Montbello, NE neighborhoods put fight back in motion over DPS school ‘Turnaround’ Plans

Election Day 2010
What's on your ballot?
By Adeeba Folami

Volume 39 Number 36 October 21 - 27, 2010

Obama to Black Press:


"I still need your help."

Special to the Denver Weekly News By Roger K. Clendening Residents representing neighborhoods in Northeast and far Northeast Denver last night called on Denver Public Schools (DPS) to put the brakes on “disastrous turnaround” plans for Montbello High School and northeast feeder schools or face a rebellion from citizen-taxpayers that could include a boycott of DPS schools. Black, Hispanic and Anglo residents, from Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, and neighborhoods in northeast, southeast and southwest Denver, met for hours Wednesday night at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club to craft strategy and tactics in the war to stave off what many of them maintain is more than an educational plan they see as “disastrous” for current and future residents. Using millions in taxpayer-financed but Obama administration “turnaround” dollars, DPS says it will shut down Montbello High School’s comprehensive configuration, replacing it with a 9-12 grade collegiate prep academy for 150 to 200 students per grade that will grow one grade per year; colocate a new Denver Center for International Studies 6-12 grade magnet school within the building; and add a “high tech” early college. Shut Montbello down “disastrously,” just like what DPS did at Manual High School, one neighborhood leader remarked, adding that fellow taxpayers committed to progressive rather than “disrupContinued on page 4

This year's election day falls on Nov. 2 but early voting began locally on Monday at 13 service centers in the Metro area, three of which lie in northeast Denver: the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St.; Hiawatha Davis Rec Center, 3334 Holly St. and the Montbello Rec Center, 15555 E. 53rd Ave. Voters will decide on a number of proposed amendments, propositions and ordinances in addition to choosing amongst candidates running for several state offices. The most high profile race is that for the governor's seat, sought after by the top three contenders: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (Democrat), Tom Tancredo (American Constitution Party) and Dan Maes (Republican). Other races of note include: the U.S. Senate seat with candidates Michael Bennet (D) and Ken Buck (R). Congressional District 1: Diana Degette (D) vs. Mike Fallon (R); Dist 6: Mike Coffman (R) vs. John Flerlage (D) and Dist. 7: Ryan Frazier (R) vs. Ed Perlmutter. In state races, Senate seat Dist. 33 has two Democrats, Mike Johnston and write-in candidate Renee Blanchard running against Republican Lisa Rangle. Dist. 34: Lucia Guzman (D) vs. Derec Shules (R). House of Representatives Dist. 7: Angela Williams (D) vs. Pauline Olvera (R); Dist. 8: Beth McCann (D) vs. Therese-Marie O'Sullivan (R); Aurora's Dist. 42: Rhonda Fields (D) vs. Sally Mounier R) and running in the RTD Dist. B Director's race: Barbara Deadwyler, Miller Hudson and Melvin Bush. Ten measures also appear on this year's ballot, each summarized in the 2010 State Ballot Information Book (SBIB). NOTE: Voters are encouraged to read the SBIB booklet for themselves and consider the pros and cons of each measure prior to casting their vote.

Amendment P: Regulation of Games of Chance: If passed would amend the state Constitution to allow legislators to choose the Department of Revenue to handle administration of bingo games and raffles conducted by non-profit organizations. The Revenue Dept. currently oversees casino gambling and licensing and operates the state lottery. Amendment Q: Temporary location for State Seat of Government – will allow temporary relocation of government headquarters in cases of extreme emergency. Amendment R: Exempt Possessory Interest in Real Property – will eliminate property taxes for people or businesses which use government property for private benefit which amounts to $6,000 or less. Property taxes fund local services related to education, public safety, maintenance of streets, highways and bridges, recreation centers, parks, hospitals and libraries. Government owned properties are exempt from taxation but any income (referred to as Possessory Interest [PI]), a person or business receives from the property is subject to tax. If passed, starting in 2012, this amendment will make PI tax exempt if the amount does not exceed the above stated limit. Amendment 60: Property Taxes – Changes or reduces property tax pay-

ments to school districts, counties, special districts, cities and towns. Currently, state school districts and counties receive 77% of the total amount of property taxes collected. Per SBIB, some school districts have a property tax “for operating schools and a separate property tax to repay loans.” This amendment would require that all districts “cut their 2011 property tax rate for operating schools in half by 2020.” The loss of financial assistance from the tax will be replaced each year with funding from the state.(Voting "yes" indicates your approval of these property tax reductions.) Amendment 61: Limits on State and Local Government Borrowing – Starting in 2011, the state government no longer can take out loans “in any form” and local governments may only do so with voter approval. Currently, such approval from residents is not required. The law would also require a reduction in taxes after the full repayment of current loans and at today's rates, this would result in a $200 million reduction statewide and $940 million in local areas. Per SBIB, the state averages $2.9 billion in loans yearly and spends $2 billion to repay. Local governments average $4.9 billion in borrowing and spend $4.3 billion to repay. Additionally, the measure requires that repayment of new loans take place within 10 years, whereas the term limits on existing loans fall between 20 and 30 years. (Voting "yes" indicates your approval that there should be limits or a restriction on future loans taken out by state and local governments.) Amendment 62: Application of the term Person – Controversial due to its possible impact on abortion rights, this measure would make it law to acknowledge “that a new human life is created at the beginning of biological development” and the law Continued on page 3

