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El Paso County Colorado District 49

The business of balancing efficiency and effectiveness …

This month, the CEO column is written by Brett Ridgway, D 49 chief business officer.Greetings! District 49 appreciates the opportunity to speak with our community in The New Falcon Herald. While my colleague, Peter Hilts, is normally the one to visit with you here, I appreciate the opportunity to do so in this edition. One thing that is always difficult to remember about District 49 is the scale, the size of the operation needed to support our students.Public education is, and should be, individualized ñ- unique to each learner. Our education professionals work hard to deliver on that; but, as a district, we must effectively manage 24 facilities, providing educational experiences to more than 20,000 students.With that many schools and students, the size and scale of the operation needed to support them comes into view. The balance between efficiency and effectiveness is paramount to the success of the education program and support services we provide our students and families. Those two forces do not always compete – but they do in our case – when there are that many students and that many facilities. This is where the business of education comes into play.One thing in particular that attracted me to District 49 was the desire of our community to see its education system run like a business – to pursue that optimum blend of efficiency and effectiveness. We believe we have achieved that blend, but are ever-vigilant on continuing and refining that pursuit. We are in the business of public education, and that is always our primary focus. Of the 1,686 regular staff members planned for the 2016/17 school year, 1,375 are front-line dedicated to our mission of public education.To make sure those 1,375 front-line staff members are ready, we need to have folks to arrange their payroll, verify their teaching credentials, develop and grow them as professional educators, etc. We also need to have personnel to further serve the 17,000 students and ensure they are fed; get them to school, maintain the buildings they are learning in, and ultimately fight for and protect their rights to public education. The groups I speak of here are the support teams for the business office and the operations office, as well as mission-oriented support for learning services, special services, communications and security. All of that necessary support is also precisely balanced in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.Our ability to achieve that balance of efficiency and effectiveness is why District 49 was named one of the top three districts in Colorado for financial productivity by the Center for American Progress. It is why our model of business operation and district leadership continues to gain more recognition across the state and across the nation as the future of education.The foundational strategic priority of District 49, the first of what we call the ìbig rocksî in our strategic plan is to continually build trust with the community. We want our community to know and understand; to have every question answered as to what we do, how we do it and why we do it. District 49 has always been a leader in Coloradoís public educationís movement to financial transparency. Our website is populated with hundreds of pages of information – carefully and consistently organized. Board of Education meetings are recorded (video and audio) and both streamed live and archived for later use – all so that you, our constituents, can be informed as to where we are and where we are going.As the old saying goes, though, you can lead a horse to water, but you canít make him drink. In our case, we can set the water out. We encourage you, we implore you, to engage with District 49; get and stay informed on what your district does for the children in this community. We are here to serve everyone; both those with children in our schools and those who simply benefit from the existence of quality schools in our community. Appropriately equipped, well-conditioned, quality educational programs are always a fundamental part of a vibrant communityís success. We continue to partner with you in that endeavor.

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