The Salida school board will pursue land acquisition options with the city of Salida and Chaffee County to address student population growth.

Discussion items at the regular school board meeting Tuesday included letters of inquiry to be written to Salida City Council and Chaffee County Board of Commissioners about the possibility of either entity negotiating with the district on land for a future facility as the district grows.

Parcels mentioned as possibilities were Marvin Park or Vandaveer Ranch, both owned by the city of Salida, and a parcel north of Chaffee County Fairgrounds in Poncha Springs owned by the county.

In other business, school resource officer David Close of the Salida Police Department reported on suggested improvements to help facilitate communication between first responders in the event of an emergency at one of the schools.

To better familiarize first responders with the buildings and to provide better identification for rooms and wings of the different buildings, Close suggested a color-coded system for hallways and numbering the entrances of the buildings.

He also endorsed having room numbers posted on the outside windows of the building and on the inside in a consistent location above the doors in each building.

After the protocol has been put in place, the building layout and corresponding color coding and numbering can be made into a digital map to be distributed to all first responders so that everyone is aware of each school’s layout.

Close said he and fellow SRO Harry Peele attended SRO training in California where they learned more about legal issues, child development and diversion programs.

Superintendent David Blackburn said Close has been key in connecting the school district with the district attorney’s office and diversionary programs like Full Circle Restorative Justice.

Crest Academy Principal Jill Davis and staff members Samantha Bahn and Deb Bass O’Brien presented information about Crest and its inquiry-based curriculum, offering examples of projects Crest students have been involved with during the year.

Davis said the move to the St. Joseph school building with its extra classroom space and facilities like a gym and kitchen has allowed Crest to expand its program from 25 students at the end of the last school year to 34 enrolled at the beginning of this school year.

Davis said she guesses there is capacity to expand to about 56 students in their current space, provided additional teachers could be hired.

Salida High School Principal Tami Thompson reported on the new floor plan remodel in the school’s office area, which would provide a new space for a counselor and expand another office.

She also told the board the high school will change its lunch to a split schedule next year to coincide with an advisory period.

The board approved the consent agenda, which included items such as the new calendar for the 2019-2020 school year; contracts for teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses and coaches for the 2019-2020 school year; and literacy program adoption for the elementary school.

The board discussed the timeline for a new bond question to raise funds for a new facility and whether to look at 2019, 2020 or 2021 for putting the item on the ballot.

The board asked Blackburn to research the numbers involved and connect with George K. Baum & Co., an investment banking firm whose services include underwriting services for municipal bonds, to provide direction for the board.

Other discussion items included:

• The Mill Levy Equalization Bill.

• Operations budget and a mandated 2 percent rise in employee contributions to PERA.

• Reflections from the Monday community meeting on the potential partnership with Colorado Mountain College.

Action items included approval of:

• Recommendations for collective bargaining team for 2019-2020.

• Capital projects with a total proposed cost of $304,500.

• Early release of funds for summer capital projects.

• Policy JII-E on first reading.

• Authorization for the superintendent to execute contracts associated with the Valley View School District with Chaffee County Commissioners.

• A sabbatical leave request for Fred Maxwell which was approved 5-2, with Kyle Earhart and Cheri Post dissenting.

• A personnel request from Leslie Garrity.

The board will hold an extra meeting at 4:30 p.m. April 23 to discuss the operational budget and hear from representatives of George K. Baum & Co.

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