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

D 49 expands school choice

The School District 49 Board of Education met Jan. 13 and took the following actions:

  • Amended the Nunn construction agreement for work at Vista Ridge High School to reflect the school’s decision to not serve deep fat fried food and return all of the deep fat fryers it had ordered for the cafeteria. The amendment results in a credit of $7,389.
  • Amended contracts to install telecommunication systems at Vista Ridge High School. The amendment results in a debit of $54,473.52.
  • Repealed the district’s Inter-district Choice/Open Enrollment policy and revised the district’s School Choice/Open Enrollment Transfer policy. The resulting School of Choice policy allows parents to enroll their children in schools and programs outside of their attendance area. Programs include the International Baccalaureate and science, technology, engineering and math programs, a technology school and a variety of career academies. The policy gives priority to students living in D 49. The district will take applications until Feb. 4. Applications are available at
Becky Carter, director of elementary education services, presented a plan for complying with the state’s request for the district’s plans with regard to full-day kindergarten.The state requires Colorado school districts to provide full-day kindergarten, although kindergarteners are not required to attend full-day classes. Funding for full-day kindergartener programs is provided by the state.D 49 currently has two full-day kindergarten teachers at Odyssey, Springs Ranch and Stetson elementary schools and one full-day kindergarten teacher at Evans, Falcon, Meridian Ranch, Remington, Ridgeview and Woodmen Hills elementary schools.Carter said the district has a waiting list for full-day kindergarten. Jody Fletcher, the district’s military liaison, said she spoke to several military families that have moved to D 49 on the premise that full-day kindergarten is available, only to find that all of the full-day kindergarten classes are full.The plan would add 15 full-time teachers at an estimated cost of $40,000 per teacher for a total of $600,000 per year. The plan also requires two new bus routes at a cost of $17,000 per route per year and eight new modular buildings (two classrooms per building) at a cost of $1.6 million.The board approved the full-time kindergarten plan with modifications.Doug Peden, executive director of human resources, provided a report on the district’s recruitment plan for the 2008-2009 school year. According to Peden’s report, the district is not projecting an enrollment increase for the first time in more than a decade. The final projected enrollment will be made early in February after the choice window closes.Open forumStetson Hill Elementary School Parent Teacher Association representative Tammy Harold said Stetson has five third-grade classes. Four of those classes have 28 students and one has 29 students. Harold pointed out that district policy requires a minimum of 28 students to have a teacher aide assigned to a classroom. She asked the board to consider assigning teacher aides. “These students will be taking CSAPs for the first time, and we are concerned that they won’t do well. The teachers are doing too much crowd control and don’t have enough time to teach,” Harold said.Board secretary Anna Bartha asked Eric Paugh, assistant superintendent of learning services, to arrange a meeting with Harold.Darryl Murphy expressed his concerns that the applicant pool for the athletic director position is small and consists mostly of local candidates. He asked the board to consider recruiting in Denver and nationwide.Representing the Future Teacher Education Association, Mary Lougee read a letter expressing the FTEA’s concerns about the qualifications being advertised for the superintendent position. “The qualifications are meager. Most of our teachers meet or surpass the qualifications that have been posted,” Lougee said.”Applicants should have a doctorate degree, not just a masters degree and should have K-12 teaching experience, with superintendent experience preferred. How can a superintendent be effective or respected without these qualifications? We need a nationwide search for the most qualified candidate,” Lougee said.Bartha said the board is already looking at improving the requirements, and board member Clawson said they don’t want to arbitrarily exclude excellent candidates.Teacher Elaine Olsen said she is concerned the search for the new athletic director is focusing too much on football and baseball to the exclusion of other activities. “We have former students who are getting parts in movies. This is where some of our kids shine. Please consider other activities as an equal partner with sports,” Olsen said.Bartha said she is a big supporter of other activities and agreed to consider experience in other activities when reviewing the candidates. “The candidates have been reviewed and we think we can get someone better,” Bartha said.The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the district’s central administration office at 10850 Woodmen Road.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers