Gilpin School District unveils new Facebook page

Board raises cafeteria and athletic fees

by Patty Unruh

The Gilpin County Board of Education met on Tuesday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m. All members were present, along with Superintendent David MacKenzie, Secondary Principal Alexis Donaldson, Elementary Principal Heather Huntoon, and Secretary to the Board Joni Schmidt.

Congratulations and Celebrations

The Booster Club provided breakfasts for secondary students’ PARCC and CMASS testing during the past two weeks. These breakfasts were much appreciated. Lisa Kennedy and Lisa Boulter received particular thanks. Casinos supplying food for the breakfasts were Grand Z, Isle of Capri, Lodge Casino, Dostal Alley, Century Casino, Red Dolly, Wild Card, and Easy Street/Bonanza.

Today I Am … So I Can

Two students from Randi Reiner’s eighth grade language arts and writing class, Haley Stundon and Madison Altman, addressed the Board on their class’s process for staying organized and motivated. Each day, goals are posted in the classroom so that students may refer to them to help them stay on task. It starts with the statement, “Today I Am working on …” Then, the reason they are doing a particular assignment, stated as “So I Can …” create something, communicate something, etc. “I’ll know I’m successful today when …” portions of the assignment are completed.

Haley and Madison told the Board members of the benefits they felt they were gaining.

“It helps us stay organized. We use this as a learning target to help us get motivated and get our work done,” they said. “We can go at our own pace.”

The girls said they referred to the goals several times during each class period.

Ms. Reiner had collected data from both of her eighth grade classes. At least 75 percent of the students found the posting helpful. She didn’t feel that the students would be learning as much without it. She also uses it herself to help her direct her instruction.

“It’s a useful tool for goal tracking and progress monitoring,” she advised.

Financial Items

The Board approved the Business Manager’s report, check vouchers, financial statement for March 2018, and the human resources report. Business Manager Terry Scharg stated in her memo that a supplemental budget for 2017-18 will be prepared, and the preliminary June budget will be presented to the Board in May.

The Colorado Senate passed SB 18-200 pertaining to public employees’ retirement benefits; this bill was to have gone before the House on April 16. The current version increases the employee contribution to 3 percent, to be phased in beginning July 1. It also removes any increase in contributions for employers and changes the highest average salary from five to seven years for all non-vested and new employees.

General fund revenue for March was $900,077; expenditures were $395,011. The quarterly financial report showed that for the 2017-18 school year ending March 31, the district was at 92.5 percent of its general fund budget. The expected year-end balance in the general fund is $3,975,833.

School Fees

The Board approved fees for 2018-19, as follows:

Building use fees will remain the same as charged for the 2017-18 school year.

Cafeteria fees will go up by $0.10 for elementary and secondary breakfast and lunch and by $0.25 for adult lunch. Milk will remain at $0.50. With the increases, elementary, middle school, and high school breakfasts will cost $1.55. Elementary lunch will cost $2.85, and middle and high school lunch will cost $3.05. Adult lunch will cost $4.00. The district has served 6,576 total elementary and secondary breakfasts so far this year, so the projected revenue increase would be $657.60. The total of all lunches served has been 30,398. The projected increase in lunch revenue is $3,226.55. The grand total of revenue increase would be $3,884.15. $50,000 has been transferred from the general fund to the food service fund so far in 2017-18. In 2016-17, $58,322 was actually transferred for the entire school year.

Athletic fees for 2018-19 will increase by $10.00 for each sport. For a first and second sport for middle school, the fee will go up from $50.00 to $60.00. For a third sport, the fee will go from $35 to $45. The additional $10.00 fee will be omitted from football, however. The maximum per student per year will go from $125.00 to $155.00. The family maximum per year will remain $250.00. For a first sport for high school, the fee will go up from $100.00 to $110.00. For a second sport, the fee will go from $75.00 to $85.00. For a third sport, the fee will go from $50.00 to $60.00. The $10.00 fee will be omitted from football. The maximum per student per year will go from $225.00 to $255.00. The family maximum per year will go down, from $450.00 to $385.00. For the 2017-18 year, 150 students played at least one sport. The projected revenue increase for that number of students is $1,500. $12,000 has been transferred from the general fund to the athletic fund so far in 2017-18. In 2016-17, $11,820 was actually transferred for the entire school year.

