Salida School District R-32-J board members voted to approve the lease of the Kesner building to Colorado Mountain College for three years  at a rate of $15,000 per month.

The space will be used for concurrent enrollment classes and other programming by the college.

The board has already approved the district’s leasing of the building at 627 Oak St., which formerly housed Don’t Go Nuts, as a new space for Crest Academy and district offices, with room to house other programs in the future at a rate of $13,500 per month.

The extra space will be sublet as storage in the meantime, defraying part of the cost of rent.

Crest Academy has been in the old school building at St. Joseph Catholic Church, initially sharing the space and the rent with Salida Boys & Girls Clubs.

Last spring Boys & Girls Clubs were able to purchase their own space.

Superintendent David Blackburn said the church was unwilling to compromise on a lower rent and several items under the terms of the lease were not carried out by the church, therefore the lease has been terminated and will end June 30.

In other action items the board approved:

• Capital projects, operational options and early release project funds in anticipation of a budget build for the coming year.

• The repeal of the March 2020 special meeting resolution to grant the superintendent emergency power. 

The resolution was originally put in place to allow the superintendent to act quickly in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis.

Blackburn told the board “we are no longer in crisis” and the need for the resolution was past.

Approved on first reading several policies concerning facilities development planning and family engagement and the repeal of another policy regarding facilities development goals and priority objectives as recommended by Colorado School Board Association.

• Approved acceptance of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II funds in the amount of $527,099 to be expended by Sept. 30, 2023.

•Approved acceptance of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III funds in the amount of $1,183,790, to be expended by Sept. 30 2024.

Blackburn said the relief funds were welcome as they provided a buffer zone for the “uncomfortable conversations” regarding school finance and programming.

The board also spent time discussing recommendations by the Collective Bargaining Team for the coming year, reviewed policy which denotes the procedure for introducing and discussion of action items, and debriefed the April 7 community meeting.

Among the items approved on the board’s consent agenda was the retirement of Salida High School principal Tami Thompson and the resignation of district academic director Amy Ward, who will be making the move to Walden where she will take on the role of superintendent of North Park School District R-1.

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