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El Paso County Colorado District 49

August BOE meeting wrap-up

All members of the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education were present for the regular meeting in August, except for John Koster, who was absent with prior notice. Lorelai Westerlund, a student from Pikes Peak Early College, and Taylor Thorp from Falcon High School were also present as members of the student board of representatives. The meeting was held at the Creekside Success Center with limited in-person attendance because of the coronavirus.Before the regular meeting, the BOE held a ìFantastic 49î event and honored the 2020 Teachers of the Year, the 2020 Service Stars and the 2020 Support Stars from the district.Board updateKevin Butcher, vice president, thanked the chief officers for following the boardís protocol regarding the upcoming school year and the D 49 ìReturn to Learn.î The board gave the chief officers the authority to make decisions based on guidance from the EPC Public Health Department, and Butcher said they did a good job following the protocols.ìWe are always going to have people unhappy with what we do,î he said. ìWe are sorry but we have to make decisions and I appreciate it. Letís do our best this year.îJohn Graham, president, echoed Butcherís sentiments and said, ìWhat I want everyone to understand here in this room and in our district, the intent of District 49, the chief officers, the Board of Education, the staff, is to safely educate the children, your children that you entrust to us, and to make it a worthwhile education to get them ready for adult life.îChief officersí updatePeter Hilts, chief education officer, recognized Patsy Prettyman, the districtís lead school registered nurse, for her hard work and coordination during the COVID-19 pandemic.Pedro Almeida, chief operations officer, said the meal program that was offered in response to COVID-19 ended, and the regular D 49 meal service began in mid-August. The regular meal plan allows registered D 49 students who qualify for a free or reduced lunch to receive their free lunch, while students who do not qualify must pay the normal lunch fee, he said.Almeida also said the district upgraded its old server to a new one, alleviating significant server vulnerability.Open forumCommunity members spoke out about concerns regarding the districtís ìReturn to Learnî plan, including the difficulties facing families of children with special needs. Those students will not receive necessary services if they are not learning in-person.Action itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the following:

  • Appointment of John Graham to serve as the board representative at the Colorado Association of School Boardís 2020 delegate assembly
  • A student fee of $200 for Chromebook replacement, to be applied to student accounts when a Chromebook device is either returned in non-working order or not returned in time to be processed and re-deployed for subsequent use
  • The administrative secretary and receptionist job description
  • Flexibility to graduation requirements to ensure that the class of 2021 is not unfairly burdened or constrained by the impacts of COVID-19
  • A resolution to define ìactively engaged in the educational processî and student attendance for the 2020-2021 school year
  • Addition of remote working language to certain job descriptions
  • Temporary approval of the board policies as follows: prevention of disease/infection transmission; student absences and excuses; communicable/infectious diseases; visitors to schools; and workplace health and safety protection
  • Temporary revisions to policies reflecting Title IX changes made by CASB to meet emergency conditions
Discussion itemsJoshua Harbaugh, facility project manager, provided an update on projects completed over the summer and funded by the 3B mill levy override money. He also said the addition to the Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, which will house PPEC, was finished this summer.Dave Watson, director of safety and security, and Dave Pratt, safety and security specialist, provided a performance update including Safe2Tell reports, the hiring and training of six armed security officers and Enhanced Security Community Advisory Team initiatives.Ron Sprinz, director of finance, provided an update on the budget and said the corrected budget is on the D 49 website. He said the per-pupil funding will likely be lower than it was for the 2019-2020 school year, which will affect the amended budget that the department is currently working on.Hilts provided a ìReturn to Learnî implementation update, including the SBOR consensus that they would rather start back to in-person learning slowly so there is a higher likelihood of having a more normal spring semester.The next regular meeting of the BOE is Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the D 49 Education Services Center.

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