Salida schools met or exceeded state expectations across the board in CMAS, Pre-SAT and SAT testing taken in April, district Academic Director Amy Ward told Salida school board members Tuesday at their regular meeting.

Results from the Colorado Department of Education are not final, with Horizons Exploratory Academy testing still to be calculated in the final statistics.

Ward said while some identifiable challenges still need to be met, notably in academic growth in fifth-grade English/language arts and sixth-grade math, the overall results show Salida students in grades three-11 exceeded statewide results.

As its sole action item, the board approved a directive to phase in the new facility use fee structure to qualified youth group users of school facilities.

An earlier decision put the new fee at $2 above maintenance fees to defray the cost of wear and tear on facilities. The fee had not been raised in about 10 years.

Feedback from youth groups that use the facilities for sports and other activities indicated the new fee might be a hardship for some programs if instituted all at once.

The phase-in would be over three years. The first year, 2019-2020, will charge only a maintenance fee, which would vary in amount depending on the size of the facility being used.

In 2020-2021 costs will include the maintenance fee plus $1 per user per event.

In 2021-2022 costs will include the maintenance fee plus $2 per user per event.

In other business, the board:

• Heard a presentation about school safety and the role of school resource officers from school resource officer David Close. Close said new measures to make classrooms easily identifiable to all first responders were underway with color coding of school halls. Next to be put in place will be standardized locations for room numbers above doors and on windows.

Close also spoke about the role of resource officers in the schools. Close, who is in his second year of a two-year assignment, said the SROs are there not only to increase physical security in a building but also to help kids stay on track and to intervene with informal counseling and mentoring wherever possible.

Close said the “Say Something” program is being instituted in the middle school.

The program is similar to Colorado’s Safe-to-Tell program, which is geared to high school students.

It was developed by Sandy Hook Promise and teaches students to look for warning signs, signals and threats, especially in social media, of an individual who may be a threat to themselves or others and to say something to an adult to get help.

• Heard reports from department managers.

Evalyn Parks, transportation director, told the board the department will receive a national award at an Oct. 1 ceremony at the new bus barn.

Terry Clark, nutrition manager, said there will be a celebration at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the new community grow dome at the Guidestone Farm to School garden on Holman Avenue.

• Heard reports from school principals.

Longfellow Elementary School Principal Chuck McKenna said 26 people will travel to Denver Sept. 19 for presentation of the Succeeds Prize. Longfellow is one of three elementary school finalists for the Transformational Impact prize.

The event will be televised live at 8 p.m. Sept. 19 on KUSA, channel 9.

• Heard a report from Superintendent David Blackburn, who said enrollment for the new school year seemed to be stabilizing, and the new pupil numbers look to be between 35 and 40 new students added to Salida School District.

The state-mandated official pupil count on Oct. 1 will give a clearer view of the official numbers.

Blackburn said it has been a great start to the school year and the interventions that have been put in place have been working well.

Blackburn said an area that has needed some rethinking has been special education, as the number of students served and intensity of need has changed since the budget was created.

The board adjourned to executive session to discuss land acquisition and superintendent evaluations.

Prior to the regular meeting, the board discussed communications within the district and with the community and ways to improve both.

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