By J. Coyden Palmer NNPA - Chicago Crusader -After nearly two years in office and his support within the Black community still high but dropping, President Barack Obama held his first press conference via telephone with Black newspapers. The 25-minute teleconference on October 18 gave the nation’s first African American president the opportunity to speak to the demographic that supported him the most during his 2008 victory. Obama used the time to campaign for support in the upcoming midterm elections, tout the accomplishments that have been made thus far by his administration and listen to a few of the concerns the Black community has raised about his administration. Obama began by speaking to the philosophy of his campaign, “Change,” saying it is important for the same energy that swept the community during Continued on page 7

State | Local News
Betty Funderburke is Absolutely Articulate

Five Points Sustainable Main Streets Initiative Funds Received
DENVER - Gov. Bill Ritter on Wednesday announced a new $1.28 million federal grant that will help four Colorado communities revitalize their downtown business districts through the Sustainable Main Streets Initiative. The funds will help renovate historic buildings and improve downtown walkways in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver, the City of Rifle on the West Slope, the City of Monte Vista in the San Luis Valley and the Town of Fowler in the southeast. “Vibrant downtown business districts are the mark of successful communities,” Gov. Ritter said. “These funds will help Colorado communities improve their central business districts and create a brighter and more sustainable future. Thank you to the federal government for supporting Colorado communities.” Gov. Ritter launched the Sustainable Main Streets Initiative in April, signing an executive order directing state agencies to pool resources to help Five Points, Rifle, Monte Vista and Fowler address needs in their downtown corridors. The initiative focuses on finding solutions that meet the unique needs of these communities and incorporate sustainability and energy efficiency. The effort has been led by Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien and Susan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The grant funding is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation. The announcement was made during a news conference at the BlairCaldwell Library in Five Points. Five Points Business District president Will Alston said his office will announce -next weekhow funds will be allocated and used in the Five Points area.

etty Funderburke, an Aurora businesswoman, has been awarded Toastmaster International’s highest achievement, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). The award is the culmination of her four years of participation as a member of a number of Aurora local toastmasters clubs. To earn the DTM (the highest designation awarded by Toastmasters International), Betty had to give 40+ speeches and executed a number of leadership projects. Two of her favorite speeches were “Angels” and “Creation.” While serving as District Secretary in 2009-2010, she and her sister, Elinora Reynolds co-sponsored a new toastmasters club in Aurora – Absolutely Articulate Toastmasters Club # 1272692. Proudly joining her younger sister, Elinora Reynolds who earned her DTM in 2009, these sassy sisters continue to stand out in the Aurora community as role models and leaders. “I credit God, my parents, and our good family rearing in Kansas City, Missouri where I was encouraged to


speak up and help others as key factors that have made an impact on my life,” says Funderburke who works as a Host Home provider for developmentally and mentally challenged adults. The sassy sisters are members of 5 local clubs including the Absolutely Articulate Club, Aurorators Club, Orbiting Toasters Club, Simply Speaking Club and Toast-a-Matics Club. After joining Toastmasters International in 2003, Elinora encouraged her sister, Betty to join 3 years later. In 2009, Elinora (a local event planner and grant writer) was named Area Governor of the Year and in 2010, Betty was named Toastmaster of the Year in her home club. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches communication and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Absolutely Articulate Toastmasters Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month at 8:45 am at the Life Care Center of Aurora

DPS school ‘Turnaround’ Plans
Continued from page 1 tive” DPS school changes need to remember the history of Black and Brown citizens around the country who often had to resort to boycotts as an effective way to get what they deemed was the most equitable public education services for their children and grandchildren. Moreover, “This is not just about education,” insisted Ron Bush, a long-time DPS employee who also owns real estate in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch. “It’s about gentrification and capitalization,” he explained. Pay attention to shifting and often declining values of homes in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, and how folks will “still” be getting offers for thousands more than their homes are appraised, Bush warned. Already, he noted, there are examples of

Don’t keep your business a secret ... advertise it! Call DWN at 303-292-5158

homes getting sales offers of $150,000 more than their appraised value. Remember, he said, who owns Green Valley Ranch. “Oakwood Homes,” his neighbors chimed in. Why do you suppose Oakwood Homes “adopted” Montbello High School years ago, one neighbor was heard to ask rhetorically. In an interview with DWN after the meeting, a DPS employee who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution by DPS, spoke, too, of the real estate issues related to DPS plans, and said she would answer that question this way: “Because these disastrous DPS changes – part of larger plans to privatize public education by businesses who will recapitalize with our school tax dollars – will better enable DPS and business to cleanse those schools, and these neighborhoods, of Blacks and Browns steered years ago to Montbello and Green Valley Ranch from Five Points and Park Hill to help gentrify those neighborhoods.” Students, teachers, parents, and other residents committed to progressive, transformative changes in DPS schools, rather than the socalled “turnaround” plans for Page 4

Montbello and its feeder schools, were urged to speak out at upcoming DPS meetings: ➢ DPS’s “final report” to the community on these proposals is set for 6:00pm on Oct. 26 at Rachel B. Noel Middle School, 5290 Kittredge St. in Denver. ➢ DPS Board, 900 Grant St. November 8 - Special Public Comment on Turnaround Recommendations (Note: No time listed on the DPS website. Call 720423-3210 to get the time of this “Public Comment on Turnaround Recommendations”) meeting ➢ DPS Board - November 15 Work Session 4:30 - 8:30pm ➢ DPS - November 18 - Regular Meeting 5:00 - 6:30pm Public Hearing 6:30 - 7:30p (This is the meeting during which Board is scheduled to vote the Turnaround Recommendations for Montbello and others schools “Up” or “Down.” To get your name on the roster to speak at this meeting “for” or “against” the recommendations, you need to call the DPS office at 720-4233210 no later than 5:00pm on Friday, November 12)

Denver Weekly News

Thursday, October 21, 2010

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