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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 redistricting and mill levy override

District 49 voters approved the use of director districts to pick their Board of Education representatives in 2015 on a ballot measure that passed by a margin of 3-1. Since then, directors represent five different geographical boundaries, which brings us closer to the people we represent. This past year, D 49 was faced with a statutory requirement to evaluate director district boundaries and ensure compliance with Colorado Revised Statutes 22-31-109 (2018) Specifications for Director Districts; and Colorado Revised Statutes 22-31-110 (2016) Changes in Director Districts. D 49 reviews the director districts after the federal census and after the county realigns voting precincts based on the population changes identified in that census. In accordance with the statutes, the director districts are to be 1) as equal in population as possible, 2) composed of complete voter precincts, 3) contiguous, and 4) compact. More detailed information can be found on the D 49 website and in the presentations (Jan. 12 and Feb. 11 meetings) in our BoardDocs repository. Following a D 49 survey of roughly 350 respondents, options 1 and 2 were the most popular and considered the most compliant. At the Feb. 22 BOE meeting, the Board voted 3-2 in favor of option 1 as presented by the administration, which is the most compliant with being as equal as possible while still meeting the other three criteria.Rick Van Wieren, Lori Thompson and John Graham voted for compliance. Jamilynn DíAvola and Ivy Liu voted against the motion and preferred not to address redistricting until after the election. These boundaries will be presented to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder in anticipation of this yearís November election. For information on Option 1, visit Go to meetings (the last meeting will be featured on the page you open); look for the meeting Feb. 22; on the left hand side under Action Items click on 5.3; Agenda items will come up and then scroll down to director recommendations. You will find information and maps. BOE strategies and financial supportThe D 49 Board of Education met on Feb. 11 to review this yearís strategic objectives and determine if new ones should be pursued. The board moved the four objectives to the Feb. 22 meeting. The four objectives include 1) Student Focus Objective: Improve Math Outcomes; 2) Staff Focus Objective: Pursuing Local Financial Support; 3) Operational Focus: De-escalating High Impact Behaviors; 4) Governance Focus Objective: Restoring Stakeholder Trust in the BOE. On Feb. 22, the BOE voted 3-2 in favor of these Strategic Objectives after modifying the first objective to read ìImproving Math Achievement and Outcomes.îThe second objective is the Staff Focus Objective: Pursuing Local Financial Support. The BOE would like to determine if there is public support for a mill levy override increase. In order to pursue local financial support, the BOE is seeking to hire an outside consultant to gage taxpayer support, focusing on a single-item ballot measure to increase teacher pay for a 10-year period, with a significant caveat. D 49 wants to tie the continuation of the mill levy override past a fifth year to student achievement and outcomes. This is an innovative concept in the same vein as ìpay for performance.îStudents are still recovering from the COVID-19 ìlearning lossî as well as experiencing disruptive behaviors that affect academic learning. The metrics are yet to be determined. Keep in mind that these metrics will have to go beyond the annual state standardized testing known as CMAS ó Colorado Measures of Academic Success. I have spoken to Colorado Department of Education representatives, politicians, parents and educators who understand our state standards need to be more clearly written and academically rigorous. I also believe that if CMAS is to be used as a measurement, it needs to be drastically improved and take less time to administer. This will allow students to spend more time in the classroom instead of waiting for a test. Growth scores using assessment systems such as STAR 360 and Acadience, taken three times a year, tend to be a much better measurement of students performing at grade level. This vote on strategic objectives is just the start as the D 49 administration will now prepare more specific action plans and intermediate steps on how to achieve these objectives.

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