Awareness Campaign Archives

NOTE: This is SUB-PAGE to the Awareness Campaign page. It contains archived postings. All postings on this sub-page were made prior to 2011, and most prior to Fall 2010, therefore, most references to “next year” apply to the 2010-11 school year and references to the Superintendent are speaking of former Superintendent Blanch.

This page is currently undergoing updating to include original posting dates where possible.

Did you know that…

  • That 3 of 5 Board of Education director positions are up for election this November?All 3 current Board members are seeking re-election for a second and final term. 3 new candidates have also come forward seeking election – one in each Board district. All 6 candidates have been invited to attend a Meet the Candidates evening and we invite you to join them!
    • *Wednesday, October 5th at 7pm at Lewis-Palmer District Administration building in the Learning Center
      *Monday, October 10th at 7pm at Monument Academy in the Library

    (From October 2011)

From June –  September 2011

  • Our last forum in our “Get Educated! Summer Series” is coming up ? FORUM #4 TOPIC:  BUILDING COMMUNITY RELATIONS: THE PATHWAY TO SOLUTIONSWHEN:  Tuesday, September 27, 2011  from 6:30 – 8:30pm
    WHERE:  Lewis-Palmer High School Commons, 1300 Higby Road, Monument, CO 80132
    We hope everyone will join us to give input to help our schools and our community! (please see our post announcement for information on panelists and invited guests)
  • You are cordially invited to attend DIRECTION 38!’s FORUM #3: BUILDING COMMUNITY RELATIONS PART 2? It will be held on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 from 6:30-8:30pm in the LPHS Cafeteria. The format will be a hybrid of panel discussion & small group round table discussions.The first hour will be a series of 3 PANEL DISCUSSIONS:
    3. SCHOOL CHOICE & BUILDING COMMUNITY RELATIONSThe second hour will be 5 ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS. Three panelists (a mix from above) will join “THE COMMUNITY” for a round table discussion to PROPOSE SOLUTIONS. (Please see the Welcome! page or main page post for a list of invited guest panelists and moderators.)
    WHEN:  6:30 – 8:30pm, Monday, July 18, 2011
    WHERE:  Monument Academy
  • DIRECTION 38! (Citizens for Successful Schools) is sponsoring  “Get Educated” Summer Series:  PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION FORUMS? The first topic will be ‘How We Fund Our K-12 Public Schools’.  Discussion will be led by Colorado State Representative Amy Stephens, House Majority Leader, and Paul Lundeen, Colorado State Board of Education Representative, District 5, on Monday, June 20, 2011 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Tri-Lakes YMCA Community Room.  Please join us to find out how this important topic affects your pocketbook.  All are welcome.

from May 2010

  • there were over 85 bills related to education pending in the Colorado legislature this year? According to information gathered from the Colorado General Assembly‘s website and Education News Colorado, as of May 4, 2010, some bills had passed, some were signed into action by the Governor, some continued in process, and many were postponed indefinitely. (source: Parent Sounding Board Minutes, Academy School District 20, 5-5-2010, pages 6-21.) There are many aspects of our public education system. Local, state and federal issues can all affect our local schools – it is important to be informed and involved. School Districts are prohibited from taking a stand on any legislation. They are allowed to put out information, but only in a fair and balanced manner. Individuals, even employees of the district (on their own time) are free to campaign for or against these measures and issues.

  • a Recall Election costs money? District money? A Recall election of Board of Education members is run by the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder, but the cost is covered by the school district.  In these financially challenging times for our district, would our money be wisely spent on a recall when 3 of the 5 BoE members are up for re-election in November 2011? Some feel “yes” and some “no.” Consider all the factors when deciding for yourself, including the potential cost. The December 2006 D-11 recall election of 2 Board members cost over $260,000 (it was originally estimated to cost $187,000). The district also incurred additional costs of over $40,000 in legal fees. The county also expended over $30,000 of its taxpayer money for the election. (some sources: D-11 BoE minutes; Gazette News articles 9/21/06 and 12/8/2006) Because we are a smaller population district than D-11, one would assume the cost to be less for D-38.

  • 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 next fall 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.

  • Our Superintendent’s contract is up for renewal this June? But the current contract does not expire until June 30, 2011? Generally, the contract is yearly and runs from July 1st through June 30th of each fiscal school year. When (if) the contract is renewed, it is not for the upcoming school year as one would think; it is for the following school year. So, if the Board of Education decides to renew the contract this summer, the renewal will be until June 30, 2012. In other words, the superintendent will remain in the position for two school years. The Board of Education conducts the superintendent’s performance review privately, which is appropriate. However, the vote of approval of renewal is done in the public Board meeting. The Board has on its agenda to review the contract in June, but last year it did not officially approved the renewal until the August regular Board meeting.

  • About 85% of the District’s budget goes to staff salary and benefits? And that this was the real purpose for the reconfiguration? There are many parts of the budget that have been looked at for cuts in the past few years and others are still being considered for the next years’ cuts (such as transportation, additional student fees and food services). But because the majority of the budget is for staff, this is where the bulk of cuts must come from.  Most of the cost savings next year are from all the staff cuts. We are not truly saving money by closing Grace Best, because we did not have the money to fix it anyway. Portions of the building will still be used next year and will not generate revenue. It is estimated to cost $40,000 to “moth ball” the older part of the building.

    • If all of the teachers who were “non-renewed” for next year, apply for unemployment benefits, it will cost the district about $600,000?

