by Jaye Sudar
LA VETA- The big topics at the RE-2 board meeting were Propositions 101, 60 and 61. Seaney presented information on just how these propositions would affect the school districts in Huerfano County. RE-2 could lose a total of $606,310. The per pupil share would go from $444 to $9.36. The wording of the propositions makes it look as if the voter would be saving a tremendous amount of money. No mention is made concerning all the services that would be decimated by the lack of funding. The information was provided by the Bell Policy Center, a fiscal policy institute working to educate the public on the losses that will occur if these propositions are voted into law. This information is available at www.lookingforwardcolorado.com and www.bellpolicy.org.
While the banter around the board room ranged from serious to silly on this topic, the issues boiled down quickly. If these propositions pass, no one will win. Everyone will be affected. Schools will need to cut programs and teachers. Sports, music, and art would be first on the chopping block. Districts would shut down or merge with others. While people might save on car taxes, there would be no money to repair roads. Fees would increase for utilities, water, public services, and would halt public construction and end thousands of jobs. Overall, the cuts needed to deal with such funding shortages would make the recent budget cuts seem easy.
The RE-2 board toured the RE-1 Sports Complex and were very impressed. The information gleaned from this visit may help them in decisions concerning their own football field. One possibility discussed was arranging for a visit with the parents to the sports complex to have a better understanding of all the options available.
The health department were satisfied with the progress made regarding bats at the school. Those that have been found are being transported to a better habitat. Bat houses are on the agenda for the area in order to entice bats away from the school. Seaney stated that the bat houses must be at least twenty feet off the ground.
Building updates will be a workshop topic in October with five entities bidding on work to be done for the BEST grants. Seaney stated that there are advisors who will be helping the district work through the grant process. He was advised to keep track of the expenditures on the bat removal in case those costs can be recouped via the grant.
The board is working on goals for the district. Two ideas were a district facilities master plan slated for autumn of 2011 and an educational technology plan that encompasses all aspects of education. A third idea which will be discussed at a workshop is that of a better project management process. A teacher′s inservice on NWEA best practices will be held October 15th. The board also decided to not attend the December CASB meeting in Colorado Springs in order to save money.
RE-2 received a favorable accreditation report. The district meets CDE requirements in finance and safety as well as academic, postsecondary and workforce readiness performance. The district scored 65.1% out of 100 points possible. The junior high needs some improvement, and it was stated that plans were already in the works to turn those lower scores around for next year.