Awareness Campaign

NOTE: All past postings related to the previous school year are still available to read on the sub-page.

Did you know…….?

  • That there is a rumor circulating about a plan to return Creekside Middle School? While multiple Board members have been heard since the decision to reconfigure schools was made in December 2008 to say they have a hope or idea to return Creekside to a middle school, there is no actual plan (this idea also includes the building of a new adjacent elementary school to house Bear Creek – and with current building capacity and enrollment numbers, that should be more in a “dream” category). Board members were also heard in many meetings to say they heard and understood the public would like a plan of some kind from the District. They even attempted to get such a plan going, but to date, there is still no plan. The current BoE and Administration have and continue to operate on a one-year-at-a-time basis, usually claiming that the unstable economic and funding environment makes long-term planning too difficult or not the top priority.
  • The DAAC has scheduled to discuss an MLO for next year? At the October 11, 2011 DAAC (District Accountability Advisory Committee) meeting, the January 2011 agenda was amended to include discussion of an MLO (Mill Levy Overide – property tax increase school districts ask voters for to use for operational costs). The Board member present (Mrs. Wilson) clarified that this was not done at the request of the Board. Although – the DAAC is the Board’s committee and the BoE DID direct former interim Superintendent Bauman to go so far as to come up with the ballot language for an MLO at the end of the 10-11 school year. They intended to ask for an MLO on the upcoming November 2011 ballot, but ended up dropping the issue.
  • That there is a public education tax measure on the November 2011 ballot? Proposition 103 proposes to amend the Colorado statutes to temporarily increase the state income and sales and use tax rates for five years beginning January 2012. It also requires the state to spend the money on public education, including public preschools, K-12, and colleges and universities. (See Prop 103 link above or visit www.coloradobluebook.com for analysis with arguments for and against.) (UPDATE: The measure proposed to Colorado voters failed statewide with over 60% against.)
  • That the Board of Education has decided to eliminate Policy Governance? Over three meetings in July and August, the Board has discussed its decision to rescind Policy Governance (established in 2008 when the sitting Board decided their system of governance was not working well) and replace it with it with a “system of governance that is based on relationships, values, and beliefs of the District.” View the draft posted on the Board’s webpage, dated 8-18-11:  Board Governance. (Note: During the term of Interim-Superintendent Bauman, the Board informed Mr. Bauman that they would not hold him to the current Policy and they did not follow it for the past year. They explained that it was their intention during the upcoming year to review if they even wanted to continue with the Policy.)
  • that  approximately 75% of District 38 residents and taxpayers do not have children in the schools? As they are the majority funding the schools, it is vital that the District have an active and open relationship with the entire community. (Statistic acquired from El Paso County in fall of 2011.)
  • the District sent out this message via Campus Messenger in the beginning of May?  “Hello D-38 Families: This note is to answer community questions about the dirt work under way at the D-38 administration building. We would like to thank the Town of Monument for providing all of the funding and labor for the landscaping work as part of an effort by the Town to beautify the downtown area. The work is at no cost to the school district, and is expected to continue into the summer. The Saturday market previously located on that lot will be moved to the west side of the Grace Best Elementary building, opening May 14th. “
  • The Operations Advisory Committee (OAC), D38’s own Board-sponsored committee, made the following recommendations to the Board on March 17, 2011:
    1. Close Grace Best Elementary School or have it operate at a profit. (It currently costs approx $45,000 annually to keep it open and empty.)
    2. Standardize office supply purchases among the 8 traditional schools to save taxpayer money.
    3. Standardize technology purchases among the 8 traditional schools to save taxpayer money.
    4. Close Prairie Winds Elementary School.

    For details, view the D38 website, under Board of Education, Operations Advisory Committee.
    UPDATE! At the October 2011 regular BoE meeting, the Board thanked the OAC for all their work since 2006, then voted to discontinue the committee.

