Weld County School District Re-8 is considering placing two proposals on the November 3, 2015 ballot. The first ballot measure would renew an existing mill levy override approved by voters in 2006. The second ballot measure would provide funding for safety and security upgrades to three of Weld Re-8’s school buildings as well as the replace Quest Academy’s aging modulars with a permanent K-8 school building. More information is available at this link: Survey Information
We are asking if you will take a moment to fill out the community opinion survey and comment on the District’s two proposals. The survey will be sent to all active voters or may be printed by clicking on this link: Printable Survey
If you have questions about this survey or the two proposals being considered by the District, please contact:
“We greatly appreciate your thoughts and recommendations on two proposals being considered by Weld County School District Re-8. You have the final word when it comes to replacing outdated modular buildings, keeping our early childhood programs in place, and addressing other facility, technology and programming needs.”
— John Hoag Superintendent of Schools, Weld County School District Re-8
Update on the Board Workshop: The Board of Education met on Monday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m. for a workshop. The workshop went until about 10:00 p.m. as there was a lot of information to share. All Board members were present with the exception of Mike Simone who was excused.
Climate Surveys: Scott Graham shared information on the District Accountability Committee (DAC) sponsored climate survey, including results from the survey of parents, students and staff from each of our schools. Scott also shared information from the principals concerning the results, including areas to celebrate and areas of focus or improvement that will be included in school goals for the next school year.
Food Service: Some local food service staff (primarily the Twombly kitchen staff and other school staff) were in attendance for the presentation by Executive Chef and Assistant Food Service Coordinator Maureen McCoy. It was a lengthy presentation, focusing on the people in our food service department and the strengths they bring to the kids and staff each day in terms of customer service and quality meals. Maureen also had ideas for cost savings and possible budget adjustments for the food service account to remain in the black. The fact remains however, that the food service reserves were depleted in one year (2013-2014) and they had another $250K transfer from the general fund this year which we project will be more like $350K by the time the books are closed out on June 30 for this fiscal year. Food costs have continued to rise, especially with requirements to serve more fresh fruit and vegetables.
A representative from the Chartwells food service management company presented highlights of their proposal, which includes an unlimited guarantee, as well as a capital and equipment investment in the district, in addition to the training, marketing and food purchase advantages a large company can offer. Sodexo and Southwest Food Excellence (SFE) were not present, but attendance was not mandatory for the food service management companies. I reviewed a matrix comparing the three companies. In my opinion, this will be a difficult decision for the board. We value our food service staff and all that they do for our students each day. In the end, however, our goal must be to provide quality, attractive meals within a self-sustaining budget. The food service staff will have a new supervisor, whether that person is yet to be hired to replace Mindi Wolf (our previous Food Service Coordinator who is taking a position in St. Vrain Valley Schools) or a manager from one of the food service management companies. It is important to remember that a key stipulation of the request for proposals from food service management companies was that the kitchen staff will remain Weld Re-8 employees, with our salaries and benefits. That will be the case, regardless of food service management, however, local control remains a concern of current staff.
Budget Hearing: The board adjourned the workshop for the first of two budget hearings scheduled this month. No citizens asked to speak during this portion of the meeting, the hearing was concluded and we continued the workshop with a review of the budget. Brenda Johnson presented an overview of school finance and the different revenue sources of our $28 million budget. Her presentation also included a draft of the 2015-16 preliminary budget. I believe it is important to point out that, despite the improved state economy, the legislature was conservative in school funding and provided only a minimal increase to school districts. In this proposed budget, we are including salary increases for staff in the 2-3% range. We have a balanced budget, including the reserves required by the state for TABOR as well as capital reserves. We do, however, propose to spend down some of our ending fund balance (money not spent at the end of the fiscal year) to support most of the requests of our principals and directors in terms of staffing and supplies, equipment and training to positively impact student achievement. We are fortunate to have 3A and 3B funding as provided by our electorate to also support us in the areas of staffing, curriculum, instruction and maintenance.
Bond and mill levy issues: The board discussed some of the issues relevant to possible ballot questions in November 2015. We are working with our investment firm, George K. Baum regarding a survey of our voters on possible ballot issues of a new building for Quest Academy, as well as safety, security and technology improvements at all of our buildings. We would also like to continue 3B, to support classroom supplies, curriculum and maintenance, however that would not be a tax increase. I have encouraged Principal Julie Garcia to begin to develop a parent group to consider concepts important to the Quest community in moving toward a new building. Quest has had great success and the current modulars have provided a useable temporary school facility for ten years, however, they are past their useful life and need to be replaced with a permanent building. Butler and Twombly do not have much extra room and the Quest area in the western part of our district continues to experience student growth with at least 50 new homes in the past year. I project the cost of a K-8 school in the $25-30 million range. I recommend we notify the Weld County Clerk that we plan to have an election; one is needed for board directorships and that will also give us time to consider other ballot initiatives, depending on the survey results
John S. Hoag, Superintendent of Schools
SCHOOL CLOSURE INFORMATION
When it becomes necessary to close school due to weather conditions and/or mechanical conditions, the district will send a phone message (please make sure we have your current contact information), post the information on our website (www.weld8.org) and broadcast information over the following television and radio stations:
Channel 2 KWGN Channel 31 KDVR
Channel 4 KCNC KFKA 1310 AM
Channel 7 KMGH KOA 850 AM
Channel 9 KUSA
The listing will be Weld County Re-8, Fort Lupton
For a recording about school closure information, please call: 303-857-7370. Depending on weather conditions, schools may be closed for the day or schools may have a delayed start. As always, student safety is our priority. Parents may elect to keep children home in adverse conditions.