Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs and a veteran voice on education issues, won’t seek reelection in 2012.
Redrawing of legislative district boundaries has put King in the same new district as Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, and King told Education News Colorado Tuesday evening that he’s bowing out in favor of his colleague.
King’s decision means that Senate Republicans will lose two members with deep experience on education issues after the 2012 session ends. Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, is term-limited.
“As you know, I have a passion for giving students a quality education. Instead of running a campaign for a year against a good friend, my focus will be to creating the best high school in the state,” King told EdNews.
King is administrator of Colorado Springs Early Colleges, a state-authorized charter school that focuses on preparing students to complete their high school diplomas while also taking college courses.
King previously served in the state House, where he was deeply involved in school finance issues, and he has been at the center of key education debates in the Senate. He teamed with the unlikely ally of Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, to sponsor Senate Bill 09-163, which created the state’s current accountability system for districts and schools.
King also has carried a variety of charter school bills, with mixed success, and has worked on legislation to reduce college remediation rates. He’s expected to carry a bill in 2012 that would require high school students to take the Accuplacer test to provide an early indicator of college readiness.
Because of his command of legislative procedures and bill drafting, King has the nickname of the “Amendment King.” Members of the Senate Education Committee – and lobbyists in the audience – dread late-afternoon meetings when a bill comes up for consideration and King announces he has “just a few amendments.”
Outside the legislature, King has served on the Cheyenne Mountain district school board. Spence also served on a school board, in the Cherry Creek district, and also served in the state House.
And Spence also has worked across the aisle with Democrats on key education bills. She was a prime sponsor, with Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, of Senate Bill 10-191, the educator evaluation law.
Another key Senate figure on education, Democratic Sen. Bob Bacon of Fort Collins, also will be leaving the Capitol after the 2012 legislative session because of term limits.
Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Bacon also served in the House and was a high school and community college teacher and a member of the Poudre school board.