  • Some teachers who were notified that they would not be needed next year, were encouraged to resign? It is thought to look bad to have a non-renewal in your file. Also, some believe that resigning would have disqualified them from receiving the unemployment benefit. It actually DOES NOT disqualify them, but it could make it more difficult to collect the benefits.
  • According to the State Department of Education, the Superintendent could have inserted a statement in our teachers’ non-renewal contracts that identified “budget cuts” as the reason for non-renewal? He decided not to do this.
  • With all the teacher layoffs (most from the middle schools), D38 filled elementary school vacancies with teachers from within their own buildings and outside the District? This was determined to be a site-based decision, so each elementary school decided for themselves who they would fill the new 6th grade openings with. Teachers who were not asked to stay at the new middle school, were assigned to one or more elementary school to interview with and given no special preference or priority. **UPDATE – Information was posted to the District Bulletin Board on 5-18-2010 regarding the consideration of current employees for vacant positions – Link to Bulletin Board question and answer regarding open positions.
  • Some of the D38 Elementary schools are putting in lockers for the 6th graders next year? The Districts’ response to concern over this possibility: This is a site-based decision that would fall under the $5000 or under expense allowed at the building level. Additionally, PTO’s may be paying for all or part of this expense. So, what’s the big deal? Well, when we are cutting Reading Interventionist staff at both the elementary and middle school level, having one Gifted and Talented teacher over 250 students at the middle school, and have asked tenured teachers who don’t even speak Spanish to teach it, we have MUCH bigger things to spend money on. And no matter where the money comes from, when we are facing millions in cuts, EVERY SINGLE PENNY COUNTS!

  • D38 has not yet told the community how much it will cost to convert Creekside MS to Bear Creek ES? The latest 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.
  • an inspection determined that the plumbing changes estimated to cost $30,000, are not needed? This cost was identified in the original conversion budget documents. These documents can no longer be located on the District website (as of April 2010). The money budgeted is now being spent on new carpeting and other building improvements determined to be needed.
  • The D38 School Board approved $107,000 for a brand new playground at Bear Creek ES, which will only be at 60% capacity when school opens in Aug 2010? There is $175,000 set aside for this in the District’s capital reserve fund. This fund has been reduced in the last years to help balance the budget. This fund would be used to purchase new buses if needed or to fill pot holes at LPHS parking lot. The District estimates that there will be no money available for those or many other expenses for building upkeep in the coming year.
  • To help offset costs for the new required playground, the committee over this suggested to classify it as a community park? This will then qualify some of the playground costs as eligible for certain grants. The Jackson Creek neighborhood where Bear Creek will be located, currently has 4 neighborhood parks with playgrounds.

  • The D38 community identified safety as one of its Top 5 values? Yet Lewis-Palmer MS will nearly double its incoming bus traffic in School Year 2010-2011. Bus traffic will increase from 20 to 38 buses. The Districts response to this issue is that this school has operated in the past at that capacity, so it’s not a big deal to do it again. ** NOTE: This information was announced by a district employee at the April LPMS/CMS PTO meeting. At the recent May PTO meeting, district officials said the number of buses will be lower, but did not give a new number. **UPDATE As of MAY 2010 this information was posted on the D38 website Bulletin Board gives some answers about the busing situation next year – Link to MS Transportation Q&A. (This states 33 buses in the morning at LPMS.)
  • On a report compiled by the District Administration, the capacity at Lewis Palmer Middle School was listed as 850 for the 2009-10 school year, but it is listed as 900 for 2010-11? This is because there are 3 ways to determine building capacity: by program, by building, and by site. While some of our Elementary schools are underutilized (even with the addition of the 6th grade next year), some of our schools are or will be operating past program capacity.

  • The D38 community identified classroom size as one of its Top 3 values in the Community Survey given in January? Yet at the middle school each class will increase by 7 students. At the elementary schools, some classes are already at 31 students per teacher. So much for honoring our values!
  • The high school block schedule change saves money by giving teachers one additional class (giving up a planning period) for no additional pay and this allows for more teachers to be let go? This model was supposedly adopted because of the Class Size value noted above. It should allow for smaller class sizes, but overall, each teacher will be adding to their total load.

  • in the same survey, the D38 community identified Teacher Pay and Benefits as its top value?
  • our teachers and staff have had a salary freeze enacted for the past year and for the 2010-11 school year, and cuts to benefits?
  • the LPSD Superintendent ranks 15 out of the 36 Front Range school districts for salary? While our base teacher salary ranks 25th. (Information received from a comparison by the Pikes Peak Education Association included in their Fall 2009 publication of View From the Peak. Data compiled from latest contracts available, which are public record.) In data compiled from the CDE 2008-09 School Year, the combined base salaries of our superintendents ranked 3rd in the state when compared by average salary/per pupil. The state average was $109, 442 and for our district the average was $144, 390.

  • Course offerings were voted as the 3rd top value overall and 2nd by high school parents in the January Community Budget Survey? In its Summary for Decision Making Process for School Reconfiguration (posted 1/4/2010), the District said, “It is more challenging to offer a wider range of programs when the student population is smaller. Therefore, in order to have similar opportunities, it is important to have about the same number of students at both high schools and both middle schools.”? What does that mean when the current enrollment for PRHS (9-11 grade) is 822, and LPHS (9-12 grade) is 1145, BUT projected enrollment for 2010-11 is: PRHS (9-12 grade) 1128 (that’s 94% capacity) and LPHS (9-12 grade) 881 (at 59% capacity)? Note: the District expects the small boundary change for the high schools to take a few years to impact the enrollment inequality. What will this mean for the next years’ class offerings at LPHS? And for PRHS with space issues?
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