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El Paso County Colorado District 49

March BOE meeting wrap-up

the regular meeting in March. Taylor Thorpe, a student at Falcon High School, also attended as a member of the student board of representatives.Before the regular meeting, the BOE held a ìFantastic 49;î and, in collaboration with the Falcon Education Foundation, they honored the following: Karen Bixler, instructional coach at Stetson Elementary School; DeDe Bolke, volunteer at Vista Ridge High School; Benjamin Brown, aerospace science instructor at Sand Creek High School; Greg Cox, dean of students at Patriot High School; Elizabeth Dalzell-Wagers, assistant principal at Horizon Middle School; Karen Duncan, special education paraprofessional at the Academy for Literacy, Learning and Innovation Excellence; Jeric Goin, 8th grade student at Falcon Middle School; Darlene Hammann, retired registrar at FMS; Sˆndra Rymer, discovery professor at ALLIES; Kortney Sorensen, former P.E. teacher at FHS; Cathy Tinucci, retired principal at Skyview Middle School; and Riley Trujillo, 5th grade student at ALLIES.Board updateDave Cruson, treasurer, thanked the D 49 wellness committee for coming together to have a discussion via Zoom, and address the mental and social emotional well-being of district students and staff.Rick Van Wieren, secretary, said he attended the recent district accountability advisory committee meeting and is gratified to see the level of care the parents and staff members have for D 49.John Graham, president, said he attended the majority of the Leaders in Literacy conference and it went well.Graham said he also attended the Rocky Mountain Restorative Practices conference and added, ìKids that become hopeless, become helpless. The focus of the conference was restoring that hope, and I know thatís something that District 49 can help with among all of our children, helping them feel that belonging and feeling accepted and feel that resiliency.îOdyssey Elementary School students also participated in a national Braille competition, and FHS participated in a national conference on convergence, Graham said.Chief officersí updatePedro Almeida, chief operations officer, said some progress has been made in hiring staff in the transportation department. Since January, his department has interviewed 24 bus drivers and have 15 in the hiring process.ìEven if we get those 15, that is still less than half of the number of drivers that we are short,î he said. ìWe still have a long way to go in order for us to provide transportation services across the district.îSimilarly, Almeida said the nutrition services department is about 31 short of 98 possible positions.Almeida said his department is also ìsetting the chess pieces on the boardî to start the process of building a new school. The selection process for a designer and a contractor is complete, and the district is working on the land acquisition process with a target of August 2023 for opening the new facility.Open forumChiquinquira Rivero, a student at SMS, spoke about her concerns that the district plans to have students attend in person on Fridays after spring break. She said the school has had Fridays as remote learning days, and making the change now would have a negative impact on students and teachers.Action itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the following:

  • Strategic objectives for 2021 as follows: upgrade support to address disruptive and harmful student behavior; foster mental wellness for students and the workforce; elevate local accountability measures and systems; secure community leadership to increase school funding; implement a comprehensive strategic communications plan; optimize facility planning and configuration; and sustain and extend enhanced security
  • Revisions to the board policy regarding paid sick leave
  • A resolution for the districtís Purple Star Designation and a resolution designating April as the Month of the Military Child
  • A review and refresh of policies and procedures as follows: fiscal management goals/priority objectives; financial administration; federal fiscal compliance; fiscal emergencies; funding proposals/grants and special projects; grant applications; grant approval process; grant applications and funding requirements; revenues from investments/use of surplus funds; banking services and deposits of funds; bonded employees and officers; fiscal accounting and reporting; record of fixed assets; audits/financial monitoring; bidding procedures; sales calls and demonstrations; payroll procedures/schedules; tax sheltered annuities and salary deferrals; cash in buildings; community use of district real property; guest user policy; community use of real property insurance requirements, real property rental rate sheet, district real property; individual high school track use licensing agreement; and student activities funds
After some discussion, the board unanimously approved a boundary change for Remington and Evans International Elementary schools to relieve future overcrowding at RES with the development of new homes in the area.Almeida said current students in RES would be grandfathered in so they would not have to change schools with the boundary shift.After some discussion, the BOE unanimously approved a resolution to declare a vacancy in director district 4, following the resignation of John Koster on March 3. Applications will be accepted until April 16 and interviews will begin after the work session on April 28.Discussion itemsBruce Brown, facility project manager, provided an update on the mill levy override 3B priority 2 projects, including tennis courts at FHS, roof and HVAC replacement at the Butler building on the Falcon Legacy Campus and playground equipment at SES. Brown said de-escalation rooms in Meridian Ranch Elementary School, Springs Ranch Elementary School and VRHS are complete, and rooms in other facilities are slated for construction this summer.Angela Rose, coordinator of title programs, provided an update on the districtís five Title I schools. She also provided program and budgetary information for the Title II, III and IV programs and explained the annual review process.Ron Sprinz, director of finance, gave an update on the districtís budgetary focus and preliminary per-pupil revenue for the 2021-2022 school year.Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, gave an update on financial legislation in the state, and said the five strategies his department has been working on to improve school funding statewide, including setting a uniform mill rate, are moving forward.Other businessThe board appointed Cruson as the secondary to the DAAC, Van Wieren for the budget subcommittee and Kevin Butcher, vice president, as the COO liaison.The next regular meeting of the BOE is April 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Peakview Hall at the Creekside Success Center in Colorado Springs.

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