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Christopher Osher

Gov. Polis’ full-day kindergarten program could bust its budget by $40 million in first year, state survey predicts

Local school officials anticipate near-universal attendance, but state lawmakers only set aside full-day K funding for 85% attendance.


STEM School, site of fatal shooting, secures five-year charter renewal after contentious battle

The Douglas County Public Schools superintendent will conduct a two-year compliance review to make sure the institution has addressed safety concerns


Lawmakers reject Polis’ $3 million budget request, but agree to bolster threat training after STEM shooting

Polis' $3 million request to budget writers was his first policy response following a fatal attack at STEM School Highlands Ranch


STEM School has until June 29 to allay concerns and secure extended charter reauthorization

Huge crowd of parents lines up to support 5-year extension. But some worry administrators are using tragedy to deflect scrutiny of safety, finances and child-abuse allegations.


Douglas County School Board may put STEM School, site of fatal shooting, on short leash

School board will decide Tuesday night whether to restrict charter to one year to address threat-assessment reporting, handling of child abuse allegations and other issues


Colorado’s kindergarten landscape will even out, with benefits flowing to state’s wealthiest, poorest families

A decade after some districts pushed back against Gov. Ritter's full-day kindergarten plan, most consider it essential.


One school social worker quelled a girl’s suicidal thoughts. Colorado hopes a lot more of them can provide a lasting solution.

Lawmakers recently gave a boost to mental health funding in schools, but one notes the “long game” will require even greater commitment


The school at the center of Colorado’s latest mass shooting is a refuge for gifted, tech-savvy kids who sometimes didn’t fit in elsewhere

Parents are fiercely protective of STEM School Highlands Ranch and fighting back against a narrative that it was a pressure cooker headed toward violence


STEM School Highlands Ranch didn’t have school resource deputy because of disagreement with sheriff’s office

The school and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office clashed at the end of last school year over the duties of its school resource deputy. Ultimately, a contract wasn’t renewed for the 2018-19 term.


Anonymous complaint alleged issues at STEM School months before deadly shooting. Officials say it was uncorroborated.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says it has an open investigation into at least one of the allegations in the complaint, which came in a phone call to a top district official


Deadly attack on STEM School — by two suspected shooters — is rare among school shootings

Just two other school shootings in the U.S. have included multiple shooters, including Columbine and a 1998 shooting in Arkansas

Crime and Courts

St. Vrain, with a decade of momentum, is on a “high-tech high” that’s gaining national attention for its students and teachers

Innovations that emphasize real-world experience have northern Colorado students working on everything from rescuing endangered frogs in Peru to using drones to deliver mail


Polis, Democrats will seek voter approval to boost nicotine taxes to raise money for education and health care

The increased tax on cigarettes and a new tax on vaping products is expected to raise about $300 million annually if approved by voters in November, sources say

Politics and Government

Jeffco Public Schools’ security chief was already losing sleep over the Columbine anniversary. And then this week happened.

John McDonald often spends the night at the school in the days before the painful anniversary, but got little sleep when a woman threatening violence came to Colorado


No Colorado school districts meet federal safety standards for behavioral health staffing, investigation shows

A Colorado Sun investigation finds that despite clear connections between mental health and school shootings, far more funding goes to physical security measures

Sun Investigation

Twenty years after Columbine, Colorado schools are assessing an astonishing number of student threats

Some Colorado districts are evaluating an average of four threats per school day. Administrators say the process is sound, but others worry students' civil rights are trampled in the rush to protect schools from liability.

Sun Investigation

Colorado lawmakers seek overhaul for troubled $231 million program meant to help kids catch up on reading

The proposed changes follow reports that the READ Act, which has been around since 2012, has failed to produce significant gains


5,800 Colorado kids in second grade or younger were suspended last year. State lawmakers want to reduce that.

A coalition has worked for 3 years to modify a Colorado law they say disproportionately affects minority and disabled students. It took a deal with rural educators to move forward.


Teachers living in campers: How rural Colorado districts are coping with growing teacher shortage

High turnover, pay below cost-of-living has rural districts hiring from restaurants, coaxing retirees back into the classroom and scouting overseas to fill positions


The Denver teacher strike is over. Now lawmakers are trying to solve Colorado’s chronic education funding problem.

One plan under discussion at the statehouse would raise an additional $451 million every year to educate students, while another would impact property taxes and change how funds are distributed.

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