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El Paso County Colorado District 49

February BOE meeting update

The Falcon School District 49 Board of Education met Feb. 14 for its regularly scheduled meeting. Several items were brought before the board, including the innovation plan for Sand Creek High School.The Sand Creek innovation plan features local and state waivers that focus on the authority to determine schedules and school hours and the ability to develop and implement curriculum, said Ronald Hamilton, assistant vice principal.The plan also highlights new educational pathways that lead directly to career paths, Hamilton said. The pathways include a media and communications pathway focused on skills in the technical, graphic design and marketing industries; a visual and performing arts pathway with courses in the business of arts, and training that encourages students to participate in internships; and an engineering and technology pathway that will include partnerships with local businesses.Sean Dorsey, Sand Creek innovation leader, said the ultimate goal of the plan is to ìgive staff and the community a voice in education.îThe plan was approved in a unanimous vote and will now be submitted to the Colorado State Board of Education for approval as a school of innovation.Agenda setting meetingsThe board revisited revisions to specific policies regarding board communication both internally and with administration and staff, as well as agenda-setting duties. Part of the proposed changes require the board president and vice president, the chief education officer, the chief operations officer and the chief business officer to be present at all agenda-setting meetings, as reported in the Feb. 2 issue of The New Falcon Herald.Board President Tammy Harold said she acknowledged there will be several new members after the election in November: ìI realize it would be hard for a working individual in the future to attend day meetings,î Harold said.Chuck Irons, board secretary, said he felt the meetings could take place with two board members present.ìI donít agree that it could be any two members,î said Chris Wright, vice president. ìThe leadership has to be together. The president and the vice president should be required to attend those meetings; and, if either canít, then any other member can attend. The presidentís role in this board is just too powerful; they can go back and run their entire agenda.îMarie LaVere-Wright, board treasurer, echoed sentiments from previous meetings: ìI have the same objections to these revisions. I still think itís redundant and poor policy.îThe board voted 4-1 with LaVere-Wright opposed to amend the policy revisions. The revisions require the president to be at all agenda-setting meetings. If the president is not able to attend, the vice president will act as the president at that particular meeting.ApprovalsThe board unanimously approved the following: the GOAL Academy charter school transfer contract; appointment of the district accountability advisory committee; a contract with Trillion to provide the E-Rate 2013-2014 Voice Over IP; and revisions to the districtís organizational chart.Early in the meeting, Wright made a motion to table the action item regarding the districtís strategic plan, prompting discussion and comments from BOE members and community attendees.ìI thought we were going to approve this item first (before hiring a CEO) so that the CEO was able to see a clear vision on D 49,î LaVere-Wright said. ìWe need a clear plan in order to have coherence in our vision to make sure we hired someone that fits into our vision for the district. I think at the very least we should have a public discussion about it.îHenry Allen, board member, said, ìThe CEO, CBO and COO should all have a say (in the strategic plan). The board is interfering in the business of the district too much.îìI think itís a good idea to bring them in and give them an autonomy to adjust it (the strategic plan) using their expertise,î Wright said.ìIím disappointed that it got to this point on the agenda, where we had 20 to 30 people work on this and now it hasnít moved forward,î Harold said.Several community members also voiced disappointment that the strategic plan wasnít moving forward, some of whom had helped design it. Karen Hobson said, ìWe paid an awful lot for the Flippen Group to help develop that plan, and we still donít have anything.îThe Flippen Group attended the board retreat in January to help facilitate discussion among the board members regarding such items.The motion to remove the item from the agenda was approved in a 4-1 vote, with LaVere-Wright opposed.Legal mattersPaul Andersen, personnel director, presented information on a potential new board policy that prohibits unauthorized recordings of conversations and communications. ìA policy like this protects kids and keeps people from bating each other,î LaVere-Wright said. ìIt allows people to know that this stuff isnít OK.îThe board directed Andersen to further clarify the legalities involved with this type of policy.The board discussed changes to contracts with special services providers to clarify their job requirements under the new Senate Bill 191. The board voted to move it forward as an action item.The board reviewed different solutions for communicating with state lawmakers about potential legislation that could drastically affect school finances. The board directed Andersen to gather more information and bring the item back for discussion.The next regularly scheduled board meeting is March 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the education service center.

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