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RE-2 considers safety concerns

by Shane Clouse
LA VETA — The RE-2 School Board has identified Garland Street, which runs between the schools, as a possible safety risk for the children. The lengthy discussion considered possible but very preliminary plans to solve the problem.
The district’s Master Plan Guideline states that in order for corrective action to be taken, the board must consider availability of funding, personnel, impact on educational delivery and operational cost. “It comes down to what’s best for the kids,” stated Superintendant Bree Lessar.
A representative of CDOT had met previously with district officials and done a safety audit and made some suggestions. There is CDOT funding available for the street project, but the deadline for the application is only six weeks away.
Of the several options available to the board, the solution suggested by the CDOT representative is to open the street between the schools and make it one way. To ensure the safety of the students, part of the plan includes speed bumps and crosswalks. Several board members were concerned about this proposal because students have played in the street during recess for the many years. . Though the board is willing to move forward in a timely matter, they were adamant about wanting the input of the teachers. As soon as they hear from the teachers, they will sit down with the La Veta town board to discuss the problem and possible solutions.
The playground has also had a safety audit by the insurance agency that covers the school district. In that audit it was discovered that some of the playground equipment does not meet the current safety codes.
Two items on the playground must be removed before school opens this next fall. The slide is to be removed and sold for scrap metal because it is a liability. One of the swing sets will be removed as well as it cannot be adjusted to comply with new codes.
A committee to redesign the playground has been working on a plan to engage the whole area. The committee includes elementary teachers and students and is headed by Don Spencer, a semi-retired school architect who has lived in the area for several years.
For just these two projects, the price tag could be substantial. For Garland street alone, the estimated cost is $350,000. The board is relying on Gaye Davis and her expertise in grant writing to fund these projects. Since joining the staff of the RE-2 school district, Davis has been key to finding the funding for several programs in the school including the newly acquired 21st Century Community Learning Center.
In other news, the board accepted a grant in the amount of $7,788 from the Huerfano County Parks and Recreation District to pay for a new scoreboard for the football field. Deb Knott, who heads up the Parks and Recreation District, said it has been five years since RE-2 applied for a grant and thanked the school district for the opportunity to help.
The board also reviewed a services and cost analysis provided by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). The RE-2 board had asked for this analysis to better understand the services that BOCES provides and their cost. The board then reviewed a survey being mailed
May 15th to parents of students. The survey is designed to give the district board input from the parents to help with their pursuit of excellence.
They then went into executive session with no action to be taken.

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