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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 May meeting wrap-up

All members of the El Paso County Colorado District 49 Board of Education were present at the regular meeting in May.Before the regular meeting, the BOE held a ìFantastic 49î and honored the following: Edith Gorgas, third-grade teacher at Remington Elementary School, for helping all students participate in the All Remington Reads program; Mary Carter, third-grade teacher at Evans International Elementary School, for helping students find a love of learning; Lauren Stuart, Sand Creek Zone community liaison, for her work in several positions over the year; Sadie Russell, community engagement liaison at RES, for providing resources to families; and Elise Clark, Sand Creek High School 12th-grade student, for earning a Daniels Scholarship and being named Female Scorpion of the Year for outstanding citizenship, honesty and school pride.Board updateKevin Butcher, vice president, urged community members to get involved with the district, especially since his director district seat on the BOE will be available in November.Ivy Liu, director, said she attended a district military signing event, where students choose to sign up for various branches of the military.Rick Van Wieren, secretary, said he attended the last district accountability advisory committee meeting.John Graham, president, said he thinks it might be good to hold ceremonies to celebrate students who are going into the trades, and wanted to congratulate the about 1,400 students who are graduating this year, not including the about 1,000 students from the charter schools.Chief officersí updatePedro Almeida, chief operations officer, said the district continues to experience a significant shortage in staffing for the transportation and nutrition services departments. He said both departments are down about 30% in their staffing numbers.Peter Hilts, chief education officer, said many of the performing arts programs will be bigger next fall than they have been in the past because of the personal relationships and commitments the teachers involved have been building over the last year.Open forumSpeakers who addressed critical race theory training in the district are as follows: Jeff Hall, guest teacher; Evan Kimes, relative of D 49 community members; and Steve Clark, D 49 grandparent.Speakers who addressed masks and/or COVID are as follows: Stacy Adair; Jake Medley, former D 49 student; Lindsay Moore, incoming parent; Chennan Clubins, community member/nurse; Tim Brockman, D 49 grandparent; and Karen Brockman, D 49 grandparent.Marie LaVere-Wright, former BOE member and D 49 parent, said she was speaking about a discussion item for later in the meeting about a grievance filed against the district. She said the grievance is about special education services at Falcon High School.ìEight months after the incident and six months after the grievance was heard and this board directed that a plan be put in place in six months, the critical staff shortage still remains,î she said. ìFHS still has only 25% of the paraprofessional staff needed to meet our childrenís needs.ìBoard, it was your job to hold Mr. Hilts accountable to have a plan in place at the six-month mark; this is the six-month meeting Ö you have failed to hold him accountable.îAction itemAfter a brief presentation by Jack Pietraallo, transportation director, about the request to increase the family transportation fee cap by $100 and remove the multiple rider discount, the BOE approved the request in a 4-1 vote, with Graham opposed.Discussion itemsHilts presented information regarding the follow-up to the grievance cited by LaVere-Wright earlier in the meeting. He said two external reviews were commissioned and the reports are currently still in development.ìWe are actively redesigning what that program (special education at FHS) and the services of that program will look like for next year,î he said. ìPart of that is already baked into that Zoneís budgeted plan but it will be part of that Zoneís plan and staffing model. This is much more than a Falcon High School issue; it has some macroeconomic implications that I know you are hearing about tonight with the bus drivers and food services workers, but itís also a key factor in our tracking and especially retaining paraprofessionals.îThe BOE agreed to move this forward for action at the June meeting if the report is ready.Bruce Brown, facility project manager, provided updates and status reports on current projects. He also said the target opening date for the new middle school is August 2023.Nancy Lemmond, executive director of individualized education, presented information about revisions to the culturally and linguistically diverse education technician and the coordinator of community care job descriptions.The board agreed to move both descriptions forward for action.Nicole Sides, dean of workplace learning, presented information on a business basics course proposal and a school-based behavior interventionist job description for EIES.The board agreed to move both items forward for action.Amber Whetstine, executive director of learning services, presented an update on local accountability measures with the hope of creating community buy-in.Whetstine also presented information on a proposed temporary elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds manager position.The board agreed to move this item forward for action.Whetstine and Lemmond presented information about two new job descriptions that will be fully funded through the Title Program Grant money. The positions are the Title I family engagement community liaison and the culturally and linguistically diverse education family engagement community liaison.The board agreed to move both job descriptions forward for action.Ron Sprinz, director of finance, presented the proposed 2021-2022 budget and said he had anticipated a 5% increase but the district will be seeing a 9% increase, which is good news. A full report will be presented at the June meeting, he said.The board agreed to move policy reviews regarding staff sick and personal leave, and student absences and excuses forward for action.The next regular meeting of the BOE is June 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Peakview Hall at the Creekside Success Center in Colorado Springs.

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