Colorado lawmakers could cut K-12 education spending 15% to fill hole left by coronavirus

Colorado lawmakers tasked with crafting a balanced budget cut more than 15% from the state’s $4.6 billion K-12 education budget Thursday afternoon.

At the same time, Colorado schools this week received a $510 million infusion of federal coronavirus relief money from Gov. Jared Polis. That’s in addition to $121 million in federal assistance earmarked for schools.

These one-time funds must be used before the end of the calendar year for purposes related to the pandemic, but they will soften the immediate blow of state budget cuts. Nonetheless, many school districts are concerned state money won’t be restored for years to come, as this is likely to be the first of several difficult budget cycles.

“When we were facing a 25% reduction to the general fund, a quarter of the state budget, it’s pretty incredible that we did what we set out to do and that was to minimize the impact,” said state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, an Arvada Democrat and member of the Joint Budget Committee.

The six-member budget committee was tasked with filling a $3.3 billion budget hole. Widespread job losses and business closures related to the coronavirus are expected to decimate tax revenues. The cut to K-12 education was their final act of an agonizing two weeks that left no department untouched and brought both staff members and legislators to the brink of tears more than once.

Read more at chalkbeat.org.

Chalkbeat Colorado is a nonprofit news organization covering education issues. For more, visit co.chalkbeat.org.

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Kelowna senior arrested after report of shots fired inside home

A 70-year-old Kelowna man was arrested after RCMP responded to a report of shots fired at an Okanagan home.

Kelowna RCMP said it received a report around 4:30 p.m. Saturday of a firearm being pointed at a man in the 700 block of Cadder Avenue in Kelowna.

Further information was provided that the firearm was subsequently discharged inside the residence, police said.

Kelowna RCMP set up containment around the home and all occupants safely exited the residence.

The 70-year-old suspect was arrested without incident, police said.

Officers allegedly located and seized a rifle from inside the residence.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the firearm was discharged at anyone,” Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy said.

“Regardless, it is extremely fortunate no one was injured as a result of this dangerous situation.”

The suspect was released on conditions for a future court date.

The matter has been referred to the BC Prosecution Service for charge approval.

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