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El Paso County Colorado District 49

News from D 49

The Falcon School District 49 Board of Education met Jan. 28 and approved the 2008-2009 amended budget – just in time to meet the Jan. 31 state-mandated deadline. The amended budget creates a balanced budget and cuts $242,534 from the budget presented at the Jan. 8 school board meeting.After calling for a motion to approve the budget, D 49 board president Anna Bartha thanked district employees for working hard to help balance the budget. “Each department dug deep and looked for ways to make cuts without affecting student achievement,” Bartha said.The cuts include deferring select projects and maintenance activities, reducing training for numerous departments and eliminating some staff recruiting events. The new budget does not require the district to make any expenditure from the fund balance.In a released statement, Bartha said, “The district is in good standing financially because of the diligence of the board and its administrators. During these uncertain economic times, we want to make certain we are being fiscally conservative and planning wisely for the future of our District and the children and families we serve.”In a development in the ongoing investigation into the administration of Superintendent Grant Schmidt, the board passed a motion to suspend board policy. The motion removed time constraints set forward by board requirements pursuant to action on sexual harassment cases. It directly relates to the board’s investigation and any hearing related to Schmidt’s employment.The motion only applies to Schmidt’s case, allowing the board more time to conduct a fair investigation and ensure due process. Schmidt was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 17 after a D 49 board investigation that revealed several issues of concern, including questionable financial decisions and violation of the board’s ethical standards regarding its policy on sexual harassment.Textbook previewDistrict 49 Curriculum Instruction and Assessment, a division of Learning Services, is conducting a community preview of new social studies, business, foreign language and fine arts textbooks for all grades K-12 before the board of education votes in February to adopt them. If approved, the books will be introduced to the classroom for the 2009-2010 school year.”It’s important to know the resources in the classroom and what students will be using,” said Jodi Fletcher, social studies teacher on special assignment. She said she hopes parents will take advantage of this opportunity to view the materials and provide feedback to the district.”The new texts have a much more rigorous content and current material. They are a significant upgrade,” Fletcher said. The new curriculum incorporates technology, real life experiences and more practical hands-on learning experiences, she said.Fletcher said CIA’s goal is to provide classroom sets and take-home books for core subjects. Fletcher said they are working with textbook vendors to increase options, including CDs or e-books.Previews are scheduled every day through Feb. 12 at Patriot Learning Center, modular No. 4, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m, or call Jodi Fletcher at 495-1149, ext. 1549, or e-mail to schedule an appointment.

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