CommunityEducationNews

Track and field project to begin at Gilpin School

Board discusses fees for cafeteria, building use, athletics

By Patty Unruh

The Gilpin County Board of Education held its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 3. Board members present were Craig Holmes, Brook Ramsey, and Kersten Armstrong; members Sarah Swanson and Steve Boulter were absent. Also present were Superintendent David MacKenzie and Secretary to the Board Joni Schmidt.

Fee Schedules

The Board is considering some increases to various fees for 2018-19. First, they examined present cafeteria fees and compared them with fees being charged by other districts. Those districts included Platte Canyon, Clear Creek, Jefferson County, and Boulder Valley, and all of them charge more than Gilpin.

Gilpin’s present cost of adult/staff lunch is $3.50. MacKenzie recommended increasing that to $3.75. The reason for the increase, he said, was that the Colorado Department of Education had informed him that the school lunch program can’t reimburse for adult lunches.

“Our fees could appear that we are being reimbursed. Raising the adult lunch cost will show that these are covered.”

Other cafeteria fees might go up by $0.10 for the 2018-19 school year. This year, elementary breakfast is $1.35, elementary lunch is $2.65, middle and high breakfast is $1.35, middle and high lunch is $2.85, and milk is $0.50. Milk would remain at $0.50.

There was a $0.10 increase in cafeteria fees in 2016-17. No increases were made in 2017-18.

Building use fees were not discussed, but MacKenzie said outside groups who ask to use the building are few and far between. He felt the fees should be left as is. The only real cost for outside groups would possibly be custodial fees.

Fees for non-profits now range from $15 to $45 per hour depending on day of the week and $25 per event. For-profit groups are charged $55 to $65 per hour for certain rooms and $25 per event for use of other areas.

Athletic fees were examined. Historically, MacKenzie noted, the District has supplemented the athletic budget at a rate of approximately $10,000 per year. Athletic costs are rising, most notably for fees for those who officiate at games, including PERA retirement contributions. The supplementation needed for these increased costs is now close to $15,000.

For middle school, the fees are $50 for a first sport; for high school, it is $100. These fees are less for second and third sports. Football costs $10 more for both middle and high, but MacKenzie said Athletic Director Jeff Schuessler had recommended doing away with the $10 extra football fee.

MacKenzie suggested three options: (1) to raise all athletic fees by $10; (2) to raise fees by $15; (3) to leave fees as they are. He also suggested lowering the family sports maximum for high school from $450 per year to $385 per year, which would help families with more than one student in athletics.

He had compared Gilpin’s fees with those of Clear Creek and Nederland and found those two districts were higher.

Pupil Activity Fund

An “Activities Account Clean-Up” report showed what accounts have been closed and where the monies were moved. Last year, the Board approved moving monies as needed within the fund to reflect current classes and programs. (Several of the categories in this fund had become obsolete.) Monies kept in outdated categories were moved to related current items. The old categories still appear on the fund but show zero balances.

A cash balance report was designed as a history of accounts while at the same time making adjustments. A $10,442 negative balance was noted for athletics. MacKenzie anticipates that will be a negative $15,000 balance by June 30, and monies from the general fund will then be transferred to the activity fund.

Track and Field Work to Begin

The Board approved a Construction Agreement for $1.7 million between the District and Hellas Construction, Inc. for the removal and replacement of the existing natural grass football field with a multipurpose artificial turf sports field and the installation of a six-lane, all-weather track.

MacKenzie planned to meet with Hellas on Wednesday this week. The construction company was to begin moving earth to prepare the site this Thursday or Friday. It is hoped that the work will be completed by the start of school next August, but no completion date has been announced.

“This project is something that has been discussed here for over 20 years. We want to provide the kids and the whole community with a place to walk, run, and jog. We have been working on it with our architect and civil engineer for the past two years.”

During the construction process, which will begin while school is still in session, Hellas is to provide signage and port-a-potties. A place to park their equipment needs to be decided on, as parking for guests for spring concerts and graduation could be a concern. MacKenzie told Hellas that the front drive needs to be kept clear and the water tank needs to be accessible.

Superintendent’s Report

There will be a three-day summer institute for the secondary teachers. They will work on differentiation (lessons based on students’ learning styles), project-based learning, and design thinking. Elementary teachers will also have an institute, focusing on K-5 science and social studies.

Lights in the atrium have been burning out and leaving the atrium with dim lighting. An electrician worked over spring break to retrofit the lighting and upgrade to LED lights.

MacKenzie had applied for a GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) grant for the track and field project, but it was not awarded. He wasn’t certain of the reason.

He had not heard from a grant application with the Daniels Fund, but will check on it. “That was somewhat dependent on our getting the GOCO grant, so we may not get a Daniels grant either,” he said.

The Colorado Health Foundation (CHF) had visited the school’s site on March 21 regarding a prospective grant. This group does not fund capital projects, MacKenzie reported, but he promoted the track and field work as a walking track for the community. He had also met with the director of the senior program at the Gilpin Community Center to see if a program could be worked out for the seniors to use the track. The CHF representative said he would do his best to get the District a grant, “but it would be a tough sell.”

A meeting with the Gates Foundation about a grant had gone well, MacKenzie said, and the District should hear the Foundation’s decision in three or four weeks. It does not look as though the District will receive much grant money for the track and field project, however.

The District will join the Colorado BOCES cooperative in 2018-19 in order to get cheaper prices for the food service. The supplier is Shamrock, which also supplies milk, so there wouldn’t be a need for a separate supplier for milk.

Costs for health insurance for 2018-19 appear to be going up, so the District will need to look at raising deductibles.

PERA retirement changes are being considered in the legislature. MacKenzie had been speaking with superintendents of other districts, and the general prediction was that, because this is an election year, nothing will happen.

A bus driver candidate had been interviewed. She has experience with Boulder Valley and lives locally.

The District has stopped featuring individual students on its website marquee. There had been complaints over some students being featured while others were not, so that seemed the most viable solution. Protocols need to be created for how to decide what goes on the site and on the District’s new Facebook page.

MacKenzie has been working with secretary Catrina Amaya on the idea of a survey to parents where they could rate the effectiveness of the school’s communication methods.

One communication issue is that athletic game locations sometimes change, and the changes are not always made known. The athletic director and coaches could turn in the game location information so it could be posted properly, Board members said.

State testing begins on April 9, and the District’s technology is ready for these assessments. MacKenzie said the assessment schedule is posted on the website. Parents may opt their children out of the tests.

The school has struggled with water quality problems this school year. After much work and testing, the water tanks were checked in January and in February and were fine both times. They will be tested again in a couple of months, and then another test will be performed in about a year if all is well. Although the water is now judged safe, some people continue to complain of a bad taste, but they may use the fountains with filtered water. In time, MacKenzie would like to have all the fountains replaced with filtered water fountains.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m.

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