Gilpin School Board considers budget, staff evaluation

2012-2013 supplemental and June 2013-2014 budgets approved

By Patty Unruh

The Board of Education of Gilpin County School conducted its final meeting for the 2012-2013 school year on June 17. Board members present were Brook Ramsey, vice president, who conducted the meeting, Charlotte Taylor, Kersten Armstrong, and Rusty Hardy. President Craig Holmes attended by telephone. Superintendent David MacKenzie was present also.

The first meeting for the 2013-2014 school year will be August 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the school.

Budget Matters

Business manager Terry Scharg attended the meeting to go over the supplemental budget for fiscal year 2012-2013. This budget was supplemental to the revised adopted budget for the past school year. She explained that it was necessary to increase the budget on several items where an increase had not been anticipated. She noted the main changes that had been made from the revised adopted budget. Figures quoted in this article are from the general fund unless otherwise noted.

In revenue, Scharg added $4,000 to Early Childhood Education Assessment (ECEA), bringing that category from about $45,000 in the revised adopted budget to $49,000. $6,050 was added for an audit payment to the Department of Education where none had been budgeted. $7,100 was transferred to the transportation category, bringing that amount from about $133,000 to $140,000. That increase was because personnel had retired or resigned; also, extra money was spent on a special education route and on bus transmission repairs. $13,400 was added to the food service category, due to additional amounts spent on food and personnel changes, bringing that total from about $35,000 to $48,000.

On the expense side, Scharg said quite a bit of money had been added to cover accumulated leave for staff who had retired or left. $6,000 was added for special education students who had been admitted to the school mid-year. $10,000 was added for wireless technology. Scharg advised that the wireless equipment was being covered from the 2012-13 budget, but the actual installation and set-up of the broadband technology would be coming from next year’s budget.

$750 was added to the grant fund from the Alan Green Foundation, which was used to purchase an i-pad.

With the supplemental changes, Scharg anticipated coming in under budget if the property taxes came in as budgeted at $1.76 million. Otherwise, they would come in closer to budget. There may be a deficit, Scharg said, but not significant; hopefully, no more than $50,000.

Scharg advised that the June budget for 2013-2014 would probably change when it was seen how much revenue would be taken in in the fall. Holmes noted that the food service budget was about $6,500 less for the next school year than it had been for this past year. Scharg responded that this would probably be revised in the fall; she had prepared the budget two months ago and had not changed it yet. Armstrong questioned why the amount budgeted for elementary teachers’ salaries was down, when additional teachers were being added. Scharg replied that the staff addition was unknown at the time of the budget preparation and that revisions would be made in the fall. She added that the teachers had received a three percent bonus for the 2011-2012 school year; last year, they had only a two percent step increase, so there was a decrease of one percent for that item. “All salary line items will be completely revised in the fall,” she said.

The Board accepted the financial statements and monthly check vouchers as submitted, approved the 2012-2013 supplemental budget in the amount of $13,365,685, and approved the June budget for 2013-2014 in the amount of $11,533,065.

Intergovernmental Agreements

The Board approved the consolidated programs application for the 2013-2014 No Child Left Behind. They also approved the intergovernmental agreements with Mt. Evans Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and Gilpin County School District for Lynn Gentry as special education coordinator and for Michelle Haich as gifted and talented coordinator. They approved the hiring and contract, stipend and intergovernmental agreement with Clear Creek School District and Gilpin County School District for April Andrescavage, occupational therapist.

Drug Free Workplace Policy

The Board discussed an acknowledgment form exhibit to the Drug Free Workplace Policy, in which employees would agree to abide by terms of the policy and to notify their supervisor if they are convicted of violating a criminal drug statute in the workplace. The exhibit had been inadvertently omitted from presentation in an earlier meeting and was presented at the June 17 meeting for review. Hardy stated that the District’s attorney should review the exhibit, believing that “workplace” should be stricken from the wording. He said it would only cover violations committed at school; employees could still have latitude to commit drug violations in other locations. Holmes agreed, and Dr. MacKenzie added that the exhibit did produce a lot of loopholes.

CASB Season Ticket

The Board discussed the purchase of a Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) season ticket for 2013-2014. The ticket offers a 20 percent savings off registration fees on board training, education, and networking events. Four board members or staff may be registered for one year of conferences at the rate of $3,400. Additional season ticket registrations may be purchased for the discounted rate of $850. The savings amounts to $860 for four registrations and $215 on each additional registration. Secretary Robin Cortez noted that the registrations are not designated and may be used by anyone. The Board approved purchasing six registrations.

DAC Report

  The District Accountability Committee presented its year-end report. The committee had been given a charge by the Board for the past school year to address SB 10-191, teacher evaluations; the Unified Improvement Plan; students taking ownership for their education; and budget. The committee had agreed with a recommendation by school administrators to use the State model for the training and implementation of SB 10-191, feeling that it would help improve the teaching and learning experience of the students. Committee member Gigetta Nadeau was present and advised the Board that the Committee needs new members and teacher participation.

Instructional Staff Guidelines

The Board approved a handbook of guidelines for evaluating teachers. The original intent was to discuss the guidelines on a first reading only, but since this was the last meeting of the season and the District was required to adopt and submit the handbook to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) by July 1, the Board approved it as is. The handbook is the CDE model evaluation system for teachers and principals and was pilot tested during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years in various districts. The purpose for the evaluations is to serve as a basis for the improvement of instruction and to measure a teacher’s professional growth. CDE will provide professional development and resources to districts that adopt the Colorado state model.

Half of the evaluation will be based on five quality standards that measure professional practice: content knowledge, establishment of classroom environment, facilitating of learning, reflection on practice, and demonstration of leadership. Student growth accounts for the other half of the evaluation and is based on multiple measures of student growth or learning over time.

The handbook contains a rubric, or scoring tool, that breaks down each teaching quality being evaluated. The elementary and secondary principals, and perhaps also the superintendent, will be evaluating each teacher—a monumental task the first year, Dr. MacKenzie said, but not as laborious in subsequent years, because previous evaluations can simply be reviewed for improvements or regressions. Evaluators have to prepare written reports noting what improvements, if any, are needed and setting forth recommendations. Teachers with unsatisfactory performance will be given opportunities to correct the problems and may appeal the evaluation.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. MacKenzie noted that disciplinary actions were up during the past school year for elementary students compared to the previous year, but were down for secondary students. There were no expulsions and only one drug-related matter.

Staffing looks to be complete for next year, the technology plan has been updated, and summer cleaning is in progress by the custodial staff.

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