“Promises Made – Promises Kept” public report
by Patty Unruh
The Gilpin County Board of Education had its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 4, at 7:00 p.m. Craig Holmes, Charlotte Taylor, Kersten Armstrong, and Steve Boulter were the Board members present; Brook Ramsey was absent. Superintendent David MacKenzie and Secretary to the Board Gretchen Sechler were present.
Congratulations and Celebrations
The high school baseball team is in full swing. Holmes noted that the team is very young this year and has been having some struggles; however, in a game played that same afternoon against Longmont Christian, the team was ahead 6-0 before the game was called due to sleet.
The Board approved a 1-step increment salary increase for all employees for 2017-2018, which equals 3.25 percent, or a 2 percent salary increase for employees who have maxed out on the salary grid for the 2017-18 school year. The Board also approved a 1 percent increase to all salary schedules for the 2017-18 school year.
The total cost of these increases would amount to $118,295.
Presently, the annual salary at Gilpin County School for a beginning teacher with no experience and just a bachelor’s degree (a BA-1 teacher) is $32,476. That is a daily rate of $199 for 163 teacher days. A 1 percent increase would bring that to $32,801 annually, or $201 per day. A 2 percent increase would be $33,125 annually, or $203 per day.
“We try to be competitive,” MacKenzie said. “We contract with our teachers for four days per week, which is 20 days less in a calendar year [than those who teach five days per week].”
According to MacKenzie’s research of surrounding school districts, Jefferson County’s daily rate for a BA-1 teacher is $203 per day ($38,000 annually), while Clear Creek’s daily rate is $177 ($32,000). Boulder Valley’s daily rate is $234 ($43,591 annually). Denver’s is $214 per day ($39,850).
The Board conducted a first reading of District calendars for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years. Both calendars are based on the schedule of the 2017-2018 calendar that was recently approved. The first days of school are on the second Mondays in August, and the last days of school are on the last Thursdays in May. Spring breaks are the last week in March. There are 151 contact days in both calendars.
Federal Regs Affect Policies
The Board considered several policies on first reading.
“A number of these are impacted by new Federal regulations and the use of Federal money,” MacKenzie reported.
The policy entitled “School Board Member Conflict of Interest” included language relating to federally funded transactions. The Board also reviewed a similar policy entitled “Staff Ethics/ Conflicts of Interest.”
A new policy, “Federal Fiscal Compliance,” was recommended by the Colorado Association of School Boards. Under this policy, if the District receives federal funds, it is required to administer such funds in accordance with federal law.
“Federal Procurement” is another new policy. It addresses services, supplies, or equipment that are purchased with federal funds. The policy assigns certain categories for certain dollar amounts. For example, a “micro-purchase” is a purchase that is less than $3,500. A “small purchase” is between $3,500 to under $150,000. “Large purchases” are those $150,000 or more and requires the District to conduct a price analysis.
“Bidding Requirements and Procedures” stated that contractual services and purchases of more than $3,500 must be put to bid. It stated that “all bids for purchases of $5,000 or more must have three or more oral quotes.” However, Holmes noted that the Board has not always been able to get three quotes. Members decided to say “three or more oral quotes preferred when obtainable.”
“Privacy and Protection of Confidential Student Information” was also new and addressed protecting the confidentiality of student information. Student privacy is protected by federal and state law. Student education records may contain personally identifiable data and information on academic work completed, level of achievement, scores on standardized tests or psychological tests, family background, and other items. The policy addressed security breaches of unauthorized disclosure of student records by a third party.
Promises Made – Promises Kept
MacKenzie presented a report, “Promises Made – Promises Kept,” which will be distributed to the public soon on the school’s website, in the Weekly Register-Call and The Mountain Ear, at EAGLESmart and other community locations, and at area businesses.
MacKenzie especially wanted to do a mailing to area realtors and invite them to a coffee and tour of the school facility. Realtors often get questions about the local school when showing properties.
“We can show them what the school has to offer families,” he said.
Holmes added that a second report could be made available in August highlighting the facility improvements.
The report is intended to assure the public that promises made by the District are being kept. It highlights the “3A for Kids,” which notes that funds generated from the November 2013 mill levy override have been used to recruit and retain the most effective teachers, expand and upgrade technology, expand security and safety, and upgrade student facilities and transportation. The report summarizes student achievement and the District’s “performance” accreditation rating. It also reports on how the Black Hawk Educational Enhancement Tax is being utilized and what the District’s strategic plan is for future standardized test results.
The District received two responses on its Request for Proposal for the sports stadium/ water line relocation/ driveway project. MacKenzie announced that these responses were now available to the public. Grapes & Sons Excavating submitted a bid for $498,105. Jim Noble, Inc. bid $286,984. The Board will discuss the bids and announce its decision in the near future.
The District’s grant application for the playground renovation was denied, with no reason provided yet. The design that had been put together had been amended to meet qualifications for the grant. Now, he said, “we’ll take out the changes and do a Request for Proposal.”
Holmes hoped to work on the back road. “I don’t have an idea on the cost, but I want to change the back road to a one-way and have signs made. We need to get a Request for Proposal done for the staircase, too.”
The Board hopes to have all facility improvement projects done this year.
Two safety drills were conducted back-to-back on April 3. A lockout drill and a lockdown drill took only 19 minutes total and were supported well by the Gilpin Sheriff’s Office, MacKenzie said.
An increase in health insurance was projected at 17-18 percent. However, although not official, it now looks as though the increase will be only 6-8 percent with the same company, with some adjustments to co-pays.
Student Council and National Honor Society worked with the Gilpin Sheriff’s Office to put on the St. Baldrick’s event for children’s cancer research in March.
Parent/ teacher conferences were held on March 30 and 31.
MacKenzie spoke about his article published in the March 30 issue of the Weekly Register-Call on the need for students to take academic standards tests. In the article, MacKenzie stated that parents can opt their children out of taking state assessments, but if they do, as Gilpin is a small school, it could affect the school’s overall score and could lower Gilpin’s annual state accreditation rating.
MacKenzie had applied to the E-Rate program (Schools and Libraries Program) for funding for a wireless network upgrade and received notice of approval. E-Rate will provide $26,431 (60 percent) and Gilpin will chip in $17,621 (40 percent), for a total of $44,053. The upgrade is to take place this summer.
The Board went into executive session regarding negotiations.
The next Board meeting is Tuesday, April 18, at 7:00 p.m.