Granby " East Grand schools budget for 9 percent enrollment increase |

Granby " East Grand schools budget for 9 percent enrollment increase

The East Grand School District is basing next year’s budget on a projection that student enrollment will increase by more than 9 percent over this year.

The East Grand Board of Education also discussed Grand Lake Elementary School’s teacher situation, change orders for the building projects and a proposal to close the campus at Middle Park High School next school year during its meeting Tuesday.

Budget review

Superintendent Robb Rankin presented the board with the second draft of the 2008-09 budget. It is based on a projected enrollment of 1,375.5 full-time equivalent students. This year’s official student enrollment is 1,258.5.

One full-time equivalent deos not necessarily translate into one actual student, as formulas are applied to different categories of students to arrive at the FTEs.

In preparing next year’s budget, the administration officially included the five teaching positions that were added last fall when the district experienced a large enrollment increase.

In presenting the second draft of the budget, Rankin said it is “in the black by a hair.” The General Fund has $11,418,740 in revenues and $11,417,459 in expenses, leaving a balance of $1,281, according to the draft budget.

Grand Lake teacher proposal

During Tuesday’s meeting, Rankin presented what he described as a “proposed possible schedule” for Grand Lake Elementary’s class structure for next school year.

Its goal is to provide more core educational instruction for the school’s combined grade classes.

Rankin’s proposal was in reaction to the request made at the board’s May 6 meeting by a dozen third-grade parents who asked the district to hire one teacher per grade for the Grand Lake school rather than continuing its combined classes for two grades under one teacher. The parents claimed the combined classes are hindering the academic growth of their children.

Under the “proposed possible schedule,” which Rankin worked out in conjunction with incoming Superintendent Nancy Karas and Grand Lake’s Principal Terry Sidell, the school’s combined classes of first/second grade and third/fourth grade will be continued. A single-class teacher will be kept for the kindergarteners as well as for the fifth graders who, will be returning Grand Lake Elementary next fall after spending this school year at East Grand Middle School in Granby.

However, the big change under the Rankin’s “proposed possible schedule” is the hiring of a fifth teacher for the school who would assist the combined class teachers in instructing students in the core subjects of reading, writing and math.

Under the “proposed possible schedule,” the combined classes would be separated into their individual grades for instruction in core subjects for a set period each day.

One grade would be taught by the combined teacher while the other grade will be instructed by the new teacher during those periods.

“I’m not saying this is the solution to end all problems,” Rankin said. “But I do think it is a viable solution.”

Rankin explained the idea of hiring of a full-time teacher per grade as advocated by the Grand Lake Elementary parents cannot be justified under the district’s budget at this time, especially for a school that is projected to have a total enrollment of 75 students next fall.

Construction change orders

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board was updated about the school district’s construction projects by district owner’s representative Todd Ficken. He said there have been “no real surprises” in the work being done so far, which is “on track and on schedule.”

The board approved a second change order requested by the Neenan Company, the Fort Collins architectural-construction firm hired to do the facilities project. The price tag for it totals $134,899. The first change order approved earlier this year was for $740,810.

In last November’s election, district voters approved an $18.25 million bond to fund remodeling and expansion projects at Middle Park High School, Fraser Valley Elementary and Granby Elementary. The original contract amount agreed upon with Neenan is $16,812,671. With the two change orders, the total cost is now $17,688.380.

In addition to the $18.25 million in bond proceeds, the district has also collected $977,185 in “premium” money from the sale of the bonds as well as $250,000 in interest.

This past winter, the district agreed to set aside $400,000 of the “premium” money to pay for purchase and installation of modular classrooms for Indian Peaks Charter School.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Rankin proposed another $217,139 in “premium projects including new carpet for the high school, middle school and Grand Lake Elementary. Also recommended was the purchase and installation of a 34-foot-wide and 24-foot-high climbing wall in Middle Park High’s gym as part of the high school’s physical and adventure education curriculum.

Closed campus?

One result of the building projects may not be too popular with many students at Middle Park High School.

During the discussion about change orders, Rankin mentioned a third one will probably be presented at the board’s June 3 meeting. The estimated cost is $62,000 including $33,000 for an expansion of the food-serving area at Middle Park High School.

If the expanded food service area with a second serving line is included in the high school’s enlarged commons area, Rankin explained this would allow all students to be served quickly and efficiently. That could then permit Middle Park High to close its campus, preventing students from leaving the high school’s grounds during the lunch hour.

Board member Barbara Ahrens said she had heard “grumbling” about that closed-campus proposal from some parents, but Mike Thompson and Tom Sifers said they had received “positive” remarks from other parents.

Concerns have been raised over the years about the “open campus” policy, which allows high school students to go into Granby where they might get into trouble.

During the discussion, Assistant Principal Marlo Klassen said a “substance abuse and a shoplifting incident” involving students occurred in Granby last week they were off campus.

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