Ballot wording confirmed for school’s mill levy question

Ballot wording for Holyoke School District’s mill levy override extension question was confirmed by the Board of Education at its Sept. 3 meeting.

If passed on Nov. 5, the ballot issue will extend for five years (through 2025) a current 7.0-mill override, which is scheduled to expire after collection year 2020.

With regard to the election of board members this November, four candidates filed nomination petitions for the four open board seats. Initially, it was reported that the candidate portion of the election could be canceled.

However, the day after the board meeting, it was confirmed that if the district has the mill levy override election, the candidates need to be on that ballot, as well.

As a result, the four candidate names will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot, and all will be elected for four-year terms.

The candidates are newcomer Justin Clayton and incumbents Chas Lengfelder, Summer Maloney and Dusty Sprague.

Current board member Lucas Schlachter is not seeking reelection. Other board members whose terms do not expire this year are Pat Wiebers, Trampas Hutches and Jon Kleve.


Board considers pursuing qualifications for energy performance contract

Following Will Benish of Schneider Electric’s Aug. 20 proposal for an investment grade audit, the board discussed a direction to take at this point.

A Sept. 17 meeting agenda item will involve pursuing requests for qualifications of energy performance contract companies to determine if the district wants to work with them. After gathering this information, the board can decide whether to request quotes for an investment grade audit.

With regard to going forward with such an audit, Sprague emphasized the need to make sure it is integrated in an overall plan. He added that he would like to see contract wording for how paybacks are guaranteed for energy savings.

Looking at how this could benefit the district’s applications for Building Excellent Schools Today grants, if the board should decide to go that route, Superintendent Kyle Stumpf shared his opinion.

“It could benefit a BEST application that we’re trying to find other ways to fix some things — spending our money to do it.”

He added if the district never goes for a BEST grant, the projects can be done to spruce up the buildings and make things better for the kids.

If anything at all is done at the elementary school, Stumpf emphasized making sure the payback is five to seven years or less. He added that it doesn’t make sense to do something long-term for the aging building.

Additionally, Stumpf said an investment grade audit could help in a BEST grant application, showing that an outside party has told the district specific details as to what is needed to make the buildings more efficient.


Administrators give back-to-school reports

JR/SR high counselor Angela Powell and elementary principal Andrea Kammer shared enrollment statistics for the two building as the school year kicks off. Activities director John Baumgartner also highlighted participation numbers in fall sports.

Powell noted that 156 classes are offered over eight periods for JR/SR high students. Most classes are under 20 students per class, with 11%-15% of the classes being over 20.

Changes this year at the JR/SR high include a 20-minute Individual Career and Academic Plan period before lunch instead of a full period at the end of the day. Seniors will receive Dave Ramsey financial literacy, and Powell cited that First Pioneer National Bank helped purchase materials and will help teach this.

Also, passing periods have been shortened from four to three minutes, the lunch period is slightly longer, and all junior high students are taking P.E.

Powell added that new college classes, more junior high electives, and science, technology, engineering and math/computer science classes are being offered.

Kammer reported that 85% of the K-6 parents attended the parent-teacher conferences that were incorporated into back-to-school time the day before classes started this year. A survey will be going out in the September newsletter for parents to assess the before-school PT conferences.

She cited in-service activities prior to the start of school. Within the visible learning piece, staff helped create success criteria for linking walks that will take place three times a year, led by impact coach Melanie Wheeler. Four coaching days by Wheeler are also planned.

Changes to the elementary schedule include lunch order, all grades K-6 have two recesses (opposite of specials for most), and teachers include at least 10 minutes a day of social-emotional learning.

Stumpf added that he felt the back-to-school registration day that was added this year went well, and some changes are being considered for next year.

The number of applications for free and reduced lunches is up by 65, Stumpf added. While not all may qualify, the completed applications have potential benefit for the district with the October count and the report to Colorado Department of Education for funding.

Baumgartner cited that about 53% of the grade 7-12 student population is participating in fall sports. That includes a few sixth graders, as well. All are enrolled in random drug testing.

Asked about concussion protocols, Baumgartner said athletic trainer Kendra Schlachter does an impact test for baseline reports on all incoming freshmen and juniors who are out for sports.

Volunteers are much appreciated for athletic assistance, such as the football chain crew and more, said Baumgartner. He noted that he could use some volunteers to take tickets for the first half hour or so of game situations when teachers are still in class.


District goals highlighted

Five goals for the district were approved by consensus to replace the Destination 2016 goals. The new goals are targeted to align with Student-Centered Accountability Program strategic priorities. The goals include:

— Foster a positive, inclusive environment that is welcoming, empowering and safe for all students, staff and parents.

— Recruit, retain and develop a high-quality teaching and classified staff.

— Enhance professional communication and collaboration with all staff where best practices, cutting-edge professional development and implementation of an aligned curriculum optimize instruction and ensure student learning and success.

— Engage stakeholders as partners in the success of every student.

— Build trust and confidence with the community and district staff in developing and managing a balanced budget through fiscal planning and fiduciary oversight/guidance.

Vision and values statements for the district will be referred to shared leadership committees this fall for revision suggestions to hopefully be implemented by next fall.


Other business

In other business Sept. 3, the school board:

— Approved two additional nonresident students, Jalen Hunter and Jerren Hunter.

— Heard from Family, Career and Community Leaders of America officers LorenJo Oberle and Anna Chaney, volunteering the chapter’s services as needed by the district.

— Adopted several Colorado Association of School Board policies on second reading after being presented Aug. 9. Policy topics included maternity/paternity/parental leave, staff leave, administrative guidelines for leave, sick leave bank, and support staff vacations and holidays.

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