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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 BOE July meeting wrap-up

With all members present, the Falcon School District 49 Board of Education held its regular meeting in July. Prior to the meeting, the BOE held a ìFantastic 49î event and recognized the efforts of the districtís communications department.The board approved an application from the James Irwin Charter School collaborative for the creation of the Power Technical and Trade Academy for grades 6-12 that would operate in D 49. Chuck Irons, BOE director, voiced concern that one of the application evaluators had a relationship with the staff and administration at the school, creating a conflict of interest.Peter Hilts, chief education officer for D 49, said the potential conflict was disclosed and potential impacts were identified prior to the evaluation process. ìWe are satisfied with appropriate disclosure and appropriate practices taking place,î he said.After some discussion, the board unanimously approved the application. Kevin Butcher, board treasurer, said, ìThere are a lot of people who are really excited about this academy. There is a serious lack of skilled tradesmen.îThe board unanimously approved the remaining action items:

  • Renewal of Evans International Elementary Schoolís innovation plan
  • A memorandum of understanding with the Colorado Digital Board of Cooperative Educational Services that assigned certain activities to Brett Ridgway, D 49 chief business officer, and Dianne Kingsland, D 49 science, technology, engineering and math coordinator; in exchange for compensation from the CDBOES for those activities
  • A professional development date change from May 6 to Aug. 28 for the POWER Zone for the 2015-2016 school year
  • Appointment of Butcher as the D 49 delegate to the Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms board and Marie LaVere-Wright, BOE secretary, as the D 49 delegate to the Colorado Digital Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
  • The CEOís updated annual evaluation metrics
  • Administrative reorganization to ensure district staff reports to the appropriate chief officer
  • Revisions to board policies regarding sexual harassment, preschool council, first aid training and homeless students ó based on recommendations from the Colorado Association of School Boards
  • Revisions to board policies regarding the school districtís legal status, the annual report, notification of board meetings, quorum, school board work sessions and retreats, policy adoptions/suspension/repeal, relations with election authorities and relations with other schools and school systems
  • A resolution for an official notice of intent to participate in the coordinated election and appointment of Donna Richer, executive assistant to the BOE, as the designated election official
  • A resolution for the call for nominations for school board director candidates
  • Revisions to the existing director of culture and services and executive assistant job descriptions to reflect current responsibilities
After much discussion, the board chose to postpone a vote on the resolution for director of district board representation until July 16. The board would like to obtain additional clarification so the correct wording and information is included on the November ballot question.As a discussion item, Ridgway presented the BOE with a plan to refinance the districtís general bond debt currently slated to mature in 2021. The plan would save the district almost $16 million and pay off the districtís outstanding general bond debt by the end of 2016. Ridgway said the plan will not increase taxes and would actually reduce taxes after 2016, if approved. The board agreed to bring the plan as an action item to the Aug. 13 meeting.Mike Pickering, POWER Zone leader, provided background information on the zoneís current innovation plan and aspects of the new innovation plan. He said the plan rescinds the current planís calendar waiver so each schoolís calendar aligns with the rest of the zone and keeps the curriculum waiver, which allows for leeway in how teachers plan and implement the state-required curriculum. Additionally, Pickering presented information on the proposed school-level innovation plans. Both the zone-wide and school-level plans were moved to action items at the Aug. 13 meeting.Matt Barrett and Jennifer Johnson presented information on the Peak Partners Strategic Initiative, which aims to bring together businesses and community members to determine ways to get involved in the district.Paul Andersen, director of human resources for D 49, discussed the creation of an employee handbook, which the district currently does not have. Andersen said every district employee will get a copy at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.Lou Fletcher, coordinator of cultural capacity, talked about the student handbook. He said the previous code of conduct document, which is the student handbook, was too long and did not communicate the districtís intent to parents and students. Fletcher and the District Accountability Advisory Committee revised the document and plan to monitor and continue revising it, as needed, he said.Fletcher also presented information on a proposal to reclassify the position of central enrollment supervisor. The new classification will allow the supervisor to act as the day-to-day manager of enrollment operations. There is a salary difference between the original position and the reclassified one, but Fletcher said the money saved from overtime and through a stipend will pay for that difference. The proposal will be brought to the August meeting as an action item.Fletcher also presented a proposal on behalf of Cheryl DeGeorge, principal at Falcon High School, that changes the job description of one campus security officer to lead campus security officer. Currently, the campus security officer is already performing the required additional duties, without appropriate compensation, he said. The Falcon Zone would pay for the additional salary allotted to the revised position. The proposal will move to the August meeting as an action item.Amber Whetstine, executive director of learning services, discussed a CASB-recommended policy revision regarding literacy and reading comprehension assessments. ìThis policy brings the district up to speed and into compliance with a law that was already in practice across the district,î Whetstine said. The policy revision will be presented as an action item at the August meeting.The next regular meeting of the BOE is Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the D 49 Education Services Center.

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