Retiring employees of the Re-3 School District were recognized publicly at the meeting and included:
- Mary Jane Armstrong – Speech Language Pathologist Assistant – six Years of Service
- Denise Cranson – Librarian – 32 Years of Service
- Joyce Edson – Finance Assistant – 20 Years of Service
- Marsha Nielsen – Paraprofessional for Learning Express Preschool – 10.5 Years of Service
- Sam Romero – Bus Driver – 32.5 Years of Service
At the Re-3 End of the Year Picnic, each retirees received his or her retirement award, service pin and the gift of a clock to commemorate the time each individual spent working in the Morgan County School District.
Esther Cooley, director of The Children’s Center, and Deb Lee, Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) Coordinator at Morgan County School District Re-3, gave a special presentation explaining The Children’s Center Enrollment Expansion Proposal to the board.
The Children’s Center would become a support program for employees of the school district, teen parents still attending high school and families in the community.
The District Employee Benefit Package would offer childcare options throughout the school year at a 25% discount, but childcare and early learning options would be available to all local families.
The proposed expansion would increase the number of students allowed in the Infants and Toddlers rooms and add both additional CPP spots and early childhood education teachers.
“We would like to increase our Infants and Toddlers rooms because that’s where the most need is for our staff, as well as our community and our teen parents,” said Cooley. “Right now we currently serve five children to one adult in both of those spaces, but we’d like to increase to 10 toddlers and eight infants and two teachers per room.”
The proposed teen parent program would be a part of The Children’s Center and assist students as they complete their high school career. Teen Parenting and Child Development will be taught at Fort Morgan High School as a class, and teen parents enrolled in The Children’s Center program would spend two blocks of their school day at The Children’s Center building caring for their babies.
There are currently six teen mothers due in July, and three have already applied and enrolled in the program with the help of Cooley and Lee.
“We’ve taken six of our teen parents and walked them through our program,” said Cooley. “We showed them around and told them how we can assist them, how we can be a part of them finishing their high school career and aiding them in some parenting goals.”
The biggest updates at the June 7 meeting were from board members, Dr. Rena Frasco, Shelly Ocanas and Mike Lee.
Frasco gave an update on Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, summer staff members, summer feeding and the Fort Morgan High School construction and remodeling process.
She showed a few photos of the ongoing construction and shared that there has been a lot progress already, which is fortunate due to the project’s tight deadline. Regarding summer feeding, Frasco spoke of the success they have had in providing lunches. She shared that 650 kids were fed lunches on the previous Thursday and that that Monday’s drive thru site at Fort Morgan Middle School was also successful.
“We’re trying to get out in the community a little bit more and make sure kids have equitable access to summer feeding,” said Frasco as she explained plans to bring more meals to a wider variety of locations, like Riverside Park and the skate park at Brenda Joy Park.
Shelly Ocanas gave an update on data from ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) testing. The data showed lower numbers than the previous year because fewer students were tested overall both due to a decrease in students who were English language learners (ELL’s) and for various reasons related to COVID-19.
Mike Lee shared that the state legislature’s school finance bill, which took longer than usual this year, is finally ready to be signed by the governor.
Frasco also led the discussion about the district’s 2021-2022 Consolidated Application for funding allocations for federal Title programs. She summed up the highlights and changes of the 55-page application for the board.
Because their Title funding is based on free reduced lunch data, Frasco utilized the 2019-2020 free reduced lunch count in order to provide more accurate data, a choice that was available this year only in response to COVID.
The next discussion topic revolved around the New Snow Melt System at Fort Morgan High School.
The plan for the snow melt system was revised in recent weeks to stretch all the way to the ADA accessible parking area. Though that change increases the price of the project, it will accomplish the goal of avoiding icy sidewalks in shaded areas and making sure the path from the ADA parking lot to the building is kept accessible for those with disabilities.
“This is going to cost us some extra dough, but we want (to make sure) our access on the north side of the building is safe for all of our students, guests, staff and visitors,” said Lee. “So, I think it’s money well spent, and we should do it.”
The new plans are being drawn and should be completed within the week, which will also provide a more accurate price estimate.
The final topic of discussion was about 2021-2022 school handbooks. The board made the decision to cite specific policies and make the website more user friendly in an effort to eliminate any discrepancies between the handbook and the website should policies change throughout the school year.
Action on all three of the above discussion points were approved, along with the approval of the FY 2021-2022 Consolidated Application of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) Program Funds and the approval of a settlement offer discussed behind closed doors during the board’s executive session on March 1, 2021. Details about the settlement offer were not publicly available as of deadline for this story.
The next Re-3 Board of Education meeting will be a special meeting to be held at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30, likely for consideration of approval of the district’s 2021-22 budget. The regular meetings for the summer will be held on July 19 and Aug. 16.