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""The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.""
– Abraham Lincoln  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 9 September 2021  

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  June BOE meeting wrap-up
  By Lindsey Harrison

   All members of the El Paso County Colorado Board of Education were present at the regular meeting in June, except Kevin Butcher, vice president, who was absent with prior notice.
   
   Before the meeting, the BOE held a “Fantastic 49” event and honored the following: Amber Brown, behavior analyst, for her service to the district during the past year; Austin Beatty, 2021 graduate from Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, for his battle with cancer this past year; Emma Schlosser, eighth-grade student from Horizon Middle School, for her leadership skills in the Junior Optimist International Club; and Jaime Snyder from Vista Ridge High School, Jahzara Davis from Sand Creek High School and Andrew Weisler from Falcon High School — all three Air Force Junior ROTC cadets received full-ride Character-in-Leadership scholarships to earn a college degree and pursue commission in the United States Air Force or Space Force.
   
   Chief officers’ update
   Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, said there are 275 open positions within the district and his team has plans to address that in a presentation at the next meeting.
   
   Pedro Almeida, chief operations officer, said Patty Mize, transportation supervisor, was recognized at the Colorado State Pupil Transportation Association banquet.
   
   Open forum
   Speakers who addressed a proposal by Liberty Tree Academy concerning armed security included the following: Greg Gibson, D 49 parent; Debbie Kocab, LTA staff member; John Chartier, LTA staff; Chelsie Newbum, D 49 parent; and Tonya Morris, D 49 parent.
   
   Jennifer Scarscelli and Allyson Love, district staff members, each spoke regarding a proposed community override initiative and compensation equity for teachers and education support staff.
   
   “D 49 used to be competitive in salary against our neighboring districts. D 49 is now greatly behind in compensation for teachers and educational support personnel,” Scarscelli said. “In the last numbers I heard, teachers’ salary is behind 17% and paras (paraprofessionals) around 24%.”
   
   Regarding compensation equity and equity in pay scales, Scarscelli said, “The longer a teacher is in the district, the more education earned at our own expense and the smaller the (compensation) percentage increase.”
   
   Action items
   The BOE unanimously approved the following:
  • New job descriptions for the school-based interventionist at Evans International Elementary School and the elementary and secondary school emergency relief program manager
  • Revised job descriptions for the coordinator of community care; title program family and community liaison; culturally and linguistically diverse education family and community liaison; and culturally and linguistically diverse education technician
  • A new business basics course at SCHS
  • Revisions to the staff sick and personal leave policy
  • 2021-2022 pay schedules for administrative, professional/technical, licensed, special service providers, educational support, extra and co-curricular staff

   Discussion items
   Almeida presented information regarding building capacity for middle school student education, including boundary and zone adjustments intended to minimize disruption to current families and students, and construction of a new middle school and an addition to Bennet Ranch Elementary School, both of which will be funded using existing fixed-rate mill levy override income.
   
   Representatives from LTA presented information on their proposal concerning armed security, including a description of what their comprehensive security plan entails.
   
   Mary Pérez, director of applied and advanced learning, gave an update on progress within the department, including the growth of concurrent enrollment, pass and remediation rates, course offerings on high school and college campuses and career and technical education student success.
   
   Pérez also provided an update about new applied and advanced learning jobs descriptions, including the choice and success program manager and the choice and success advisor. The board agreed to move this item forward for action in July.
   
   Representatives from GOAL (Guided Online Academic Learning) Academy, Power Technical Early College and Pikes Peak School of Expeditionary Learning presented their budget proposals for the 2021-2022 school year.
   
   Andy Franko, iConnect Zone leader, presented information on a proposed new job description for the charter school specialist and said this position would replace the instructional coach position. The board agreed to move this item forward for action in July.
   
   Franko also presented a proposed job description revision for the zone academic administrator, which would include expanding the position’s calendar from 220 days per year to 260 days per year. The board agreed to move this item forward for action in July.
   
   Lastly, Franko presented information about a revision to board policy LBD –- relations with charter schools — to provide detail on how the district and charter schools will engage with student information and data systems. It ultimately creates the framework to best serve charter schools and meet the compliance requirements related to student information and data reporting, he said. The board agreed to move this item forward for action in July.
   
   Ron Sprinz, director of finance, presented the proposed 2021-2022 budget.
   
   Other business
   After some discussion, the board unanimously voted to add Ivy Liu, director, and Rick Van Wieren, secretary, to the Equity Leadership Advisory Council.
   
   After some discussion, the board unanimously voted to have Liu and Van Wieren work with the district’s legal counsel and administration as necessary to develop a resolution addressing critical race theory by Aug. 31.
   
   The next regular meeting of the BOE is July 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Peakview Hall at the Creekside Success Center in Colorado Springs.
  
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  D 49 updates
  By Leslie Sheley

   The official El Paso County School District 49 school year 2021-22 start days:
   Aug. 2 — first day for kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade 
   Aug. 3 — first day for all students 
   Aug. 9 — first day for preschool students
    
   Dave Nancarrow, director of communications for D 49, said in an email that they are experiencing staff shortages in nutrition services (33 open positions; specifically cafeteria staff) and classroom paraprofessionals for specialized learners. He said, “There is a deep need in these areas, but none quite as critical as our bus driver shortage.” (See the June issue of the NFH for an article on the bus driver shortage.)
   
   Aspen View Homes and D 49 have been in a dispute concerning the appropriation of land for a D 49 school. Nancarrow said the issue is resolved. “My understanding is the company agreed to compensate the district for the land in dispute, and D 49 has since found a new location to build a middle school just east of Barnes and Marksheffel,” he said.
  
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