Redistricting proposal to appear on November ballot after Moffat County School Board certification
September 5, 2018
CRAIG — Voters will decide two issues important to Moffat County public school educators when they go to the polls in November.
Language for Moffat County School District RE:1 Referred Measure 4A was certified by the Moffat County School District Board of Education during its monthly meeting, held Thursday, Aug. 30.
If adopted, the measure will replace the current seven-district representatives with representatives from five newly drawn districts and two at-large positions.
School board members also joined the Moffat County Education Association in support of Amendment 73 by passing a resolution in support of the measure.
The statewide initiative "will bring Colorado's investment in public education closer to the national average by raising $1.6 billion dollars annually; provide sustainable support for schools by stabilizing school property taxes; provide additional funding for all students; and address the most pressing needs of Colorado's public schools — specifically, funding for full-day kindergarten and a significant increase in funding for Early Childhood programs, Special Education programs, at-risk students, English Language Learners and Gifted and Talented students; and … (give) local school boards greater ability to respond to parent and community input and provide programs and services to meet the needs of all their students," according to the resolution.
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To be adopted as an amendment to the state constitution, 55 percent of Colorado voters must vote “yes.”
"If Amendment 73 passes," states the resolution, "… the board commits to focusing on the following priorities: capital improvements and competitive salaries, while acknowledging that priorities will evolve, as community engagement is an ongoing process and revenue from Amendment 73 is annual funding …"
Board member Lee Atkin was not present to cast a vote for these or any of the other decisions made by the board.
Those board members present also unanimously approved the second reading of policies dealing with federally mandated family and medical leave, instructional staff contracts, compensation and salary schedules, graduation requirements, teaching about controversial issues and use of controversial materials, activity and athletic fees, suspension and expulsion and denial of admission, and student fees, fines and charges.
The board also passed the first reading of policies on Tobacco-Free Schools, the use of transportation equipment, school year and school calendar, grading and assessment systems, corporate sponsorships, and distribution and posting of printed, non-curricular materials.
Board members further voted unanimously to approve a consent agenda, the 2018-19 Balanced Scorecard — a list of goals for the academic year from the five-year strategic plan — and ratified an intergovernmental agreement for the district's ballot initiative.
Finally, board members heard regular reports from the high school and middle school about sports and activities, delivered by Director of Curriculum and Educator Effectiveness Zack Allen and Superintendent of Schools Dave Ulrich.
In a work session before the board meeting members also:
• Learned that a marketability study of the Yampa Building has been initiated as the first part of an appraisal process.
Bob Stevens, from Stevens Real Estate Services, has been hired to provide a non-traditional appraisal process that will begin by discovering if there is a market for the building.
"Before we begin focusing on market value, I would suggest we find out if there is a real market and how immediate is it," Stevens said.
Reports from Building Excellent Schools Today indicated that the Yampa Building would be the easiest for the district to sell, however, "easiest doesn't mean, in this market, that it is easy to repurpose. While it might be easier than East, that doesn't make it easy," Stevens said, adding that the building would compete with other large vacant spaces, such as the old Kmart and Safeway.
The marketability study should provide guidance about the best option that could include holding the property until the market recovers, creating a joint venture or regional collaboration or if there is a market moving to appraisal before listing to sell.
"Ultimately, if we need a fair market value, we will have it. It's going to be a process," said Joanne Baxter, school board president.
• School board members heard a presentation about the impact of the Museum of Northwest Colorado and Moffat County Libraries ahead of an expected campaign requesting voters consider passing a mill levy to provide dedicated funding for both facilities.
• Veterans Ed Wilkinson and Brian Baxter presented the school district with nine new flags on behalf of the local American Legion. The Legion relied on donations and fundraising events to pay for the flags, which they then gave to help the school district replace faded and tattered U.S. and Colorado flags at public schools. With the support of donors, they hope to keep the program going.
• Ahead of their review of policies, school board member and physician Dr. Elise Sullivan provided the board with brief definitions of gender and sexual orientation, as well as statistics about the vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students to thinking about, attempting, and completing suicide.
• New Director of Facilities Jarrod Ogden and retiring director Mike Taylor provided the school board with a report prioritizing capital projects, should Amendment 73 be approved by Colorado voters in November. The priorities include consideration of increased pay for staff to help with recruitment and retention of professionals in charge of maintenance, a program to fund asphalt replacement and repair, and interior paint and floor covering program to fund regular improvements to a small number of classrooms in each building each year based on a schedule and upgrade and maintenance of electrical systems.
"We've worked on crisis management. It would be great to get ahead of some things," Taylor said, adding, "I appreciate the staffing, it does affect us. … We have chosen education, but we still have to pay the bills at the end of the month. When you freeze wages, it's hard to get workers and hard to keep up."
Despite the challenges, Ogden ended on a positive note.
"I hope it doesn't sound like doomsday. We have a good crew… The maintenance department has done a phenomenal job. If approved this money would make it easier to maintain and update," he said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.