Public Questions

Questions from the Public Raised at the 1/14/14 Town/Gown Forum

Collaboration in Boulder

  • If collaboration and opportunity and unity are the platforms for future planning, what does success look like on a 5-year horizon?
  • It takes a village, as we saw with the flood that impacted our community. How are you planning on communicating to your community to assist your initiatives?
  • Can any of you speak to the quality of human-to-human interactions? We in Boulder like to think we are open-minded and tolerant and inclusive and behave in respectful ways to each other, but truly there is a lot of room for improvement in the city, business community, schools and university. How can we improve human-to-human interactions within each?
  • With resiliency a key focus of the City, how could the partners collaborate to set up the design of a program plan to the next level?
  • So wonderful to hear from representatives of the educational, business, and city governing communities. Please consider opening this collaboration to the scientific and arts communities. I believe their perspectives are critical as well.
  • How can faith communities be invited into this conversation? – [given]… the resources available in our congregations, synagogues, etc.
  • What additional opportunities similar to this [forum] exist for us?
  • Who might take the lead in bringing the community together in creating a truly integrated environment with opportunities for everyone?

Engaging the Latino Community

  • How are each of you working on helping the Latino business community, its families and their education, given that it is an underrepresented and underachieving community?
  • Your institutions and businesses are key and pioneers in our community, education, and commerce. Given the statistics of newcomers and a growing diverse population in Colorado, how do you and the institution you represent bring awareness of diversity, provide for inclusiveness programs, and offer spaces and resources for integration?

(I would like to extend your invitations for businesses to partner or collaborate with the community organization Barrio E’, a unique project in Colorado – based and founded right here in Boulder. It aims to bring awareness of diversity and hold programs enhancing inclusion and integration of our community through Afro-Caribbean arts.)

  • I’m surprised that none of the panelists talked about innovation in the areas of opportunity for diverse populations. Could you all please speak to that point?

Engaging Lower Income Communities

  • Many business schools provide their students with the opportunity to create wealth by providing them with investment portfolios. If, as Josie Heath said, the opposite of poverty is opportunity, do you think that providing a similar opportunity for high school students living in poverty could help close the achievement gap and help give our youth the necessary tools to overcome poverty as adults? If so, who do we talk to?
  • How can all of you create stronger and more effective partnerships to focus on and solve the challenges of poverty in our community that Josie Heath spoke of in her opening words? What ideas do you have for reducing poverty here?

Advancing Education

  • K-12 schools in the U.S. rank poorly in comparison to K-12 schools internationally. Why is this and what needs to be done to once again make our education system an international leader in the rankings?
  • You speak about the importance of early [childhood] education. What is your thought about the new state childcare rating system that puts a high value on stuffed animals in the a classroom and thus punishes programs that emphasize academics in these age groups.
  • I am fearful BVSD is complacent in thinking our schools are some of the best. But we are only comparing BVSD to the rest of Colorado. Why are we not setting the bar higher and comparing BVSD to other like-minded towns like Mountain View, California or the state of Massachusetts that requires all teachers to hold Masters degrees and participate in PISA [Program for International Student Assessment] to keep tabs on their student growth, compared to the world?
  • What specific educational reform issues could be applied to BVSD from outside of Colorado?
  • Can you provide job shadow programs to improve K-12 impact using business community volunteers? They could emphasize the importance of staying in school. Who can you speak to at the school district level about this, and would this be a step forward?
  • Is the school district addressing the new state standards, and how?
  • Please speak to the basics of increasing the safety of our students within BVSD and the university?
  • How might leadership from K-12 education, higher education, and the business community collaborate to increase funding for education?
  • How can the competition for public funding be addressed to create a win-win approach [for education]?
  • The City of Longmont and St. Vrain Valley School District have free internet access for all low-income students. Because the internet is so critical for student success in grades 6-12, plus adult job searching, can we as a community adopt this model for the City of Boulder and BVSD?
  • Has the school district and/or the university considered forgoing the 4 percent of funding the state gives us to free us from mandates and allow us to innovate in ways that we are unable to do now?

Boulder as an Innovation Hub

  • How to engage the broad community – in terms of diversity, lower income residents, etc. - in innovation? Who can or should lead a discussion to do this?
  • We typically see Boulder as a tech innovation community. How do you see the role of agriculture and the robust food movement here?


  • How can we bring these four entities together to significantly step up what we can achieve in a diverse and robust transportation system?

Workforce Housing

  • How can we bring these four entities together to significantly step up what we can achieve in a diverse and robust affordable housing system?
  • How are affordable housing needs being addressed when rents are going up and pushing out the very people that live and work here?
  • It seems the city and the university should be working together to redevelop underutilized housing areas that now house students in former houses. The university should build student housing and the city should redevelop family housing. Is this a direction or strategy that is under consideration?
  • How can the City of Boulder provide affordable housing for the middle class workforce? What does that look like? How do we accomplish that?

Energy, Sustainability & Resilience

  • We have discussed a good amount about collaboration of our city leaders and how these entities cross-function. How do we become more sustainable as a community? How do we become more energy efficient as a city, but as a school district, as a university, as a business community? Do we have a way to measure this and report back to the citizenry?
  • If we were designing the model of a resilient community (top of the 33), who can and should drive this process and how can we involve the innovators in our community?
  • How does health and wellness impact your individual goals and priorities?
  • Municipalization of the electric utility: If the city does take over rates and there is an increase, would that spike be passed on to students?
  • Municipalization of the electric utility: If/when the energy utility is taken over by the city would CU stay with the city, stay with Xcel, or begin to produce its own energy?
  • How are you working together to address environmental sustainability?
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