  • That 23% of resident students have opted to attend out of district or Monument Academy for the 2010-11 school year? That is a climb of almost 10% since 2006-07. According to CDE data, 858 in-district students choice into Monument Academy, and 664 choice into another Colorado school district for the 2010-11 school year. This data also shows that there has been NO DECLINE for the last 5 years in student population. In fact, the district population has grown by 426 students in that time, despite the numbers who have chosen to attend elsewhere. (Note: these numbers do not include students who choose to homeschool or attend a private school.)
  • Three of our five Board Directors will be up for re-election in November 2011? The three individuals are John Mann (President and Director, Area 2 ), Mark Pfoff (Treasurer and Director, Area 4), and Robb Pike (Vice President and Director, Area 5). Mr. Pfoff announced publicly last year that he would not seek re-election, however, he recently announced at a recent Board meeting that he now fully intends to run again. He also strongly encouraged the other two incumbents to run again. Dr. Jeffery Ferguson (Secretary and Director,Area 1) will not be up for re-election until November 2013. Gail Wilson ( Director, Area 3) does not finish her term until November 2013 also, but will be term-limited so cannot run again. See the Map of Board of Education Districts on the Board of Education homepage. NOTE: Although the District must have one member that resides in each area to represent it, ALL eligible voters across the District can vote for ALL members, not just the one from the area you reside in.
  • About 85% of the District’s budget goes to staff salary and benefits? This includes ALL staff, not just teachers. Only about 60% of the budget goes to teachers or student/staff support. The other 25% goes to Central Administration, transportation, food services, and other operational staff.
  • D-38 has a high teacher turnover rate? According to statistics released by the Colorado Department of Education, based on the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years, LPSD had a turnover rate of 30.09% for teachers (a combined rate of 30.15% for ALL STAFF). Comparisons to neighboring districts (for teacher category only): Douglas County Re-1 with 10.16%; Woodland Park Re-2 with 12.57%; Cherry Creek D-5 with 13.01%; Elbert D-200 with 13.64%; Fountain D-8 with 14.60%; Colorado Springs D-11 with 14.60%; Academy D-20 with 14.63%; Falcon D-49 with 17.70%; Cheyenne Mountain D-12 with 20.12%; Harrison D-2 with 26.76%. (NOTE: Cheyenne Mountain D-12 and Fountain D-8 are closest in size to D-38, with Academy D-20, Douglas County Re-1 and Falcon D-49 closest in proximity.)
  • 62 students from D-38 have been accepted to D-20 for the 2010-11 school year? And that 428 students attended D-20 schools (including The Classical Academy charter school) in the 2009-10 school year?NOTE: The number for fall 2010 is for new students who were accepted through the Choice Application process, which took place in January. Out of district students within a school do not need to re-choice each year, only when changing to another school or moving to the first year of middle and high school. The new choice number also does not include some additional students who may attend D-20 next fall, as some programs are applied for through a separate process. Such as the TCA programs, D-20’s Home School Academy and online school which have open-enrollment application processes.This is only for D-20, our District also has residents who choose to attend other neighboring districts, such as Douglas County and D-49, as well as private or home-school options. It has been reported at several Board meetings that there are some 600 resident students who choose to attend outside of the district, with no formal attempt made by leadership to find out why they have made this choice. This would be extremely helpful information as it could lead to possible solutions to bring at least a portion of these students back into the district.

UPDATE!!! As of April 2011, the District has made an initial attempt to survey a sampling of parents who have chosen to educate their children outside of D-38. The information obtained will be briefed to the Board at the May 5, 2011 work session.

  • D38 has STILL not yet told the community how much it cost to implement the 2010-11 Reconfiguration of Schools plan (which includes conversion of Creekside MS to Bear Creek ES and moving all 7th & 8th grade to LPMS)? The last budget savings document available on the District website was posted 3/10/10 and it does not include exact costs breakdown for the reconfiguration/conversions. Members of the public and DIRECTION 38! have asked multiple times for this specific information with no or ambiguous response from District leadership. One answer stated that we won’t even know the true costs until potentially the end of the 2011 school year.

UPDATE!!! This information was presented at the March 17, 2011 BoE regular meeting in a presentation by the Operations Advisory Committee. It gives a total first year net savings of $912,485. (see the power point presentation at 3-17-11 OAC Report.pptx, slides 17-19.) There is a breakdown of costs and savings, but not all costs associated with the reconfiguration are included and there is no source documentation to support the figures presented.

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  1. Gail Wilson
    July 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

    http://www.gazette.com/articles/cuts-120864-districts-school.html

    Just in case you missed the article in the Gazette.

  2. Monument Mayor Travis Easton
    May 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    “The Town of Monument is doing this project to help the school district and to make the downtown area look more attractive for everyone to enjoy. The majority of the funds paying for this are coming from our Community Development Fund. More specifically, we use the money from business licenses to return back to the community in the form of landscaping projects such as this one. Certainly nothing is free and we are all paying for this one way or another. I would welcome any comments or questions about the Town of Monument from anyone. Mayor Travis Easton”

  3. Fiscal Conservative
    May 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    (Concerning the May Campus Messenger) Ok – but it is still costing if you live in the town or purchase anything from the town, etc. I don’t appreciate them acting like it isn’t costing anything – some way or another it is getting paid for!

