The new falcon herald logo.
El Paso County Colorado District 49

BOE meeting

The El Paso County School District 49 Board of Education held its monthly meeting Feb. 10.Amy Matisek, internal communications manager, recognized the following Fantastic 49 recipients for their contributions to the success of the D 49 community:

  • Ingrid Daniel, guest teacher at Remington Elementary for serving in any capacity needed
  • Lino Rodarte, building manager at PEAK Education Center for building relationships with students and staff
  • Finance Department staff ó David Barcus, Fran Christensen, Heather Diaz, Cindy Furlong, Chuck Gilbert, Kendra Scott, Karri Verrill ó for completion of the annual audit report for which they received a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the International Association of School Business Officials
  • Future Farmers of America, Falcon High student officers ó Holly Buchanan, Gabrielle Burkholder, Joe Mills, Riley Spurlock, Lilly Stewart, Jadyn Vignery ó for demonstration of leadership and ambassadorship of the agriculture industry
Chief officersí updatePeter Hilts, chief education officer, thanked community members who spoke during the open forum. He congratulated Empower FZ educators who were recognized at a national conference for leadership as part of the Modern Teacher Framework program: Christine Jensen, Meridian Ranch Elementary; Jen McDonald, Falcon Middle School; and Brian Smith, administrative principal, Firebird Nation campus.Three D 49 teachers received national awards for the following: Jamie Calhoun, Meridian Ranch Elementary and Barbara Frederiksen, Falcon Middle School for personalized learning classroom of the year; and Bethany Stegman, principal, Woodmen Hills Elementary School for change management principal of the year. Falcon Zone received recognition as showcase district of the year and will host the national conference next year. Hilts said that Vista Ridge High School was nominated as Best of the Springs school. Hilts also thanked the facilities team for their assistance with plowing snow and helping advise administration on weather conditions.Pedro Almeida, chief operations officer, attended the CASE conference. Almeida gave a nod to the transportation team for their efforts during recent snow events.Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, said the business office has five open positions, representing 15% of the finance staff. He expressed appreciation for Fantastic 49 recognition given to the accounting team. Ridgway said that a business system conversion will take place on April 1.Student Board of Representativesí updateAeneas Penaflor, Falcon High School, said that ROTC would be hosting a drill competition, inviting all districts in the area to attend and compete. He attended a student board representative meeting and student safety was discussed.Isaac George, Patriot High School, said the students in their school were recently advised on phone use rules.Board updateJohn Graham, president, pointed out positives about the D 49 schools, such as school choice and programs in agriculture, health, veterinary, culinary and engineering. He said, ìWeíre getting blamed as a board, as a district, as administrators for the things that your state Legislature requires of us by law as well as the federal government. If you want the changes that you speak of, you have to get involved also with your state Legislature.î Graham also addressed loss of trust in the board. ìSo I ask the board for a confirmation from each of you to work and try harder to set the example, to be the example for our community,î he said. Graham also requested that community members contact him if they hear rumors, and he will clarify information.Rick Van Wieren, vice president, said he has enjoyed touring schools. He said the district is in the best of times and the worst of times. ìIf you ever get discouraged about how education is going, go see some of our schools. We have amazing teachers; we have amazing principals; and we honestly have amazing programs going on in so many of our schools,î said Van Wieren. He also said the worst of times is because of divisiveness, vindictiveness and vendettas. Van Wieren said other challenges in the district are competition for funding, wage inflation, a ìshrinking workforceî and population growth.Ivy Liu, treasurer, has visited schools and talked with students, teachers and administrators. She said, ìIt is so wonderful to be around intelligent men and women, future men and women that are coming up into the world.îLori Thompson, secretary, recognized the districtís culinary students who provided food at the Annual Planning Summit.Jamilynn DíAvola, director, visited Vista Ridge High School. She said Vista Ridge is working on a program that allows students to shadow careers and experience hands-on training for careers they wish to pursue.Action itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the following:
  • Proposed BOE meeting dates for 2023-2024
  • Proposed revisions to five policies as recommended by the administration
  • District calendars
  • Pikes Peak School of Expeditionary Learning charter school renewal contract for five years starting July 1, 2022, expiring June 30, 2027
  • Job description for dean of student success
  • Proposed new chamber orchestra course description
The BOE approved by majority vote the following:
  • Resolution to declare intent to issue employment contracts to chief officers for 2022-2023
Discussion itemsAt the Annual Planning Summit, Graham presented a list of the boardís proposed objectives for the upcoming school year that includes student achievement, improving culture, improving pay, responsive de-escalation and sustainable inclusive special education.Bruce Brown, facilities project manager, reported that several planned small projects have been completed. He said construction documents for Bennett Ranch Elementary are complete and have been submitted for permits. The project is currently on budget with a scheduled completion for June 2023. The anticipated start date for MS23226 (the new middle school) has been postponed to May 2022 with an anticipated completion date of September 2023.David Watson, director of safety and security, presented statistics on Safe2Tell use, suicide risk assessments, violence risk assessments and monitoring of internet searches. David Pratt, senior safety and security specialist, said that suicide, self-harm and harm toward others have increased since the start of the COVID pandemic. He said, ìYouth mental health is a real concern for all of us.î Emergency preparedness drills are being conducted and documented in all buildings.Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, provided a financial legislative update. Ridgway said the mill levy override matching proposal discussed in an earlier BOE meeting has yet to be introduced.Ridgway said there may be supplemental budget dollars from the general fund, projected to be about $5.5 million if expenses continue to trend as they have.Andy Franko, iConnect Zone leader, reported on the review of Banning Lewis Academy charter schoolís contract. Franko reported several areas of strength and possibilities for improvement. The charter school holds a long-term, 30-year contract with the district requiring reviews at five years. The BOE discussed an amendment to the contract requiring a renewal process rather than a review process.The next regular meeting of the BOE is March 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Peakview Hall at the Creekside Success Center in Colorado Springs.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers