4.30.2009

Aquatic Nuisance Species

In response to new state laws, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources has produced new guidelines for the inspection of boats to help stop the spread of acquatic nuisance species (ANS) such as zebra mussels. This document may be checked out from our library, and is also available online.

4.28.2009

Swine Flu

The news has been filled with the recent outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, and several cases have been reported in the United States. As of yet, there have been no cases of swine flu found in Colorado. The governor has issued a press release on Colorado's plans for handling the virus, along with suggestions on actions people can take to stay healthy. The state health department is encouraging people to take precautions to decrease their chances of getting the flu, by
washing hands frequently, covering your sneezes and coughs, and avoiding others with respiratory illnesses. News alerts on the status of swine flu in Colorado along with additional information on the virus can be found on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website.

4.23.2009

Pinnacol Assurance

As the legislature struggles to balance the budget in these difficult economic times, they have started to look toward the State's workers' compensation fund, Pinnacol Assurance. A Joint Budget Committee bill, SB09-273, would, if passed, change the laws "to allow the State to make use of certain funds authorized by statute to be collected by Pinnacol Assurance, and...augmenting state revenues by requiring the transmittal of certain surplus funds of Pinnacol Assurance to the State Treasury..." The State has long been keeping watch over Pinnacol, frequently auditing the company. For more information on Pinnacol's financial situation, see their most recent financial statements, available both online and in print from our library. Previous years' financial statements are also available. Visit our library or, for online reports, visit the State Auditor's website.

4.16.2009

2009 "Long Bill" State Budget

It's the most contentious Long Bill in years as lawmakers try to find ways to cut millions of dollars out of this year's State Budget. The official state budget -- known as the Long Bill because it is, well, really long -- is introduced each spring in the legislature, alternating years between introduction in the House and in the Senate. This year's bill originated in the Senate, and after long debate in that chamber has made its way over to the House. To view the Long Bill and other supporting documents, visit the website of the legislature's Joint Budget Committee.

4.09.2009

Four-Day School Weeks

With the current difficult economic times, many school districts are considering going to four-day school weeks to save money. Four-day school weeks can save the schools on energy costs (heating and cooling the building one less day per week), transportation costs (running buses one less day per week saves on gas), and food service costs (one less day of lunches to provide). Some argue that the four school days, which must be made longer to make up for the loss of the fifth, can be more productive, because the time spent on some non-learning activities such as "settling in for the day" (roll call, etc.) only has to be done four times instead of five, yet the students are getting the same number of contact hours.

To decide for yourself if this idea has merit, or if your child's district is considering this option, take a look at CDE's guidebook The 4-Day School Week. This guide offers the history and the pros and cons of this system, as well as financial and political implications and effects on student performance.

4.02.2009

In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition

The news coverage regarding SB09-170, a bill that would allow children of illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition, may have you wondering what exactly is the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates for Colorado state-funded colleges and universities. By using the tables compiled by the Colorado Dept. of Higher Education, you can compare in-state and out-of-state tuition rates for undergraduate, graduate, 2-year and 4-year programs in all state-funded higher education institutions in Colorado. These tables are also very valuable for those who are choosing a college or university -- the tables can provide valuable data to draw a comparison between similar schools. Especially helpful on this page is a comparison of the mandatory student fees charged at each school. Knowing how much a prospective student will be paying in fees can also be helpful in determining the overall cost of attending a state higher education institution.

4.01.2009

Colorado Complete Count Campaign

A new committee is being formed to increase awareness about the the 2010 census, and to encourage people to participate so that there will be an accurate count for Colorado. In addition to members of the legislature and representatives from state agencies, members of the community are also encouraged to apply for an appointment to the committee. Information about the "Complete Count Campaign" and application forms can be found in a press release from the Lt. Governor.

The executive order explains the importance of participating in the Census:
"This Census will determine how the national government distributes $300 billion annually to fund critical community services and generate jobs. It will also determine how many seats Colorado will have in the US House of Representatives, as well as determine the boundaries of legislative districts. Further, it will provide valuable information for both the state and nation as they make decisions regarding land use and resource planning, economic development, workforce development, health services planning, housing needs planning, and community needs planning."

Additional information about Colorado's participation in the 2010 Census can be found on the State Demography Office website.

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