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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 closer to bringing Pikes Peak Community College to Falcon

School District 49 Board of Education held a special meeting Jan. 23 and approved the following actions:

  • A Memorandum of Intent to lease classroom space to Pikes Peak Community College at the “old” Falcon Middle School beginning this summer.Dr. Nancy Wright, superintendent, presented the action item with Dr. Tony Kinkel, president of Pikes Peak Community College. Wright said, “Our community expects an educated workforce. We know some of our kids need an alternative setting to learn. Our kids will have a chance to have dual enrollment into a community college while going to high school. Falcon is doing something that’s brand new.”Kinkel said Pikes Peak Community College would bring 180 college courses to Falcon, including an associate degree program for the arts. PPCC will tailor its classes to the community and will provide niche classes. “We’re excited about this,” Kinkel said” This is a historic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We believe Falcon school district is a leader of what we’re trying to do in this state.”
  • Recommended providers for E-Rate Eligible Services. David Bond, chief informational officer, presented options to upgrade the currently outdated D 49 phone system. He presented the board with three options: to upgrade the existing system, replace the phone system or move to a managed phone system. Bond recommended moving to a managed phone system, citing caller ID, better information in 911 emergencies and ease of expansion as benefits. The estimated cost for the next fiscal year is $513,297. The board unanimously approved to move to a managed phone system.
DiscussionsThe board discussed the option of adding Singapore Math to their current pilot program. Secretary Anna Bartha expressed her support of the program, citing success adopting the Singapore Math curriculum at other schools. She said that it is important D 49 is competitive in the global marketplace. “I want the best for our students.”Jay Hahn, facilitator of the Transportation Advisory Committee, gave a presentation on the committee’s findings on implementing a fee-for-service policy. Options currently under consideration by the board include charging a fee for every rider, charging a fee for children currently not covered by the bus system and a mill levy. He presented an analysis of fee-for-service policies used in Massachusetts and Hawaii. The board and some of the D 49 Transportation Advisory Committee members discussed the complexities of adopting a fee-based service as well as unknown costs involved. Increase in single-parent households due to military deployments were cited by a committee member as a growing problem. Hahn said, “Other districts are looking at what we’re doing with this.” The board recommended the committee develop a survey for parents to assess the needs of the community. The Transportation Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting Feb. 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the auxiliary services building at the D 49 central office.Open forumKaren Hobson started the open forum with a statement she read expressing her dismay with the lack of communication between the board and the D 49 central office. Others echoed her concern citing concerns about the restructuring of the D 49 central office before a new superintendent is appointed as well as hiring procedures for the superintendent position. President Dave Stark said ,”We’re going to have that community input before we filter anyone out.” Stark was referring to the community survey meeting Jan. 30.Leah Lowry, D 49 parent, expressed her frustration about the two-mile walking distance currently in place as a cut-off for bus service. She gave the board a map of her daughter’s route to school, pointing out that she had to walk in the dark on mornings, with no sidewalks. “Half-empty busses pass my daughter on her way to school,” Lowry said. She urged the board to look at the use of the current bus system before expanding to the fee-for-service option.Several math teachers discussed Singapore Math. Cheryl DeGeorge, teacher at SkyView Middle School, said that, although Singapore Math may do well in certain schools, there are cultural implications that need to be considered. “Cultures are different. Do not use it if you have a transient population,” DeGeorge said, referring to D 49 military student population. She also cited the cost of training as a concern. DeGeorge said, commenting on the expenditure, “I’d rather get more teachers. It’s not all about the math textbook.”

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