Courts, education dept. joins state hiring freeze |

Courts, education dept. joins state hiring freeze

DENVER ” State courts and education officials said Friday they will honor a request from Gov. Bill Ritter to freeze hiring until the state can determine the economic impact of the meltdown on Wall Street.

Education commissioner Dwight D. Jones also agreed to delay expanding full-time kindergarten facilities at Ritter’s request.

Ritter announced the hiring freeze on Thursday and also ordered a halt to new construction. He said the freeze could be lifted if state revenues improve.

The education department said it has received 46 applications to build or improve facilities to expand access to full-day kindergarten programs. The Legislature had set aside $34.5 million for that purpose. Those applications will be put on hold, Jones said.

State courts will begin a hiring freeze starting next Friday. New employees who have accepted a position before then will still be hired.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey said that even though the judicial branch is independent from the executive branch, it has a duty to ensure taxpayers are protected.

Education commissioner Dwight D. Jones said he too will honor Ritter’s request to control spending.

Ritter also asked the education department to delay grants to expand full-day kindergarten facilities, and Jones agreed.

The University of Colorado System, which isn’t covered by the freeze, said it would review all openings carefully before deciding whether to fill them.

CU President Bruce Benson said the university is trying to determine what effect the construction freeze will have on a project already under way on the Colorado Springs campus and on two planned renovations on the Boulder campus.

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