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Gilpin School Board encourages community participation

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Coach Tony Lorenz celebrated for 28 years of helping youth

By Curt Halsted

Early in the meeting Kelly Bayne shared with the board that Tony Lorenz would be retiring from coaching. Tony has spent the last 28 years sharing his talents and leadership with Gilpin youth both at the school and at the Community Center coaching Middle School Basketball, Football, Baseball and Little League Baseball. Tony graduated from Gilpin High in 1982 and went on to be a founder of the Gilpin Little League program in 1993. Sarah Swanson shared that as a board member and a parent she wanted him to know he is appreciated.

Gilpin County School Pandemic Report

Gilpin County School Superintendent Dave MacKenzie shared with the board that after 87 days of in-person learning we have only seen four quarantine groups. Sara Swanson pointed out that as far as we know from those quarantines there have been no known in school transmissions. Dr. MacKenzie shared praise for the parents not sending sick children to school. When asked by a parent if it was still necessary for students to wear masks, he stated that mask use will continue probably until the end of the year, and may be part of next year as quarantines become unnecessary, while infection rates go down and more and more people get vaccinated. One celebration was that with most of the staff being vaccinated and immune, after Spring Break quarantines will be easier to deal with as vaccinated staff will not need to be included in the quarantine groups. He wanted everyone to understand that the importance of the quarantine is to safely measure whether students did or did not catch the coronavirus at school. He finally recommended to the board that for the 2021/2022 school year the school offer both in-person and remote learning through CDLS. He said that designated Gilpin teachers would also be available to support CDLS students. Remote instruction from Gilpin teachers would only be available in the case of quarantine at home or at school.

School Board and Teachers to Meet and Confer

Gilpin County School Board members Joe Marr and Sarah Swanson will meet with the Teachers Union on Wednesday March 11th to discuss teacher’s salary schedules and other concerns teachers may have. The board has been hopeful that funding a raise at the base of the teacher’s salary would make Gilpin more competitive when hiring new teachers. They asked Business Manager Terry Scharg to create a report laying out a prospective budget report for the next five years to see the ramifications of the increase. Scharg’s report showed that with the likelihood of declining enrollment due the attrition of large classes within Gilpin High School, and everything considered in the 2026/2027 school year, the district would show a deficit of nearly $450,000. The projection included awarding teachers their step raises on the current grid, but did not take into consideration the proposed improvements to the grid. The Board as a whole was very appreciative of the report and discussed scenarios where savings could be made and income be raised. They pointed out that the likelihood of decreasing enrollment would also translate into less staff. Another idea was to decrease insurance costs by joining other small school districts to become a larger insurance group. Dr. MacKenzie pointed out that if the mil levy had passed in the November 2020 election that the 2026/2027 projection would be solvent.

Board Passes a Contingency Reserve Resolution to Buffer Possible Funding Losses

Board Member Joe Marr read a resolution to save $1million dollars in the schools investments account of the Colorado Trust to help with declining funds due to the loss or reduction of the Black Hawk sales tax, or reduced state funding. The resolution passed unanimously.

New Electronic Form to Encourage Public Participation at Board Meeting Adopted

The school board passed another unanimous resolution to create a digital form, to be placed on the school website, for communication with the board. The board would allow for the participants to lodge concerns and offer solutions.

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