Emergency Response Plan

MacKenzie updated the Board on the district’s emergency management plan.

“We’ve adopted a response protocol to emergencies. We drill once a month and vary what we are drilling on. Within our drill protocol, we are amending our fire drill,” he reported. “One way to create a distraction is to pull a fire alarm, and then students and staff become targets.”

If the school is in lockdown or lockout mode and the fire alarm is pulled, everyone is advised to stay in that mode until further notice. Security can then work to identify which box was pulled and see if the school needs to be evacuated.

“The Colorado Department of Public Safety says that some buildings don’t need pull boxes, if they have enough sprinklers and so forth. We’ll look into this and get it confirmed, and if that’s the case, I recommend that we take out our boxes.”

Quarterly meetings have been conducted with local first responders. Since MacKenzie was hired, a crisis response team was instituted, and this team meets monthly or as needed. School Resource Officer Lee Ramsey has evolved into a school safety officer and runs the quarterly meetings and the crisis response team meetings.

“Meet with Staff” Update

The Board scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, April 25, at 2:00 p.m. to receive an update from school administrators regarding meetings that have been held with staff representatives pertaining to working conditions.

Holmes explained that Gilpin County School is not a union facility. Instead of administrators talking with union representatives about working conditions, an elementary and a secondary representative meet to talk with administrators about what they want; the administrators respond with what they can do. These talks are held prior to contracts being finalized.

End of Year Events

Among the many events scheduled for the end of the school year are the play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (April 19-20 at 7:00 p.m. and April 21 at noon); prom (April 27); STEM Fair (May 1-3); spring concerts (elementary on May 2 and May 3, secondary on May 9 at 7:00 p.m.), Elementary Dinner and Silent Auction (May 11 at 6:00 p.m.); senior awards (May 16 at 6:00 p.m.), high school graduation (May 19 at 11:00 a.m.), and Safety Day (May 22).


The Board repealed several policies that were no longer part of the Colorado Association of School Board master list or were repealed by CASB and the content incorporated into other policies.

The Board discussed the process of reviewing policies that were in arrears. The members gave MacKenzie authority to review and identify any policies that need changing and make recommendations, without going through first and second readings.

Secondary Principal’s Report

The staff is preparing for their Summer Institute in Vail.

Snowdodgers had their last ski trip to Loveland on April 6, ending the season with a barbecue. Donaldson thanked Dusty Newberg and the other teachers for their coordination of this club.

The sixth graders raised their own funds for their outdoor education trip to YMCA of the Rockies on April 23-25.

Elementary Principal’s Report

CMAS testing for grades 3-5 was wrapping up. The PTA provided breakfasts and snacks for the testing days.

The elementary fundraiser, spaghetti dinner, and silent auction will be held on Friday, May 11. Both the traditional and Montessori programs are involved. The goal is to raise $5,000, so each teacher can do a class project with a grant from the funds raised.

Champions of the 3-5 grade tri-mathalon were: 1st place-4th grader Andrew Cannelia, 2nd place-5th graders Scarlett Hardie and Jiselle Osteboe, and third place-5th grader Mackenzie Marr. Grade level winners: 3rd grade-Ezekiel Bloom, 4th grade-Lily Lintner, 5th grade-Jiselle Osteboe.

Technology Innovations

MacKenzie reported on the district’s newly designed website and its Facebook page.

“This has been five years in the making to get the website in its current form.” The front page is dynamic and promotes the district’s various awards, provides links to financial transparency and other services, and displays the calendar.

The Facebook page is “Like us and follow us,” MacKenzie invited. “Tag our page so we can see associated school groups, such as Boosters.” The page can carry messages about events and cancellations, photos, and more. The goal is better communication with parents and the community at large.

A survey will be going out to parents to ask how the district is doing at communicating.

Work will be done over the summer to upgrade the telephone system to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which includes new handsets and concurrent upgrade of the intercom system. It can provide non-auditory messages on-screen to teachers if a silent lockdown or lockout is needed. It will be possible to have automated announcements and automated triggering of locking the doors and calling 911. The system can be added to as the years progress.

Site Progress

Construction work has begun on the new football field and track. Hellas Construction has a 90-day time frame for the work, projected to finish by August 1.

Executive Session

The Board adjourned the public session at 8:03 p.m. and went into executive session regarding personnel matters and negotiations.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m.


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