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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Standing room only at D 49 April board meeting

The D 49 May 4 board meeting, with all five board members present, was packed – a standing-room only crowd.Superintendent Dr. Steven Hull started the meeting by updating everyone on the District Accountability Advisory Committee, which is compromised of more than 30 community members who make recommendations to the board regarding curriculum, instruction, district budgets and school safety.Hull then emphasized that all D 49 employees have jobs for the next school year (no job slots were deleted).Sandy Collins, director of growth, planning and school support, reported on the two community meetings concerning student transportation. Falcon schools will not experience any changes in start and stop times.Joe Cole, community relations coordinator, said that comments from the community about the district’s redesigned Web site and the ease of navigation have been favorable.The open forum began with Stetson Elementary School teacher and Future Teachers Education Association President Tom Wilke addressing program cuts and teachers who were told their contracts would not be renewed. “Quality teachers and other staff are leaving,” Wilke said. “We want to be treated as professionals and have district officials listen to our concerns.”Board President Dave Martin apologized and told Wilke that he takes responsibility for the communication breakdown, promising it won’t happen again.FTEA Vice President S. Elaine Olsen and Sand Creek High School teacher relayed to the board that teachers were feeling disenfranchised and split schedules and crowded classrooms didn’t help. “Money should be put where it counts – back into the classroom,” she said.Fifth grade Stetson Elementary student Whitney Ingraham addressed the board with her desire to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school everyday. She told the board that time constrictions are one of the many reasons that the Pledge of Allegiance is not often recited. She said her father is in the military, and it is important to her that it is a part of her daily routine. Board member Anna Bartha stated that Colorado statue mandates that time must be given daily to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Hull said he would address the issue.Former board member Judy Holman presented a letter she wrote to the board (see letters to the editor).Falcon Elementary School Principal Nancy Valdez proposed that the school take on a technology focus (see Joe Cole’s notes). The board unanimously approved the proposal.Lori Dion, coach of “Just Jump,” jump rope team, asked the board to approve the district’s sponsorship of the team, citing the health and wellness benefits of jump roping and the problems the team has had finding a regular place for practices. The board also unanimously approved the sponsorship.The next board meeting will be held at the D 49 central administration office board room at 6:30 p.m. June 8.

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