  4. Information Idea
    April 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    It would be great if DAC could put together a summary report of the budget-cutting recommendations they proposed along with why each one was or was not accepted by the board. After all of that work, I think the committee – as well as the community -deserves to know the board’s rationale about why many of the recommendations were rejected.

    It sounds like there is room to save quite a bit of money but the board does not seem willing to seriously consider their recommendations… Just not sure why? Do we no longer need to worry about saving money?

  5. Gordon
    April 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Good Morning

    I have been reading a little at a time of the District Policies.
    FYI: Reference District 38 Policy KHB which states: (Concerning
    District Advertising)

    QUOTE:
    The Board of Education approves of revenue enhancement through
    advertising and sponsorships. Such activities must remain consistent
    with the District’s primary mission and core values. The District is
    not obligated to enter into any specific commercial or sponsorship
    agreement and reserves the right to enter into such ventures of its
    choosing by decision of the Superintendent or Superintendent’s
    designee. The purpose of advertising and sponsorship programs is to
    enhance revenue for the School District, not to create a means of
    communication for outside vendors, individuals, or organizations.

    Content Requirements

    Advertising or sponsorship messages will feature only content suitable
    for a PreK-12 audience and may not be inconsistent with the District’s
    educational mission as determined by the Superintendent or designee.
    Messages and products inconsistent with the District’s educational
    mission include but are not limited to tobacco products, liquor
    products, firearms and weapons, birth control products and services,
    gambling, and any activity or product that members of the student
    population are unable to access without parental consent. No
    advertising or sponsorship message will be allowed which conflicts with
    existing District policy, interferes with the educational process or
    atmosphere, or is determined by the Superintendent to take a position
    other than neutrality on matters of public controversy. The District
    reserves the right to reject or to cancel any advertising proposal or
    message at any time for any reason that is reasonably related to
    legitimate educational concerns.
    END QUOTE

    This last line appears in direct conflict with the Advantage3 Contract
    that was referenced as containing a 5-year length of time for the
    District advertisement’s display.

    have I missed something?

  6. Jody Richardson
    April 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Having attended almost every school board meeting for the past year as well as many of the workshops I finally walked away from one of their meetings feeling good about some of what I heard. Unfortunately it wasn’t because of the BOE. At the April workshop the citizens task force put together by Ted Bauman came to the board with many well thought out and researched suggestions for cutting the budget for next year. Between their suggestions and the administrative teams input the Board had the ability to make educated painful decisions. Surprising news was revealed at the April Board meeting when the citizens task force identified utiility savings that included refunds for taxes that we were charged. Because of our status as a public entity the district is exempt from those taxes. My question would then be, why didn’t our finance office question those charges when they were originally charged? It seems to me that our district should take advantage of this volunteer citizens committee on a continued basis.

  7. Ana Konduris
    April 23, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Last year 71 instructional staff were either non-renewed, resigned or retired while 54 of the classified staff resigned or retired. Our staff remains vulnerable. Teacher pay continues frozen while class size and work required of our staff increase. So much for the D38 promise to “keep the cuts away from the classroom.”

    What can the community do to help? First, get informed. Demand to see ALL THE RECOMMENDED BUDGET SAVINGS AND REVENUE GENERATORS. Once you know them, you can form an opinion. For example, would you consider a $1 fee to ride a bus each day? Maybe, maybe not. The School Board has rejected that idea. What if each neighborhood came up with a solution to reduce a bus route or two if it would save a cherished teacher or paraprofessional or keep class size from ballooning? Ms. Mossman, D38 Transportation was asked by the D38 leadership to come up with just 2 routes for a total of $70,000 savings for the entire district. At the last School Board meeting on April 21 she told the Board she could do better if asked.

    So, let’s ask the D38 leadership to post, publish, and push out information to you. Talk with your neighbors. Come up with the impacts. See if you can work around the obstacles. Then let your School Board know how you feel.

    D38 School Board meetings are now broadcast live streaming.

  8. Parent #2
    April 23, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Is Amy Stephens right, after all, that we have a spending problem? This does not bode well for a future mill levy override. If D38 isn’t reducing our expenses where we can, what right do we have to ask taxpayers for more money?

