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The Cornerstone of Democracy

Most towns have some sort of "school board," which is tasked with deciding which subjects need to have Biblically-influenced syllabi, taking kickbacks from textbook publishers, and not firing incompetent and/or criminally negligent teachers.

They run for election every few years, filling our medians with campaign signs festooned with grade-school-evocative clip-art like apples and rulers and dunce hats. Their voter's guide blurbs affirm their commitments to teacher-unionism, to social promotion, to eco-awareness, and to our children.

In Denver, it turns out, they have an additional responsibility: entering into financially catastrophic \$750 million derivatives contracts with JPMorgan Chase in order to shore up massively overpromised pension funds:

To members of the Denver Board of Education, it sounded ideal. It was complex, involving several different financial institutions and transactions. But Michael F. Bennet, now a United States senator from Colorado who was superintendent of the school system at the time, and Thomas Boasberg, then the system’s chief operating officer, persuaded the seven-person board of the deal’s advantages, according to interviews with its members.

In retrospect, it's easy to see how a bunch of educators and schoolparents got taken for a ride by some Wall Street salesguys with slick PowerPoint presentations whose area of expertise is taking people for a ride with slick PowerPoint presentations. Luckily, it's not actually their money at stake, and the people of Denver (some of whom likely have kids in the school system) ought to be happy to pony up for the difference.

After all, half-billion-dollar loans to pay pensions to former employees of the public school system are the cornerstone of democracy.

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