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El Paso County Colorado District 49

December BOE meeting wrap up

All members of the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education were present at the regular meeting in December. Ilana Sherwood, a 10th grade student from Pikes Peak Early College, and Delia Case, a 10th grade student from Sand Creek High School, were also present as members of the Student Board of Representatives.Board updateDave Cruson, treasurer, said he and John Graham, president, attended the Colorado Association of School Boards convention remotely this year, and said it was informative and a great refresher.Rick Van Wieren, secretary, said he attended the district accountability advisory committeeís meeting and is impressed with the commitment of the committee members.Chief officersí updatePeter Hilts, chief education officer, said it warmed his heart to hear the amount of compassion and sensitivity the SBOR (Student Board of Representatives) has for their teachers during this difficult time.Hilts said he and the other chief officers have been participating in focus groups with fellow staff members following the annual Voice of the Workforce survey. ìThere is nothing that we do that is as meaningful and brings as much insight as sitting for an hour with a dozen colleagues,î he said.Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, said the annual audit is almost complete, marking the earliest audit completion in recent years. He said it is a testament to the hard work of the finance team.Pedro Almeida, chief operations officer, said his team is in the process of interviewing for the facility project manager position but there are still significant shortages in the transportation and nutrition services departments.Almeida added that it is important for people to register for the noon meal distribution taking place at seven locations across the district. The meals are free and anyone who has not registered will not be turned away, but it helps the nutrition services department prepare more effectively for each dayís distribution if they have an accurate meal count, he said.Student board of representativesí updateSherwood said the SBOR meetings have been focusing a lot on the adjustment back and forth from hybrid learning to virtual learning. She said she thinks going full virtual again after the break will be easier now that students and teachers have gotten the hang of it.Open forumJennifer Scarselli, teacher at SCHS, said she would like to propose a teacher board of representatives so that there is a true 360-degree model in policy and decision making for D 49. ìThere is a great need for the classroom teachers at all levels to be included in policy creation and decision making at the district level,î she said.Leslie Fischer, Angie Reid, Lisa Reece and Kimberly Thornton ñ- all teachers with D 49 ñ- spoke in support of forming a teacher board of representatives.Mary Lougee, teacher at Vista Ridge High School, said she thought ìteacher liaisons to the Board of Educationî could be a great option to form a conduit from the BOE to the schools.Action itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the following:

  • Revisions to the board policy regarding graduation requirements
  • The AVID (advancement via individual determination) job description to enhance the AVID elective course and prepare students for career, college and post-secondary success
  • The reporting and system specialist job description
  • The revised job description and compensation adjustment for the transportation fleet manager
  • Revisions to board policies. Among those revisions: accreditation; district personnel performance evaluation council; Family Medical Leave Act eligible staff leaves and absences; non-FMLA eligible staff leaves and absences; and more.
  • Certification of a mill levy for property owners within D 49 for the 2020 tax year totaling 43.021 mills, representing a net 2.541-mill tax credit established by House Bill 20-1418
Discussion itemsAlmeida provided an update on the status of in-person learning in D 49 and said there are clear signals that the district should not plan to jump back into in-person learning after winter break. He said that EPC medical partners are saying the earliest return date should be Jan. 19 in anticipation of attendance at New Yearís Eve parties. Almeida added that vaccination for COVID-19 will not be a condition of employment.ìWe are making sure that we have balance,î Ridgway said. ìWe want to make sure that when we bring people back, we bring them back to stay.îHilts said the decision to remain remote after the winter break is not just a safety issue; it is about maintaining a full staffing capacity in the buildings.Van Wieren said in-person learning is obviously the path D 49 would like to take but only when it is safe.Dave Rex, DAAC (District Accountability) chairman, updated the BOE on each of the DAAC subcommittees and their recent discussions.Ron Sprinz, finance group manager, updated the board about enrollment numbers for the 2020-2021 school year and the amended budget.David Nancarrow, director of communications, provided an update on the departmentís performance, including COVID response and the D 49 Dispatch, which will be getting a new look in preparation for a new calendar year.The board unanimously agreed to move certain policy and procedure reviews forward for action at the next regular BOE meeting as follows: student interviews and searchers; secret societiesí gang activity; security/access to buildings; student conduct on buses; school owned vehicles; student transportation; accident reports; educational support staff hiring; licensed staff recruiting/hiring; criminal history record information; staff use of the internet and electronic communications; and staff conduct and responsibilities.The next regular meeting of the BOE is Jan. 14, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. at the Creekside Success Centerís Peakview Hall.

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