The Community Committee for Education (CC4E) continued its work throughout the summer. Meetings were held on June 14, June 28 and July 12 and August 9. The primary focus of the summer sessions was to finish compiling community comments collected in the spring and early summer, build Task Forces subcommittees to work on the topics identified in the community forums and to respond to actions of the school district and Board of Education.
Superintendent Brad Meeks spoke regarding current discussions by the Board of Education to put a Mill Levy on the November ballot to permanently fund full-day kindergarten. Committee members agreed there is no debate on the merits of full-day kindergarten. Some members expressed concern about going to voters two years in a row with kindergarten Mill Levy this fall and potential bond or additional mill levy next fall. Committee members also commented on the effort it would take to get a kindergarten mill levy passed and wondered who would be working on this effort. In a related conversation Meeks discussed the need for regular reporting from CC4E to the Board of Education on the progress of their work.
Task Force Subcommittees provided updates on their progress from the last meeting.
FACILITIES TASK FORCE REPORT
Members of the Facilities Task Force are Kevin Sankey (chair), Karl Bunker, Jim Darcy, Todd Raper, Suzy Sayle, Niki Struble, Tammy Lake, Collin Kelley and Deb Ginesta.
In July, Kevin and Chris Johnson visited the Good Foundations School in Ogden, UT, which is the sister school to Heritage. Their impression was this was a relevant comparison when considering using Heritage Christian space for future facility needs. It is a charter school (K-6) with 492 students, with minor renovations and one small addition. The school built a cafeteria onto the back of the building and reused the space for computer room, library, etc. Overall the school did not have any major issues that resulted in costly repairs with the exception of spending $100K on upgrading the fire box to meet fire codes. Based on their visit, Kevin and Chris concluded that Heritage has more potential than originally thought.
The Colorado Department of Education suggests a standard of 32 square feet per student, so a class of 25 = 800 square ft per classroom. Based on this preliminary comparison, the square footage at HC indicates that the current building could house roughly 350 students - a significant increase over the 150-225 as suggested in the strategic plan analysis. Chad Phillips suggested that the subcommittee contact Routt County to see if expansion would be an issue with the size of the lot and the restrictions of any planned development.
While the entire Facilities Task Force has yet to review the findings from Kevin and Chris' visit, the subcommittee is continuing with the review of all potential school sites, including Whistler, Steamboat II and Overlook. The facilities sub-committee is looking to expedite its review process to visit all existing facilities within the next 5-6 weeks.
DEMOGRAPHIC TASK FORCE REPORT
Members of the demographics task force are Mary Darcy, Claire Sollars, Beth Wilhelm, and Ed Miklus. Scott Wedel is acting as an advisor to the task force.
After meeting throughout the summer the subcommittee advised hiring James Looney, Planning Manager with Denver Public Schools, to complete a new demographic report. The subcommittee determined the previous report by Western Demographics done in December 2014 used Straight Line projections for kindergarten. Experts contacted have said that this method is not the recommended method and the Cohort Survival Method should be used. Below is the proposal of work by James Looney, who will be charging $65 per hour.
- Kinder forecast: Provide a 5 year kinder forecast for the school district. The report would include births, historical trends, and kinder capture rates five years later. Capture rates are how many students a district receives out of a total population. This will take 15 hours.
- All grade forecast: Provide a 5 year forecast for all grades (1-12). In addition to the basic forecast, I would include historical trends and capture rates. This will take 13 hours.
- Housing Impact: Identify student yields by housing type and location. The student yield by type and location will assist the district with identifying any impact from new residential development. This work depends on obtaining parcel data from Routt County. I have sent them an email inquiring about obtaining the parcel data. This will take 20 hours.