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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Among discussions: new positions, new school, improving athletics department

The D 49 Board of Education approved the following items at their Oct. 11 meeting.

  • New personnel: assistant superintendent; director of curriculum, instruction and assessment; and chief information officer to the district’s credit card policy
  • Nunn Construction for $22,900.12 for work at Vista Ridge High School – paid by the Owner’s Contingency Budget.
  • GE Johnson Construction for $15,448 for work at the new Falcon High School.
  • Changes in the amount of $11,331.91 for telephone and security systems installed by the district at the new Falcon High School.
  • An increase of $2,000,000 to the 2007-2008 budget to cover the cost of mitigation and testing to determine the cause of the mold found at seven D 49 schools in July; Laine Gibson, the district’s financial officer, said the cause of the mold is still under investigation, and it is not clear if the district’s insurance carrier will reimburse the district for the costs.
  • An increase of $35,000 to the 2007-2008 budget to cover the cost of the election in November; Several governmental entities that were going to be part of the election have pulled out, so the cost of the election has increased for any entity holding elections, including D 49.
Gibson also said the district does not expect another big influx of students from military families this year. He said the district is currently down by about 200 students.Henry Reitwiesner, director of planning and construction; Jim Walsh, construction manager; Mark Carara, Falcon High School principal; and Dave Bond, chief information officer, reported on the move from the old Falcon High School to the new Falcon High School.Carara said the students were given tours of the new school last week. He estimated that 75 percent of the move has been accomplished. “Falcon school district has arrived!” Carara said.”Dave Bond did a spectacular job in two and a half days,” Reitwiesner said. Bond said he and Dell representatives unpacked 266 computers, along with 500 other pieces of computer and network equipment, and got the computers up and running.Randy Johnson, director of secondary learning services, discussed recommendations for improving D 49 athletics.Johnson said the board had asked him to study school athletics in response to parent concerns about questionable hiring practices and poor communication with parents. He also referred to the restructuring plan the board approved in the spring.Johnson recommended that the district:
  1. Hire a district athletic director to oversee all aspects of D 49 athletic programs, including staff, mission, vision and implementation of the restructuring plan
  2. Form a parent advisory council for athletics at the school and district level
“Athletic programs must have input from parents,” Johnson said.Superintendent Dr. Nancy Wright said she has received e-mails from parents indicating that athletic programs at the middle school level are a concern, too.Board secretary Amy McClelland said she supports Johnson’s recommendation 100 percent. “It’s what we’ve needed for years,” she said.Board treasurer Randy Brungardt supported the recommendation, as well as board president Dave Martin. “I don’t believe we’ve been doing the right things,” Martin said. “We’ve had games with no medical personnel present and no procedures to follow.”Board director Anna Bartha suggested the search for an athletic director focus outside of the area. She said cost is an issue when the district is down 200 students. Gibson said the budget can cover the cost.Board vice president Dave Stark expressed concern about some past advisory councils that weren’t successful. “That’s why having a specific charge and a specific timeline is so important,” Wright said. She cited Cindy Hardin’s transportation advisory council as an example of a successful council.During the open forum segment, parent Barry Hicks talked about problems with the athletic programs at Falcon High School.Hicks said he had gotten his kids interested in football and soccer before high school. “But then I heard rumors from parents that ‘you’re wasting your time. When you get to Falcon High School, it will all fall apart,'” Hicks said.Hicks described the Falcon High School athletic program as “a losing program.” For the last five years, 43 percent of games have been won and 57 percent lost, Hicks said. “The two-year trend is down for more sports than up.”The new high school should be a great opportunity to make changes. We want change to occur as rapidly as possible at the district level as well as the high school level. I want my kids, who have now graduated, to come back to a winning team for their 10-year anniversary,” Hicks said.The next board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at the D 49 administrative offices at 10850 E. Woodmen Road.From the D49 Web site:
  • The district’s attendance area committee has posted a new proposed attendance area map (Blue) at, plus revised attendance projections for the four proposed maps.
  • D 49 received two charter school applications in September: the Classical Academy in Indigo Ranch and Classical Academy in Forest Meadows Charter School.

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