Q & A with Eagle County School District | VailDaily.com

Q & A with Eagle County School District

Cindy Ramunno Special to the Daily
EDu ECSDistrict Bldg 11-12-03

The following is an interview with Eagle County School District spokeswoman Pam Boyd.Vail Daily: The tax-increase question for the school district on November’s ballot failed. What now?Pam Boyd: “We’ve been looking at our overall facilities for over a year and 3A was part of that comprehensive effort. We understand that these aren’t exciting needs or needs that directly affect students in the classroom. However, there is still a need – our bus fleets have grown and technology changes all the time. We need to make improvements to our local- and wide-area networks. The Board of Education will have to determine what needs to be done and how we will pay for it. Those are conversations the Board of Education will be having in the near future.”VD: What’s the deal with the school calendar and what’s happening with the recently implemented start and end times?PB: “Mark Strakbein and Cindy Secrist (principals for the district) are heading up the calendar committee this year. This committee will be determining start and end dates and times for the upcoming school year. It will be a long process and the committee will be presenting a calendar to the board in February. The committee consists of a representative from each school community and a random survey will be conducted with parents to receive accurate information regarding wants and needs for the calendar. This committee is facing a lot of hard work and we’re excited to see what they come up with.”VD: What’s the deal with the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP)?PB: “CSAP testing will take place this spring and the results from last year’s testing will come home in students’ backpacks the Monday after Thanksgiving Break. Every year, all Colorado students participate in the CSAP and it includes the content areas of reading, writing, math and science. Students in third through 10th grades are tested in reading and writing. Math tests are administered to all students in fifth through 10 grades. Science is tested in the eighth grade.”VD: We’ve heard about 3D, which is where citizens voted in favor of teacher raises, but it’s been held up in court by one community member suing over the wording of the question. Teachers haven’t seen any of this money. What’s going on?PB: “Regarding that litigation, we had a decision handed down in our favor by Judge Richard Hart, however the citizen involved decided to appeal Judge Hart’s decision. Our attorneys have filed a motion with the Colorado Court of Appeals to transfer the 3D case to the Supreme Court because we feel that’s the proper court since the litigation is an election contest issue. Also, this action will potentially save time in the appeals process by getting a final decision from the Supreme Court quicker. It’s not automatic that the Supreme Court will accept the case. In the meantime, you’re correct that our teachers and other staff members have not seen any of that money and we are currently working on a system to distribute those funds to staff members once litigation is complete.”VD: We’ve seen a lot on the TAP program performance pay for teachers. How is that working?PB: “This second year of TAP. We brought in five more schools and the final five will come on board next year. The program was developed by Milken, but we customized it for our district. The one thing that we can continue to do through TAP is put highly qualified and well-prepared teachers in front of each and every student, everyday. We are very dedicated to this program and next year, we will be the first in the nation to launch this program at the high school level. There will be challenges and the logistics are different, but we are confident that the changes will be positive.”VD: Where do we stand with our current school board and superintendent?PB: “We are in a fortunate position with our current Board of Education. We have six members continuing and one new member and continuity is huge for us right now. The issues are very complicated and members with the history that ours have is a great advantage. Our current superintendent, John Brendza, has over 20 years of history with our district. The day he walked in, he already knew the job and the people. We are in an unusual, superb position with our superintendent and board of education.”

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