David Ulrich accepts Moffat County superintendent’s post | CraigDailyPress.com

David Ulrich accepts Moffat County superintendent’s post

School District, interim superintendent, consider budget

Michael Neary

— David Ulrich has accepted the position of superintendent with the Moffat County School District, Board of Education President Darrell Camilletti said Friday.

“It’s obviously contingent upon the details of the contract,” Camilletti said. “He’s excited about making the move here.”

The board voted unanimously on Thursday to offer the position to Ulrich, currently the deputy director of secondary education for North Kansas City Schools, in Missouri.

Camilletti said contract details may be worked out by the end of next week.

“We’ve talked about him coming a little early to do some transitional work with Dr. Ververs,” Camilletti added.

Morris Ververs was contracted by the district in mid-April to act as interim superintendent.

“I’m going to meet with him,” Ververs said of Ulrich. “I’m going to share with him what I’ve learned so that it doesn’t take him a month to learn what I’ve learned in a month.”

Since Ververs has been with the district, he has, among other things, conducted a round-table discussion with school board members and administrators and plunged into the heart of budget discussions.

After meeting with a range of administrators, Ververs presented a preliminary budget to the school board on Thursday, which was unanimously accepted, though not as the final budget. A public hearing is planned for early June, for a date not yet finalized.

The administrators who met with Ververs included school principals, along with the directors of transportation, food services, maintenance and other departments. Ververs said the group, which met for two days, wanted to balance the budget if possible. He noted a second goal.

“We wanted to absolutely minimize the impact on the education of children,” he said. “I really feel like we succeeded in that, but we only succeeded because of a lot very painful, difficult and complex discussion … about how is all this is going to affect the kids.”

A balanced budget, Ververs said, was not the final result.

“We ended up having a deficit budget of $216,000,” he said. “I have some discomfort with that, because if we have a deficit budget every year we’re eventually going to feel the pain from that. But I feel like within this particular circumstance, going to a full balanced budget would have meant a lot more cuts in personnel and a lot more negative impact on the education of kids.”

Among the proposed cuts was the elimination of six full-time equivalencies among classified staff positions, a topic of concerned discussion among school board members on Thursday.

The proposed budget retained the positions of six instructional coaches.

“There was a lot of discussion about that,” Ververs said. “I think there’s a perception, maybe in the community, that maybe we don’t need (the instructional coaches) to educate kids.”

But Ververs noted the work the coaches have done with curriculum alignment and other tasks.

“The instructional coaches were put in a couple of years ago to help with this process and make sure that every kid in every class is really getting an aligned curriculum — aligned with the state standards and aligned with everything that’s happening the grade before and after,” he said.

Ververs said the group working on the budget affirmed resoundingly that instructional coaches are “a really important part of our program.”

He noted that state standards drive the curriculum.

“That’s not a bad thing, because a lot of people don’t understand that the state standards are nothing more than teaching kids the skills they need to live in today’s world,” he said.

Ververs said the instructional coaches also consider information surrounding each student’s learning and help teachers to “make sure that we are designing instructional programs that are appropriate to the data we have on every student.” Their work, he added, includes a significant role in supporting English Language Learners.

About the proposed budget as a whole, Ververs said, “I think the budget has a lot of integrity to it. There is some pain associated with it … but it would have been a whole lot worse if we had actually balanced the budget.”

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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