School’s not out for Re-1 board
They met at the district office’s board room Wednesday night for their regular scheduled meeting to assess the 2002-03 school year, and plan for the coming year. Topics included the district accountability committee’s findings, the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, and salary raises in the district’s 2003-04 budget.Dede Hooker and Margaret McLaughlin, Basalt parents and members of Re-1’s District Accountability Committee, reported on the group’s findings. The committee is a group of parents and district staff members from Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs that met six times during the last six months to study how district schools are doing, identify school programs that are working well, and provide suggestions on ways to improve schools.Hooker said in Carbondale, the committee found good mentoring processes between students and diversified learning opportunities, such as the Mount Sopris Montessori School and Carbondale Community School. Concerns in Carbondale include improving communication between schools, the community and the district.In Glenwood Springs, the committee found progress on bilingual education. Bilingual students are translating class lectures, and at Glenwood Springs High School, students take notes for English language learners so those students can concentrate on oral lessons.”What a great idea,” said board member Pete Delaney. “I can see a lot of cool things that can come out of that, and not just the notes.”In Glenwood, the committee called for Spanish classes, continuity in math programs between middle and high schools, and, again, better communication between parents and district staff.The committee found that having meetings for Latino parents helped bring them into the schools community. Members also said when high school students work with younger students, it benefits everyone involved. Concerns from Basalt included teacher housing, salaries, the need for Latino parent leadership programs and public relations problems, among others. Board members thanked Hooker and McLaughlin for the report, and agreed that increased communication is needed.”There’s a huge void,” said assistant superintendent Judy Haptonstall. “Parents really need to know what’s going on in our schools.”Coincidentally, superintendent Fred Wall asked board members to approve a proposal for the board to contract services for public relations. “This is part of our strategic planning process,” said Wall of the $10,000-per-year contracted service. “Currently, we don’t have the personnel available to get information out to kids and parents. We need to provide people with background information so they better understand what goes on within the district.”Wall’s proposal passed with a unanimous vote from the board.Also at the meeting:-Assistant superintendent Judy Haptonstall asked the board to approve a parent involvement policy, as part of the “No Child Left Behind” legislation enacted by President Bush. Even though district officials and board members expressed concern over the policy’s federal mandates and its control over local districts, the board reluctantly voted to accept the policy. In order to receive five grants totaling $600,000 to be distributed to public and private schools within the district, federal law requires the board to approve the policy. -Builder Pete Waller asked the board to approve an access easement on Polo Road, which the district owns. Waller is seeking a city permit to construct an office building behind the Van Rand Professional Center on Grand Avenue and needs a second access to the structure.Meanwhile, the district is currently creating a facilities master plan, and the easement might be a part of a future Glenwood Springs High School remodel or future new building. The board granted Waller’s request, but attached conditions allowing it to revoke the easement. Waller anticipates presenting the board with the agreement for its final review on June 11, the board’s next meeting. -Finance director Shannon Pelland presented the board with the Re-1’s current general fund budget, and the district’s proposed 2003-04 budget. The board approved a 1.8 percent salary increase for all teachers and staff of Re-1. Pelland said she’s been “nervous about enrollment” for the coming year, and the resulting decrease in state funding. Pelland added the district hasn’t issued staff contracts yet because of tight budget considerations. Superintendent Wall said he “felt perfectly comfortable” with approving the salary increases, noting that other districts are freezing salaries because of budget concerns. “We want to continue increasing staff salaries, even in tight budget years,” he said.Contact Carrie Click at 970-945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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