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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 BOE March meeting wrap-up

All members of the Falcon School District 49 Board of Education were present at the March 10 regular meeting. Naomi Davis from Springs Studio of Academic Excellence was present as a non-voting member of the Student Board of Representatives. Before the meeting, the board held a ìFantastic 49î event and recognized Paula Townsend, district payroll clerk, Debbie Knoerr, payroll manager; and Alie Mann, D 49 12th grade student.The board recognized Townsend and Knoerr, who have worked for the district for 20 and 25 years, respectively, for their dedication and commitment to the district.The BOE acknowledged Mann as the first student in the district to earn an associateís degree while still enrolled in high school. Mann earned the tuition-free credits through the districtís Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment program.Open forumNeva Harold, D 49 resident, said she has been active in education but is new to the area and recently read an article about the trajectory of K-12 education in general, which is geared toward grooming students for their future careers. ìEducation should not be a workforce development program,î she said.Ellen Duckers, D 49 resident and grandparent, said she wanted to thank the board for getting the college program established in the district; her grandson will be participating in the program at Vista Ridge High School.Action itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the following:

  • Springs Ranch Elementary Schoolís revised innovation plan
  • The addition of courses at VRHS: Advanced Placement Physics: Electricity and Magnetism; Advanced Placement Physics: Mechanics
  • A $25 fee for the extracurricular choir program at Stetson Elementary School
  • An update to the District Accountability Advisory Committeeís bylaws
  • The Response Team Leader teacher on special assignment job description
  • Modification of the Power Technical Early College Charter contract and requested waivers
  • Revision of district policy AD, which addresses the districtís identity, vision, mission and philosophy
  • Review and revision of the following district policies and procedures: student records/release of information on students; and relations with charter schools
  • A resolution supporting the Pikes Peak Early College, as requested by the Colorado State Board of Education
Discussion itemsRyan Johanson, district accounting group manager, updated the board on the yearly audit results from the 2014-2015 school year. Because it had been at least two years since the last audit presentation and the fact that GOAL Academy had experienced leadership turnover in the fall, the financial department felt a presentation was necessary, he said.Tom Sistare, a certified public accountant with the districtís auditing firm Hoelting & Company Inc., said the overall financial condition of the district is sustainable. ìYour long-term debt went down by about 7 percent, and there were no compliance findings, which is good,î Sistare said.Regarding GOAL Academy, Sistare said the charter school received a clean opinion from his firm and overall he felt good about everything he saw.Jack Bay, D 49 chief operations officer, said his department has started using the SchoolDude program, which has improved the districtís facilities operating systems. The programís mission is to help all educational institutions better manage their day-to-day operations to provide a safe, functional and comfortable environment for their students and staff through easy-to-learn online systems, he said.ìThe SchoolDude people are allowing us to have their crisis manager program for free to get it up and running, so we can tweak it however we need,î Bay said. Via real-time data, the crisis manager program records how the operations department is performing as a team.Ron Sprinz, finance group manager, presented information on the 2016-2017 budget focus. He said the district is showing a 2 percent growth in the coordinated, brick-and-mortar schools. Next yearís per-pupil rate is expected to be $7,086, up from the current $6,977, he said.Sprinz also updated the board about repercussions of the Claire Davis Safety Act, a bill that was signed into law last June. The district must purchase a $40,000 umbrella insurance policy because it lost some of its governmental immunity under the Claire Davis Safety Act.Peter Hilts, D 49 chief education officer, presented information for review of the districtís policies on custodial and noncustodial parental rights and responsibilities. The plan is to separate custodial parental rights from informational parental rights, he said. ìCustody is only part of the overall parental rights, not all of it,î Hilts said. ìCustodial parents cannot exclude the other parent automatically; we must have a court order to limit parental rights.î The board moved this policy and procedure to the April 14 regular meeting.Other businessDavis said students at Sand Creek High School have voiced concern about moving to a different, blended model of learning. ìIs a blended learning classroom going to have additional teachers, because there will be lots of additional kids in the classroom?î she said. ìNot all students can learn in that environment, and they want to know if there will be an alternative place to study or do work.îMarie LaVere-Wright, BOE president, said blowing out the walls inside SCHS needs some additional thought. She suggested having interested parties visit the Springs Studio of Academic Excellence to see how that model works.The next regular meeting of the BOE is April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the D 49 Education Services Center.

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