Members hear preliminary audit report
By Patty Unruh
The Gilpin County Board of Education met November 4. Members present were President Craig Holmes, Brook Ramsey, Charlotte Taylor, Kersten Armstrong, and Rusty Hardy, as well as Superintendent David Mackenzie.
Auditor Tim Mayberry of Holscher, Mayberry & Company, LLC, certified public accountants, presented a draft of the 2012-2013 financial statements with independent auditors’ reports. Terry Scharg, the school’s business manager, was also present.
Mayberry advised that whenever a bond issue is entered into, as the legal and underwriting costs are incurred up front. According to new accounting standards, those costs have to be written off. Consequently, he said, there was an adjustment of $25,000 for those costs.
The report summarized the difficult economy and reduction in state funding over the past several years, but also stated, “In addition to total program funding, the District receives $520,488 annually as a result of a mill levy override on property taxes, as well as the Black Hawk Educational Enhancement tax. Overall, the District revenues were far better than expected in this depressed economic environment.”
Mayberry noted, “The District’s fund balance in its General Fund remains strong through a healthy, fiscally conservative approach to financial management.”
He highlighted the governmental funds balance sheet, which indicated $7 million in cash and investments in 2013, versus $6.8 million in 2012, and $3.5 million in the bond redemption fund. He said the District has enough of a reserve to repay its bond, and Holmes responded that the bond is being paid off three years ahead of time. It was to have been paid in 2017, but it will be paid off in 2014.
Mayberry then called attention to the food service fund. $38,539 was transferred into that fund for 2013, compared with about $29,000 in 2012. The reason for the increase, Holmes commented, was that the school was using a fresher program than previously, with some foods prepared on-site. He said that although food costs had increased, the District had not increased meal charges.
Mayberry also noted the $3.5 million in general obligation bonds that mature in fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
Congratulations and Celebrations
Holmes noted that the middle school boys’ and girls’ basketball teams played Longmont Christian on November 2. Both B teams won their games, although the A teams lost. He said, “The games were among the most exciting I have ever seen. Alicia Johnson got fouled in the last two seconds of the game. She went to the line and made two free throws and swished ‘em both. We won by one point. The coach told me it was the first time in 12 years that we won at Longmont Christian.”
Rusty Hardy’s Service
The Board members acknowledged Member-at-Large Rusty Hardy for his eight years of service. In thanking Hardy, Holmes said, “What I appreciate about Rusty is you always know where he stands. He’s always prepared for every meeting. His service on BOCES [the Board of Cooperative Educational Services] provided a huge benefit to our District. He won the McGuffy award two years ago from CASB [Colorado Association of School Boards] as an outstanding board member.
The Board members presented Hardy with the gift of a scenic Colorado photograph and served a special cake prepared by Ardetta Robertson, beautifully decorated with a large red apple and the inscription, “Cyrus (Rusty) Hardy, Jr., 2005-2013, In Honor of your Dedication to Children.”
Approval of Substitute
The Board approved Jane Billings as a food services substitute.
Revised Board Meeting Dates
The Board members changed their next meeting dates. There will be no meeting on November 18 as originally scheduled. Instead, the next meeting will be December 2 at 7 p.m.; the newly elected board members will be sworn in, new board officers voted on, and a new BOCES representative chosen. The December 16 meeting will be changed to December 2. A meeting will be held on December 11 at 7 p.m. to certify the mill.
CASB Fall Conference Update
Taylor reported on the fall CASB conference. She highlighted a presentation of a classroom model by Carl Fish entitled “An In-Class Rotation.” The model included three stations. One group focused on self-determined learning at computer stations, a second group worked with one or more paraprofessionals getting individual help, and a third group worked with the main instructor. The three groups shifted through the stations. “The idea is to make it relevant to students,” she said. “It’s not an instructor at the front of a class lecturing a static group.” She said classroom models are looking to engage students, use technology, and be fluid.
Seniors Thanksgiving Day Luncheon
Mackenzie informed the Board members about the Thanksgiving Day luncheon planned for Gilpin County senior citizens at the school on Thursday, November 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. He said plans include fifth graders serving food, middle school students singing, and a program showing the seniors what is going on at the school. He also advised that there had been some discussion about giving seniors free passes to athletic and other events. Holmes encouraged all Board members to attend the luncheon.
Policies for Second Reading
With little discussion, the Board went through several policies on second reading, including those on school board member and superintendent conduct and ethics, federally-mandated family and medical leave, personnel records, complaints and grievances, professional staff, and discipline of staff.
The Board accepted an affidavit as an exhibit to a policy on Board organizational meetings regarding confidentiality requirements for board members.
Mackenzie reported to the Board that the school will receive the certificate of the Board seat election on November 22. As of that date, the Board has ten days to swear in the new members, and at that meeting, which he suggested be on or before December 2, the Board should also elect its specific officers that may be open. He also advised that the certification of the mill levy would be received from the Colorado Department of Education on December 10, and the Board has to set the mill on or before December 15. The Board members decided to hold a meeting on December 11 to set the mill levy.
Mackenzie also focused on a report of an October 23 safety drill-site evacuation. He said students and staff were evacuated and loaded into buses within a few minutes and transported to their emergency site at Road and Bridge. Students were unloaded into the garage area, where in a real emergency they would be checked out to a parent or guardian. Parents received an Alert Now message about the safety drill. Students returned to class following the drill.
Taylor questioned whether there had been any thought of having an unannounced complete drill. Mackenzie replied that that had been discussed with the Safety Committee, and it had been decided against as being too disruptive. Holmes suggested a compromise, where an unannounced drill could be done to the point of getting the students on a bus, but not removed from school premises. Taylor’s main concern was testing emergency communication with parents and getting the students picked up.
Mackenzie said Gilpin students were calm during the drill, but observed that in other schools where he had participated in safety drills, during a real emergency the students lost their composure and things grew chaotic. Holmes agreed, saying that if the school gave an unannounced drill, “we’ll see things more true to form.”
Following the public portion of the meeting, the Board went into executive session regarding a student matter.
The next meeting of the Board will be December 2 at 7 p.m.