Gilpin students see Colorado government “Close-Up”

Pupil Activity Fund to get a facelift

by Patty Unruh

The Gilpin County Board of Education held its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 18. All Board members attended. Secondary Principal Alexis Donaldson, Elementary Principal Heather Huntoon, Superintendent David MacKenzie, and Secretary to the Board Gretchen Sechler were present.

Congratulations and Celebrations

Donaldson thanked the Booster Club, Lisa Boulter, and Lisa Kennedy for providing hot breakfasts for the secondary students during standardized testing this week. Boulter noted that several casinos donated food for the breakfasts.

Springs sports are in full swing. One or two track athletes may qualify for the state track meet.

Donaldson thanked teachers Dusty Newberg for coordinating the Snowdodgers program and Su Henry for coaching the students for World Language Day.

The spring play will be performed this week.

Huntoon thanked the PTA for providing hot breakfasts and snacks for the elementary students.

There was 94 percent attendance at elementary parent-teacher conferences.

Super School News aired today and will air again on April 20 and 22; several elementary students were involved in the PBS production.

Colorado Close-Up

Secondary teacher Jennifer Gillette and some of her civics students had attended Colorado Close-Up, a program to help young people learn about state government in action. They visited the Colorado Congress, the Colorado Supreme Court, and the Denver City and County Courts.

Student Rachel Schmalz reported, “My favorite part was sitting in on the House and seeing how bills were passed.”

“It was a really good experience to see up close how government works,” Carly Johnson related. “I’d highly recommend that upcoming students do this.”

Aspen Nadeau recalled a talk by Ethan Fisher, who shared his experiences with the consequences caused by his drunk driving infraction. “He’ll be coming to Gilpin to talk with the students before prom next week,” she said.

Katelyn Armstrong noted, “The Senate is much more formal than the House. It was cool to see how a group came and tried to get a bill passed.”

The students also viewed a mock trial on a freedom of speech case and observed part of an actual trial on domestic abuse.

One-Point Art Perspective

Fifth-grader Jordanna Gagnon was the March Artist of the Month for her pencil drawing showing the one-point perspective technique.

“This drawing shows a birds’-eye perspective over the tall buildings of a city,” Jordanna said. The drawing included the required “vanishing point” element (that spot on the horizon line to which receding parallel lines diminish).

Art teacher Curt Halsted explained, “This is a difficult concept, even for high school students. Jordanna did a great job. She’s a very hard-working artist.”

Public Participation

Board member Taylor presented a 3×5-foot flag that had been donated by the Central City Elks Lodge.

Board member Steve Boulter advised, “I met with a gentleman who went to school here. He offered old yearbooks and letter sweaters for a display. Many of you will remember Don Mattivi. I believe his father was a coach here in the 1950’s and 1960’s.”

Consent Items

The Board approved the Business Manager’s Report, check vouchers, financial statement for March, quarterly financial report for the first quarter of 2017, and the human resources report.

Business Manager Terry Scharg reported that it will be necessary to prepare a supplemental budget to accommodate additional capital expenditures. She also said that no decision has yet been made on a School Finance Act at this point of the state legislative session. Two of the biggest issues with the School Finance Act relate to the negative factor and the drop in residential assessment rates.

Scharg said the legislature is considering a possible increase in full-day kindergarten funding. The Reward Act is also being considered; it would decrease total program funding for all schools by one percent based on 2017-18 numbers. The one percent would then be distributed to the top ten performing rural schools and the top ten performing non-rural schools.

General fund revenue for March was $878,076. Expenditures were $402,147.

Holmes noted the resignation of District administrative assistant Michelle Herrera-Welch and thanked her for her service to the District.

Pupil Activity Fund

The Board approved moving monies as needed within the Pupil Activity Fund to reflect current classes and programs.

MacKenzie explained that this is a “money in and money out” fund. Money goes directly to various programs and is expended for those programs. Several of the categories in this fund are now obsolete.

Once an item is entered into the fund, it is to remain there, but MacKenzie recommended that monies kept in outdated categories be moved to related current items (i.e., moving old marching band funds to a related current music account). The old categories would still appear on the fund but would then show zero balances. Monies donated by people for specific purposes a decade or so ago would be moved to accounts to provide for current needs.

Holmes asked for a recap after the update was done.

2017-18 Fee Schedule

The Board approved the 2017-18 fee schedule, which includes fees to be paid for facility use by District groups (no charge), youth groups, non-profits, and organizations that use the building that are not youth-related or non-profit. The schedule also lists student activity fees for sports, drama, Snowdodgers, and traditional and Montessori pre-school tuition.

The Board discussed meal cost options for next school year. Option 1, which the Board decided to go with, was to keep the meal fees the same for next year as they are this year. MacKenzie explained that the District must maintain equity in what it charges for meals. If it doesn’t charge what is recommended by the USDA, it must supplement the food service fund from the general service fund. Option 2 would have raised meals by $0.05, also necessitating a supplement. Option 3 would have raised meals by $0.10; no supplement would be needed with that option.

MacKenzie discussed the equity of drama fees. $35 is charged for elementary students participating in the elementary theater workshop, as well as for participating in the spring play. To make the fees more fair, a $35 costume fee will be charged for middle and high school students.

“If a student is in the workshop and the play, they will be charged just once,” MacKenzie added. “That might satisfy the equity question.”

Holmes wanted to see Gilpin take a “holistic view,” to see what fees other comparable school districts, such as Clear Creek and Platte Canyon, charge students for meals and drama activities.

Elementary Principal’s Report

Huntoon reported on a mindfulness training session by occupational therapist April Andrescavage. “Mindfulness” is a psychological technique geared toward reducing stress by making participants mindful of what is occurring around them at the moment. The practice can include meditation for teachers and students, but Huntoon said it was not utilized in the teachers’ session in an effort to avoid religious connotations.

Spring field trips include the Denver Art Museum and the Capital Building and outdoor ed camping.

CMAS and PARCC testing is concluding this week.

Secondary Principal’s Report

PARCC and CMAS testing will finish this week. 10th and 11th graders took PSAT and SAT tests on April 11.

Upcoming events include prom on April 28 at the Denver Botanic Gardens and after-prom at the school; the sixth grade outdoor ed trip to the YMCA of the Rockies on April 24-26; a Rockies game on April 27, and the spring arts festival on May 3.

Superintendent’s Report

A Request for Proposal on playground equipment and safety surfacing design and installation is due April 20 at noon, concurrent with the public opening of bids.

The District’s health insurance for 2017-18 has been updated. Aetna will continue to be the health provider, but co-pays and deductibles will go up. Staff can keep their same doctors, and there will be a premium rate increase of less than one percent. The District will switch to Humana to keep dental rates down.

A team from another school district will perform an audit of the transportation department and give recommendations.

“Report to the Public” information will be distributed beginning next week, in the Weekly Register-Call and The Mountain Ear and around the community.

Next Meeting

The next public meeting will be Tuesday, May 2, at 7:00 p.m.

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