Volume No. 16 Issue No. 3 March 2019  

   February BOE meeting wrap-up
  By Lindsey Harrison

     All members of the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education were present at the regular board meeting in February, except for Josh Fry, director, who was absent with prior notice. Tyler Horton, a 12th grader from the Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, was present as part of the student board of representatives.
   Before the regular meeting, the BOE held a "Fantastic 49" event and recognized the following: Justis Sokol, a fifth grader from Bennet Ranch Elementary School, for excelling in academics, setting a good example for his classmates and winning the Quarter-Midgets Race Car National Championship; V. Michelle Garrett, accounting technician, for her dedication to excellent customer service and consistently going above and beyond in everything she does; Stephanie Hazelton, teacher at the Academy for Literacy, Learning and Innovation Excellence, for her motivating attitude toward staff and students, her hard work and teaching style and her support of individuality; and Karen Hopper, a volunteer at Meridian Ranch Elementary School, for her dedication and contributions to a positive learning experience.
   Board update
   Dave Cruson, secretary, thanked all the volunteers across the district, especially the district accountability advisory committee, for their hard work and dedication.
   John Graham, vice president, attended the special education advisory council meeting, and said new electronic learning devices were being rolled out, especially for the special ed population’s use. He also learned what each zone is doing with the district’s career technical education program.
   Graham said he attended the Parents’ Choice Night in January, hosted by ParentsChallenge.org at the Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.
   Chief officers’ update
   Pedro Almeida, chief operations officer, said the nutrition services department is audited every three to four years; the last review in March 2015 resulted in 18 areas that needed corrective action and 33 areas in need of technological assistance. The department just completed its most recent audit and had one area needing corrective action and three areas needing technological assistance.
   Almeida said the auditor told them that a district the size of D 49 with just one corrective action needed is unheard of. “To say that we are proud of that program is an understatement,” Almeida said.
   Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, said he has recently attended several meetings, including meeting with key players in the Colorado State Legislature about school finance. “They are bringing us in really early in the conversation, which is good,” he said.
   Peter Hilts, chief education officer, said the leadership team from the Falcon zone was recently recognized as one of seven districts across the nation for “Digital Convergence,” which refers to the effective use of technology to deliver blended and tech-supported learning.
   Hilts said the Harrison School District 2 Board of Education decided to hire a team of superintendents rather than just one person, in large part because of D 49’s encouragement.
   Student board of representatives’ update
   Tyler Horton said the SBOR is supportive of the student mental health posters placed in the schools.
   Action items
   The BOE unanimously approved the following:
  • New job descriptions for the arts integration instructional coach at Inspirational View Elementary School and the zone executive principal for the POWER zone
  • A course name change from one-act play to theatre performance at Vista Ridge High School
  • The newly revised physical therapist job description
  • Review of district policies and procedures as follows: preschool council; sexual harassment; professional staff recruiting/hiring; education support staff hiring; communicable/infectious diseases
  • The long-form vision statement, which is “We endeavor to be The Best Choice in education by respecting the voice of our community, delivering valued pathways for students and pursuing performance excellence.”

   Discussion items
   Thomas Sistare, certified public accountant with Hoelting & Co. Inc., presented his findings on the district’s financial audit. He said the overall financial condition of the district is strong, and he issued an unmodified or “clean” opinion.
   Sistare said the district’s percentages of fund balance to expenditures is similar to last year, which is good for the district.
   Almeida updated everyone at the meeting on the district’s 3B project list. He said the contingency fund for Inspirational View Elementary is tracking well, and the budget is ahead of schedule.
   He said his team will be working scoping the priority 2 projects on the 3B project list and should have a clearly defined path for the summer work schedule. “We hope to be mostly done with those projects by the end of summer,” Almeida said.
   Andy Franko, iConnect zone leader, presented information on a proposed portfolio of a schools specialist job description. He said there is a need, in his zone in particular, for better management of the portfolio of schools for students. The portfolio of schools specialist would work with families to make school options clear and would absorb the current homeschool liaison position, Franko said. The board agreed to vote on this at the next regular meeting.
   Marie LaVere-Wright, president, said three director district seats on the BOE will be up for election in November. Director districts 2, 3 and 4 will have vacancies, she said.
   The next regular meeting of the BOE is March 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the D 49 Education Services Center.
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