    • Amy Stephens
      April 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Parent #2,

      This is Representative Stephens, I was made aware of your question and wanted to respond directly to your issue. The spending problem I alluded to has been within our state government the last four years – when many of us, including me, did not vote for the budget as we asked for rainy day savings – even 1/10th of 1% and were turned down. We also did not want the State Education Fund brought down to nothing as these are teacher jobs. This year we put more money into the State Education Fund and the Speaker and I fought for those dollars to stay in that fund.

      I have never suggested D38 has a spending problem – I know you are extremely frugal and you’ve done so much despite this terrible recession. I’ve met a number of times with Mr. Bauman and have appreciated his ideas of ways the state can reduce the administrative burden costs on schools during this recession. I agree with him. I will work with our new State Board of Education representative, Paul Lundeen, to see how we can reduce that burden through the Department of Education.

      The question in school finance is not a spending problem – it is an economic recovery problem. Colorado’s unemployment is now surpassing the national average. As you are aware – all of our Monument and COS home values have gone down considerably and our construction and home builders are in very tough times. These are the dollars that fund our schools. Our state has suffered from declining property values and thus you see less money coming in to the state for school finance. We had another $250 mil cut to schools this year. This is terrible for all of us. Our kids, our state and our economy.

      I have focused on bills that will move the state towards lifting burdens that allow business to create more jobs and helping industries put people back to work. My bill this year to repeal the “dirty dozen” software tax is part of the budget plan – which stands to save our Tech industries billions of dollars so they can hire more people to work – as well as send the signal that CO is open for tech business and that our tax policy is friendly to bring more tech jobs to CO. I am also running a repeal of the Amazon law – to bring back 4,000 Amazon affiliate jobs to CO. These bills bring IN tax revenue and create jobs as well as bring in property taxes that fund our schools.

      So what to do in school finance? Your question regarding a mill levy override is fine to present to the people of D38 – as long as the ballot wording is VERY specific about what the intended use of the money is for. I advised Dr. Blanche the last time we had a ballot question that his ballot language was not specific enough – that it lacked detail and dates and purpose. That the ballot language basically gave salary raises in perpetuity – something the voting public will not tolerate. And – as I thought would happen – the ballot measure failed. Compare this to D20 who carefully detailed every date, every projected expenditure and projected end of the override and it passed overwhelmingly. The voting public wants details – it is best in my opinion to spell it out very specifically with complete transparency.

      Todd Herriod of our Legislative staff has just done the latest numbers on our school finance – I will forward the D38 numbers to our district so you are sure to have good information. I believe a school finance group from D38 is due to see me in the next two weeks and I look forward to further discussion.

      Best Regards,
      House Majority Leader Amy Stephens

  9. Concerned Parent
    April 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Wow. I wonder how those utility costs would translate in terms of teacher salary increases? After seeing some of our best teachers leave D38 last year for D20 and other districts, I am worried that the continued salary freezes (or even the 1% increase they are talking about now, which is close to nothing) will result in an even greater exodus of our most talented teachers at the end of this year.

    I was also disheartened to see the board ignore their own committee’s recommendation to consolidate elementary schools – I think they said the recurring savings would be $350,000 a year. Using only a portion of that for normal salary increases (3%) would help us retain our best teachers, and the remainder could be used to reduce class sizes at the elementary level. I would rather my child attend a school a few miles further away if it meant she could be in a smaller class. Any word on why they aren’t even considering this recommendation put forth by the committee? It sounds like a ton of money could be saved and redirected toward teachers.

  10. Steve Boyd
    April 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    The facts do, indeed need to be correct. The following information was provided via CORA request for information about GBES’ utilities for 2010-11.
    Electricity – $21,789.15
    Natural Gas – $23,324.34
    Sewer – $ 1,253.14
    Water – $ 117.98
    Irrigation – $ 5,266.35
    Total – $51,750.96
    Thanks for the heads up.

  11. Ana Konduris
    April 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    $20,000 is far too much money to spend on a building that remains empty one year after the D38 Board’s reconfiguration decision. A building that cannot be sold or leased because it has asbestos. Or at least that’s what the community was told. By my calculation, $20,000 equates to .4 full time equivalent (FTE) teacher. Couldn’t that $20,000 be better used in the classroom to support an overworked teaching staff?

  12. deb goth
    April 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Please get your facts correct. The net cost to keep GBES open is about $20,000, not $45,000.

    Chair of the OAC

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