Home > Awareness Alerts > What ever happened to “Option X”?

What ever happened to “Option X”?

May 18, 2010

NOTE: The purpose of this post and its information is to show an example of the misinformation and mismanagement of our District Leadership.

“Option X” was a reconfiguration plan put together and brought forward by a group of teachers in December.

The Board of Education agreed to consider this option along with the 5 other options presented by the Superintendent. In a document titled, “Reconfiguration Options Executive Summary – School Consolidation and Grade Level Reconfiguration (dated Dec. 15, 2009 and posted to District website on Dec. 18, 2009),” Option X is renamed Option E.
The Board held a lengthy work session to review all options on Dec. 15, 2009. In the official meeting minutes, the only information recorded about the 5 1/2 hour discussion was:

III. School reconfiguration discussion
Dr. Blanch reviewed the District budget crisis, reiterating that the District must reduce expenditures or increase revenues to close a gap of $3 million for the 2010-11 school year. Overall, the District is expecting a budget shortfall of nearly $5 million over the course of the next three years. Board members engaged in lengthy discussion with the District administrators present (including school principals) about the pros and cons of the various school closure/reconfiguration options presented. They also discussed the need for a timeline to address the closing of a school building. The impact these options may have on the educational experiences for students was of primary concern.

Option E/X was not discussed at this meeting. A member of the public contacted a Board member to point out that it had not been discussed. He agreed and said that they would discuss it at the Dec. 17 meeting.
3 members of the Board brought with them to the Dec 17 meeting written statements regarding their decision later that evening, indicating they had made their decision prior to full review as a group of ALL the options.

The Meeting Highlights posted for this meeting state: (red highlight added)

School closure and reconfiguration discussion and decision – John Mann, Board President, opened the discussion commenting on the budget challenges facing the District. Dr. Blanch then provided summary information of the six options to be considered regarding school closure and reconfiguration of grade levels. Board members and administrative staff had analyzed this information in depth at a previous work session. The Board heard comments from 15 community members before sharing their personal opinions regarding the options presented. The Board then proceeded to vote to approve Option A1, which includes closing Grace Best Elementary School and moving all students from that facility to the Creekside Middle School campus. All five elementary schools will become pre-kindergarten through 6th grade facilities, and all 7th and 8th grade students will attend Lewis-Palmer Middle School beginning in the fall of 2010. Both high schools will remain 9th through 12th grades, with minor boundary changes to balance enrollment between the two buildings. Details and information regarding the implementation of this plan will continue to be made available to staff and community members as appropriate, and will be posted on the District website. Dr. Blanch remarked that the administration will be working to bring forth another $2.2 million in reductions for the Board’s consideration in the near future.

Option E/X was mentioned at this meeting, but it was not equally reviewed or considered along side the other options.

In order to obtain a more accurate accounting of the handling of this decision, an audio recording of this meeting was requested earlier this year. According to SECTION 1. 22-32-108 (5), Colorado Revised Statutes:

(b) The board shall make a recording of each regular and special meeting of the board at which votes are taken and recorded and shall make the recording available to the public. The board, at its discretion, shall use appropriate technology that is available within the school district at the time the recording is made and shall, at a minimum, make an audio recording. An individual or entity may request a copy of a recording and shall pay the costs the board incurs in providing the copy, pursuant to section 24-72-205, C.R.S.
(c) The board shall institute a policy requiring, at a minimum, retaining recordings of board meetings made pursuant to this subsection (5) for a minimum of ninety days.

The person who requested the recording of the Dec. 17 meeting (within the 90 days required) was told that the recording was not available because the audio file was somehow damaged, corrupted or lost. Therefore, we have no better record than the minutes and highlights. (Note: Another member of the public requested a recording of a Board meeting in April and was also told that it was unavailable because the file was corrupt. The exact cause is unknown, but believed to possibly be due to human error when improperly powering down the recording device. While these instances may have been unintentionally caused by individuals, the Board is ultimately responsible and has clearly been in violation of state statute.)

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