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El Paso County Colorado District 49

BOE update

Because of the Black Forest fire, the Falcon School District 49 Board of Education met for its regular meeting June 20, rather than June 12. Marie LaVere-Wright, BOE treasurer, addressed the fire: ìAs a district, we recognize the impact of the Black Forest fire on our community. We have talked to the chief officers, the Innovation leaders and the other board members; and I believe we have unanimous approval to waive rental fees on any community facility for any nonprofit organization.îThe district personnel director, Paul Andersen, said an account has been set up for the students and six teachers who lost their homes in the Black Forest fire. Employees can donate funds to the account to help their colleagues and students. The board unanimously approved the 2013-2014 fiscal year budgets for the five D 49 charter schools, including Banning Lewis Ranch Academy, GOAL Academy, Pikes Peak School for Expeditionary Learning, Rocky Mountain Classical Academy and The Imagine Classical Academy.They also unanimously approved the 2013-2014 proposed budget for the district. Chuck Irons, board secretary, commended Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, for his work. ìI was looking at the per-pupil funding of (Colorado Springs School District 11) versus ours, and our budget is 50 percent less than theirs. Youíre delivering a product that is better than D 11, at half the cost,î Irons said.The following action items were also approved: conversion of all district salary schedules to a 2 percent increase; to move the proposal to use hard-to-fill differential pay for all special services itinerant positions to the next regular BOE meeting.With the exception of Chris Wright, vice president of the board, who was opposed, the board approved the proposed staff realignment for the Facilities, Maintenance and Operations department. The realignment will result in an annual savings of $12,587. Wright left the meeting prior to the following discussion item on the agenda.Kevin Butcher, community member and D 49 parent, presented information for discussion about the possibility of the board approving a November ballot issue addressing changes to the districtís governance. Under the proposed new system, the BOE would consist of one board member from each Innovation Zone and two members at-large, Butcher said.ìWe want to have the Board of Education members elected to better represent the district,î he said. Approving this item would allow the BOE to have a voice in the language used on the ballot measure, Butcher said.Irons said he was concerned that, according to state statute, the five members must be of similar geographic make up. ìMy interpretation of the statutes says you canít have three members from the zones and two at large,î he said. ìIf the ballot measure doesnít meet the statutes, youíve wasted your time.îLaVere-Wright said, ìItís very difficult for any one of us (BOE members) to say we are truly connected to the whole district.î She said on the previous board, four members were from the Power Zone and one from the Falcon Zone. The new system would ensure that each zone is fairly represented, she said. ìThis idea is coming from the community,î said Tammy Harold, board president. ìWe have a representative government at every level of government, and I think this (new system) makes it easier to look at those individual areas and represent them better.îButcher said if the BOE declines to approve the item, he and his supporters will petition to get the question on the ballot, but the board would not have input on the language. ìI donít want to exclude the board from the process,î he said. ìIf you want to participate, I encourage it.îSince this item was a discussion item, no action was taken at this time.Following Butcherís presentation, the board entered into executive session to discuss matters relating to the Falcon and Power zones.The next regular BOE meeting is July 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the D 49 Education Services Center.

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