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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Notes from the last board meeting of 2007

The School District 49 Board of Education met Dec. 13.New board president Dave Stark attended the meeting via video teleconferencing. Outgoing president Dave Martin is now the vice president, and newly elected board member Kent Clawson is the treasurer.The board unanimously approved the following action items:

  • Certification of the mill levy, as required by state law. The general fund, override and bond fund mill levy will remain the same as last year. The abatement mill levy, which is used to recover the cost of property taxes the county abated during the year, was increased by .248 mils. According to the action item, assessed value in the district increased by 22.89 percent or $115,505,220.
  • The district’s school improvement plan for 2007-2008, as required by The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: The plan focuses on closing gender and ethnicity gaps in math and reading. John Weishaar, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said test data shows boys continue to outdo girls in math and science and girls still maintain higher scores in reading.
  • A revision of the district’s school choice/open enrollment transfer policy: The changes allow the district to give priority to choice requests from in-district students over out-of-district students. According to the revised policy, the district is not required to hire staff, add a modular or classroom, add classes or alter or waive eligibility requirements to accommodate an out-of-district request. The policy now sets Oct. 1 as the date by which out-of-district requests must be submitted. The policy also was revised to allow the district to deny the transfer requests of students in other districts who were expelled or had demonstrated behavior problems in the last 12 months and to deny transfer requests if “requests begin to significantly affect the ethnic balance of a school.”
  • A revision of the district’s graduation requirements policy: The change clarifies the requirements for earning half of a physical education credit by successfully completing an athletic season, participating in a school-sponsored activity, such as JROTC drill or Civil Air Patrol, or participating in marching band and successfully completing the required number of after-school events. If a student cannot complete an activity because of an injury or unforeseen circumstances, the school principal will decide whether to award the credit.
  • Disposal of seven school buses with high mileage or in need of extreme repairs: The buses may be auctioned off, but, according to the action item, “Homeland Security recommends that school buses not be sold to the public consumer for fear of use for terrorism purposes.” They may be sold for scrap metal, which fetches $90 to $125 per ton.
  • An amount of $3,924.75 to add wireless access points and security doors at the new Falcon High School
  • An amendment to the contract with Nunn Construction in the amount of $49,480.57 for work at Vista Ridge High School
  • An amendment to the contract with GE Johnson in the amount of $34,655.00 for work at the new Falcon High School
  • Changing Jan. 7 from a regular school day to a teacher workday at Falcon Middle School: The change will give teachers a day to get ready for class after the move of the middle school to old Falcon High School during Christmas break.
During the board update segment, board member Anna Bartha said the district superintendent position has been posted, and “we have received many resumes.” Bartha said the district is not establishing a timeline for hiring a new superintendent. “We first need to determine the best candidate for the district. Dr. [Nancy] Wright has made herself available through the end of the school year,” Bartha said.Board member Amy McClelland said she is interested in random, confidential screening for drug use in the schools and suggested that this issue be addressed by applicants vying for the superintendent position. Martin agreed.Eric Paugh, assistant superintendent of learning services, said the district is holding interviews for the athletic director position. “We have 12 applicants, six from within the district and six from outside the district, and a committee of parents and staff are reviewing the applications,” Paugh said.Jackie Vialpando, member of the mill levy over-site committee, presented the committee’s quarterly report. The committee was established to oversee the spending of mill levy dollars passed in November 2005.Vialpando said mill levy dollars have built 500,000 square feet of classroom space. “We are five weeks ahead of schedule on Vista Ridge High School and it is 50 percent complete,” Vialpando said.Upon completion of Vista Ridge High School, the mill levy over-site committee will disband. Clawson and Martin said they would like to keep the committee going, possibly by making it a sub-committee of the long-range planning committee.According to the written update provided by Laine Gibson, the district’s chief financial officer, the district completed its October count with a total of 12,218 full-time students, of which 1,215 attend charter schools.Gibson’s update also reported that the district’s transportation department is considering a fee-for-service plan for choice students and that the nutrition services department hopes to have online payment up and running by the time students return from Christmas break.The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Jan. 10 at 6:30 pm at the district’s central administration office at 10850 Woodmen Road.

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