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BEST grant applications submitted PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

Hoping to leverage funds obtained from the 2010 mill levy override election, Holyoke Re-1J Board of Education approved submission of five BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant applications.

The five grants which were approved for submission at the March 1 school board meeting cover the following areas:

­1. boiler, electrical, IT.

2. school safety.

3. roofs.

4. site improvements/bus drop-off areas.

5. indoor air quality.

Supt. Bret Miles shared a couple of slides from the mill levy override committee’s presentations last fall.

One slide addressed leveraging in the three areas of focus in the override ballot question 3B. It cited additional technology funds will help secure matches for future grants, additional capital project funds can be matched by the BEST program and additional operation funds will keep the district competitive.

Another slide from the election campaign specifically addressed “Leveraging BEST.”

It noted the following could be possible with BEST grant funds with the passage of the mill levy override (3B):

—maximum size of a project could be the full $4.98 million in the master plan.

—10-year lease-purchase.

—district needs 43 percent, state contributes 57 percent.

—still utilize $180,000 already in the budget for other projects.

Without the passage of 3B for leveraging BEST, the campaign info cited the following:

—maximum size of a project would be $418,000 in any one year.

—district needs 43 percent and state contributes 47 percent.

—no other capital improvements unless budget is increased.

Since the mill levy election, Miles pointed out the split has actually been changed in favor of the district, as the district now needs 42 percent and the state contributes 58 percent for BEST grants.

All five grants total $4.4 million. Miles said he’s optimistic about the first three grants in the proposal.

Miles noted if the district receives the BEST grant, it will be getting the best possible use of the money the community gave when passing 3B (the mill levy override) last November.

Board member Jeff Tharp noted the BEST grant represents an investment of the mill levy override funds and a way to amplify the investment.

Kim Killin cited the extensive amount of time and thought put into the grant application which could make a big difference for the school district.

Miles said the district has had good support from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) for the application process.

The grant was to be hand-delivered by March 4, feedback from CDE will be given between March and June, with grants to be awarded in August.

In other grant discussion, Supt. Miles noted the Morgridge Family Foundation grant was submitted the day of the board meeting (March 1). He said he feels they’ll know the outcome by the middle of April.

In a state budget update, Miles noted the governor’s budget covers a $1 billion shortfall. A $332 million cut to K-12 education will be equivalent to $497 per pupil. For Holyoke, this means $285,775 less money for next year.

Miles added total program funding from 2009-10 through 2011-12 has been cut 14 percent for a total of $836 million.

He said he will continue to watch the legislature closely. While waiting for a March revenue forecast, Miles said he doesn’t see how the board can approve board parameters March 15. That will be delayed until the next month.


Policies reviewed

School policy on school year/school calendar/instruction time was adopted as revised at last week’s meeting. Miles noted the importance of getting the policy in place so it doesn’t have to be waived again when the 2011-12 calendar is adopted.

Additionally, the board approved first reading of Section A policies on foundations and basic commitments, Section B policies on school board governance and operations and Section C policies on general school administration.

Supt. Miles noted Section A policies on school wellness and accreditation will be reviewed at a later point after further input.

A work session followed the regular meeting, at which time the board looked at Section D policies on fiscal management.


Other business

In other business March 1, the Re-1J board:

—held a 35-minute executive session at the end of the meeting for personnel matters to discuss potential employee involvement in the sentencing hearing of Kevin Asbury scheduled in May.

—approved Kyle Stumpf as elementary principal and Susan Ortner as JR/SR high principal for 2011-12. Salary decisions will be made during passage of the budget.

­—accepted resignations from long-term substitute teacher Laura Beth Schroetlin, effective March 3; and from elementary custodian Sue Razo, effective Feb. 25.

—approved a resolution adopting Destination 2016 as the official plan to achieve the mission, vision, values and goals for the district.

—approved a contribution of 25 cents per student ($146) to the Safe2Tell organization, Colorado’s anonymous reporting system for students who feel there is a threat to their safety or the safety of someone else.

—granted use of the new gym for a PeeWee wrestling tournament Saturday, March 12.

—acknowledged two donations: $250 from Pamida and a computer and printer for the Bigger, Faster, Stronger weight program from Grainland Co-op.

—heard a report from the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) Feb. 24 Legislative Conference from board representative Jon King.

—noted board meeting start-times will change to 8 p.m. with the March 15 meeting.