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New Peyton school board members sworn in

The winners of the November Peyton school board election, Tracy Lee and Jim Frohbieter, were sworn in at the Nov. 15 board meeting. The two replaced Nick Gomes and Brent Mitchell, who was honored for his 10 years of service.The new board voted Bill Nevills as president, Pete Bates as vice president, J.R. Bond as secretary, Lee as treasurer and Frohbieter as the districtís representative to the Colorado BOCES Association (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services).Audit reportThe board reviewed the district’s 2011 draft audit report, which showed that federal grant money helped the district slightly increase its reserve to $1,754,000, which does not include $45,000 that can only be spent on the district’s preschool program or $151,000 in the district’s 3 percent emergency fund.The reserve gives the district a four-and-a-half-month cushion, a little less than the usual six-month cushion for most school districts.According to the report, state funding cutbacks in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years will cause the district to delve into its reserves.Superintendent Tim Kistler said the cutbacks are already on the way.Bond issue failureKistler said he was disappointed the districtís two bond issues failed in the November election.Both issues failed by a vote of 56 percent against and 44 percent in favor, he said.Four-day school weekKistler said the Colorado Department of Education has approved the districtís request to adopt a four-day school week.Sports fields in bad shapeAssistant football coach Mark Hudson represented a group of about 25 parents concerned about the condition of the football fields. The parent group met twice in November to decide on a course of action.Hudson said the practice football field is in such bad shape that in thefirst week of practice, the head coach decided to move practice to thegame field before someone sprained an ankle or blew a knee.ìWith 36 kids on our roster, we canít afford that,î he said, adding that the game field itself has a dip in it and lacks grass.But for the parents, an Oct. 28 incident was the last straw.The last game of the season against Limon High School was supposed to be played in Peyton, but officials switched the game to Limonís field because Peytonís maintenance staff hadn’t cleared the snow from the Peyton field. Principal Brian Rea had asked for the snow to be removed the day before the game, Hudson said.ìWhen maintenance was asked what the plan was to clear the field, they said they didnít have one. To not have a plan is not OK,î he said.At the board meeting, parents brought up other signs of poor maintenance: the toilet doesnít work in the menís bathroom, the press box is inadequate, the bleachers for the visiting football team are so small that people have to line up along a fence to watch a game and the welds are broken on the east goal post.The groupís second meeting in November included Kistler, who took responsibility for the maintenance problems and laid out a plan to repair the practice and game fields with dirt and reseeding, beginning in March.ìFrankly, we donít accept that itís his fault,î Hudson said. ìWe know the district has an ATV with a snow plow that couldnít be used because it doesnít have skids.îKistler said he has already met with Rea and the maintenance staff to develop a list of maintenance needs. He will combine that list with the parentsí desires, which Kistler will present in December. He said he will use the combined list to prepare a cost estimate and time line for the board to take to a vote.ìWe have a lot of budgetary constraints. Our teachers havenít had a real pay raise in four years,î Bates said. ìWe may not get to everything, but you never get finished if you donít start. So, what Iíll commit to is weíre going to get started.îìInstead of the community driving the school to get something done, the school should be leading the community to get stuff done,î said parent Doug Ellis.Hudson said the real issues at Peyton School District involve pride, responsibility and accountability.ìThere’s a lack of pride in the Peyton School District. Itís not from the parents, but the perception is itís from the administration,î he said. ìThat pride can be re-instilled with some responsibility and some accountability.îTrash talkIn November, stories of students being required to take out trash and sweep locker rooms added to parentsí concerns with the districtís maintenance staff.ìI went to the custodians and said we have a perception going on here that you guys donít do much,î Hudson said. The matter has been resolved. Students can be asked to pick up their Gatorade bottles but not to take out the trash, he said.

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