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El Paso County Colorado District 49

District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) Report for February, 2005

Principal Collins, Jessie Murdock, and I attended the DAAC meeting held on Feb. 1, 2005. After the presentation of the Sand Creek High School report (host of this month’s meeting), the entire agenda (almost) was devoted to a discussion of District 49 planning with regard to dealing with school overcrowding in the aftermath of the mill levy override failure in November.The school board had a very productive retreat on Sat., Jan. 16 where so-called “Plan B” options were discussed. The first decision made was that there will no longer be any full time kindergarten offered in District 49. This was a difficult decision, but it will alleviate the need for as many new modular classrooms to be purchased, which are very expensive. By eliminating full-day kindergarten, we will get to keep preschool.Another important decision that was made is to re-evaluate transportation options, which will result in reduced bus service. No plans have been finalized, but the routes are being scrutinized based on safety first.Many of us are concerned that area developers may contribute more toward our schools. Dr. Ron Wynn and others spoke about the fact that, in Colorado, mandatory developer impact fees are prohibited by law. Several developers are negotiating with the district to provide voluntary impact fees, but the issue is complex. The city and county approve all developments, and they are the only ones that can require anything of the developers. District bonding capacity is limited and tied to the amount of commercial development in an area. The options for raising more money to build new schools, hire teachers, buy books and pay operating expenses are limited.The district steering committee is looking at the various options. One option is to go back to the voters again this fall with another request either for another mill-levy override or for bond issue approval. More money could be raised with a mill levy rather than a bond, but the voters have to approve either one first. Information about the differences between the two options was distributed. Year round schooling is still an option, but not for this coming year or the year after. If it is decided that year-round is the best option, it will be a permanent decision.The manager of the “Commitment for Kids” campaign gave a presentation on how the expenses for last fall’s campaign were managed. A lot was learned from last year’s campaign, and, if we decide to go back to the voters, there were many ideas about how to make the campaign more successful. A voter survey is being compiled.Dr. Wynn also explained that, when he assumed the position of acting superintendent for one year, he agreed to put his hat in the ring with all other candidates at the end of the year. His application for district superintendent is currently being considered along with other candidates. We wish you luck, Dr. Wynn.

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