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El Paso County Colorado District 49

School board: update and approvals

At the March D 49 Board of Education meeting the room was overflowing with kindergartners and fourth graders from Stetson Elementary School, along with their parents. They led the Pledge of Allegiance.All board members were in attendance except Randall Brungardt, treasurer.Board member Anna Bartha recognized Alyce Dalzell, sixth grade teacher at Meridian Ranch Elementary School. Dalzell has been admitted to NASAís space program for teachers. She will attend NASA training this summer and bring the latest information back to her students in the fall.The board approved the following items:

  • The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps field trip to Washington D.C. Sixteen cadets and their chaperones will depart April 11 for a four-day trip to visit the Pentagon, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Archives, the Capitol, the Lincoln and Washington memorials and the White House (if security measures allow).
  • The renewal of the charter contract for Pikes Peak School of Expeditionary Learning, a K-8 school, which opened in 2003.
  • The application for the Trailwood Academy charter school. Mosaica, a for-profit education management company will operate the K-8 charter school, which is expected to open in August 2008 in Banning Lewis Ranch, Village II. School officials anticipate 450 students the first year and 900 the second year. Mosaica also operates the Banning Lewis Ranch Academy charter school.
  • A request to transfer $49,000 from the personnel budget to the technology budget to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act. Chad Wight, director of the D 49 Special Services Division, presented an overview of his audit of the districtís special needs program. The audit determined that special needs teachers and students do not have appropriate access to computers. Wightís department has spent $6,000 to refurbish 20 Dell computers. The $49,000 will help with a four-year plan to add computers and replace old. ìIím embarrassed about how the special needs program has been funded in the past,î said board president Dave Martin.
  • Final acceptance for Nunn Construction to build Odyssey Elementary School and the addition to Meridian Ranch Elementary School. The approval resulted in a district savings of almost $280,000.
  • A loan to Rocky Mountain Classical Academy: The charter school opened with 72 fewer students than expected and now owes a refund to D 49. The loan payments will be spread over 13 months instead of six. Financial Officer Chief Laine Gibson recommended against approving the loan because doing so would set a precedent. However, Martin said, ìWe donít want the school to go under as that would impact the kids.î
Superintendent Nancy Wright confirmed that she will remain with D 49 after this school year ends. Martin said the board still plans to conduct a search for a permanent superintendent, but he also said that Wright may remain as superintendent indefinitely or act as a consultant if they find a good candidate.The next board meeting is April 12, at the D 49 administrative offices.

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