increase an hourly wage to $18.74 by 2030, with pay increasing incrementally by one dollar annually for the first three years and then using an estimated consumer price index to calculate other future increases.
The Coloradoan reports about a half-dozen people, many of whom were business owners, spoke against the issue prior to the council’s vote and said a wage increase would cause harm to their businesses. One small business owner supported the minimum wage increase.
Boulder Public Library Features Photo Exhibit By Homeless Artists
The Boulder Public Library opened a new photo exhibit Thursday displaying the works of Boulder’s unhoused population.
According to the exhibit’s organizers, the analog photography project, titled Lived Experience, aims to elevate the stories of people experiencing homelessness to inspire social change.
Visual artist B Goodell of Unboxed Photography, collaborated with the organization Feet Forward by distributing cameras and allowing participants to capture visual expression and images on 35mm black and white film.
The Boulder Arts Commission provided grant funding for the project which will be on display at the library through mid-January.
Boulder Launching “Snow Much Fun” Self-Guided Augmented Reality Tour
The City of Boulder, through a partnership with Downtown Boulder and the art technology company Novaby, are inviting community members to explore Boulder’s downtown area in a brand new self-guided augmented reality tour called “Snow Much Fun”.
The city says, starting Sunday, November 20th, outdoor signage will instruct visitors to scan QR codes using their smartphone camera, which will prompt the automatic opening of Instagram.
Through the Instagram filters, users will then be able to experience content in 3D.
The city says eleven winter wonderland or experiential activations will be along Pearl Street and the Boulder Public Library area.