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RE-2 receives $10K donation, discusses pros and cons of Career Academy

by Jessica Andreatta
LA VETA — Superintendant Bree Lessar opened the school board meeting Monday night by addressing the board with information about education facts and figures in the state, about current enrollment in La Veta schools, and about a donation to teacher appreciation and retention.
The school received a $10,000 donation from an anonymous source sent to the district for teacher appreciation and retention to be spent on aiding teachers and programs in any way the district chooses.
Superintendent Lessar brought up the meeting she had attended on the Career Building Academy at Lathrop stating some pros and cons on the potential collaboration. Because it offers classes in fields such as construction, culinary arts, nurse assistant, automotive, and IT, it is a way to bring some variety to the students. It is also targeted to help at-risk kids finish and receive their high school diploma. However, a collaboration with this effort could cause a negative impact on the district. If any student enrolled through RE-2 drops out of the program there, it would raise the district’s drop-out rate.
It was brought to the board’s attention there was an issue with phone service to the school last week causing some concern among parents. The problem came about as a result of an upgrade to the automated answering and voice mail system. The school is trying to keep things running smoothly despite the transition to just one school secretary for the entire district. The new answering and voice mail system will allow the school to take up to four calls at once instead of two.
Email was also on the list of problems the school has been facing. With their website server desk down, administration and staff have had difficulty sending or receiving any emails. Superintendent Lessar has been on the move trying to find a solution for this problem and has considered possibly going with another server to fix this problem in a timely manner.
The board voted to include the cross-country track program in the district’s sports schedule, with varsity track coach Jess Martinez acting as head coach and volunteer Sara Martinez acting as assistant coach.
The football field was discussed next. With FEMA’s reseeding and reclamation efforts underway, parking will be limited to the parking lot only. Water taps were also discussed because a decision has to be made about future watering of the field. It will definitely make a much nicer playing environment for the football players, but such lengthy measures to rebuild the turf require the added responsibility of upkeep.
Two ¾ inch taps were included in the annex of the field several years ago. At that time, the school only paid the impact fees per tap, however, connection fees were not paid, so that becomes another expense for the school and will involve a discussion with the town board on whether or not to use town water. The school has been using raw water from the railroad for irrigation purposes.
The board made a motion to approve the Rural Development Community Facility grant in the amount of $25,000 to help fund the fire escape and improvements to be better equipped for handicap accessibility.
Gaye Davis updated the board on the progress of the playground, saying demolition of the old equipment has been finished, along with the drainage, and elevation survey. Hopefully the grading and leveling will be done by Sept. 30th allowing the school to start accepting bids on the remainder of the work. Davis noted that she hoped to see some significant progress on the playground by Oct. 31st.
November elections, the superintendent’s evaluation, strategic planning, and policy were all discussed. The board has decided to move ahead on workshops for education and excellence in financial management, along with individual committees on Strategic Planning issues to include communication, transportation, and technology.
There was also discussion on Amendment 66, and Senate Bill 213. Amendment 66 is a Colorado based legislation formally known as Initiative 22 that is a proposed November 2013 statewide ballot initiative to raise approximately $1 billion a year in new revenues for K-12 education. This would increase revenues by raising the state’s flat rate personal income tax.
Passage of the amendment would therefore bring about changes to legislation in Senate Bill 213, a revision of the School Finance Act. The amendment would also require that at least 43% of all state income, sales, and excise tax revenue be set aside to finance preschool through high school education. The board has decided to hold off on any further discussions of this matter until they are more familiar with this bill.