City schools flunk 2 initiatives

Tax cuts, language plan opposed

The Denver Public Schools board on Wednesday voiced its support for local control and more money for schools by weighing in on state ballot initiatives.

The board unanimously passed resolutions condemning two conservative initiatives. One, dubbed English for the Children, would limit most bilingual education to one year. DPS’ court-monitored English Language Acquisition program moves most non-English speakers to English classes in three years.

Board member Sue Edwards called English for the Children ‘a flat-out infringement’ of local boards’ constitutional duty to run schools.

The other, Taxcut 2000, the work of anti-tax activist Doug Bruce, would reduce state and local revenues by almost $ 3 billion over three years.

‘The effects are insidious and dangerous,’ board member Bennie Milliner said. ‘It will eventually wipe out every tax but sales tax.’

On the other hand, the board urged voters to sign petitions in support of a proposed ballot measure that would release enough state income tax money to school districts to outpace inflation by 1 percent for 10 years, then match inflation thereafter.

The DPS resolution said that ‘state funding to schools has not kept pace with inflation for 10 of the last 13 years, causing school districts to increase class sizes, cut important programs and take other cost-saving measures to stretch scarce resources.’

Also Wednesday, the school board approved a compromise with a new charter school, the Denver Arts and Technology Academy, that had been locked in a conflict with the board over the school’s location. It will open in August at a DPS-owned building at West 29th Avenue and Zuni Street, but after five years must move south of Colfax Avenue and west of Interstate 25.

The school wanted to locate permanently in northwest Denver and bought a building there, but board members held the school’s founders to an original proposal to locate in the southwest quadrant.

In other action Wednesday:

Interim Denver schools chief Bernadette Seick kept her top lieutenants by her side as the school board approved a restructuring of the DPS cabinet.

Seick was assistant superintendent for secondary education before she became acting superintendent in May. Her top aides in secondary education were Lawrence Lindauer and Marge Tepper.

Tepper was promoted Wednesday to become Seick’s replacement, with a title of interim assistant superintendent for secondary education. Lindauer will remain an aide to Seick, with a title of executive director of the office of the superintendent.

Carla Santorno was elevated from the No. 2 to the No. 1 spot in the curriculum/instruction department.

Finally, board President Elaine Gantz Berman urged members of the public to obtain copies of, and comment on, the district’s new improvement plan. It’s available by calling 303-764-3424, or on the Web at

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