What's going on with the BOE this summer?

Usually, summers are a quiet period in school districts, allowing a brief lull in the fast-paced administrative environment. Unique circumstances in Douglas County, however, mean that your Board of Education will be hard at work over the summer of 2016.

Tonight will be a special meeting on the 2016-17 budget, as well as a few related topics. Board members have had several weeks to ask questions and to receive information from staff. DCSD budget employees, led by CFO Bonnie Betz and Budget Director Scott Smith, have been working overtime to prepare a proposal for the board. Additionally, hundreds of hours have been spent preparing answers to board members’ questions and to provide background information. It is an impressive effort.

Some quick facts:
-       We’ll approve the budget this evening. This will allow us to progress to other important issues before the district over the remainder of the summer. By law, we must approve a proposed budget by June 30.
-       The meeting tonight is a special meeting, meaning that we published the agenda four business days in advance (twice the usual length of time), we are limited only to the topics at hand, and public comment is also limited to agenda action items.
-       Every department has submitted budget summaries in great detail. The amount of work that has gone into this is truly exceptional.

After tonight’s budget is approved, the board will have a work session on June 21st. We are overdue for another work session, and this one will contain another big-rock topic: the Master Capital Plan. Many people in the community have been attentive to various building needs over the course of the last few years, and DCSD’s planning department and the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) have worked very hard over the last few months to pull a substantial document together. A work session will allow us to delve into the plan in greater detail and provide a platform for a far more robust conversation than a regular meeting. Since there are board members who would like to discuss a tax measure for this fall, this will be the perfect time to hear the district’s capital needs update.

Additionally, the Student Advisory Group will have a presentation and proposal for us on the topic of P.E. waivers. I’m really looking forward to hearing what they have to say. They have worked all year on this proposal with other students, principals, and staff members.

In the first half of July, I’ve asked board members to let me know their availability for another special meeting to discuss the interim superintendent. If Dr. Fagen leaves DCSD by June 30, then the emergency succession plan will trigger, with Dr. Steve Cook acting as superintendent. Mr. Ted Knight is also named in the succession plan, but by mutual agreement, Dr. Cook is the designee.

The acting superintendent is not the same as the interim superintendent.  To that end, the process to appoint the interim superintendent will be as follows.
-       This is a personnel matter, so will be handled with some confidentiality throughout.
-       Each board member will submit his or her preferred candidate. There will be one nomination per member, to keep equal opportunity for all board members to advance his or her candidate.
-       Interviews will be conducted in executive session at the special meeting.
-       A public discussion will take place, with certain parameters in accordance with state law.
-       A vote will take place to designate the interim superintendent.

The permanent replacement for Dr. Fagen will follow a much more involved process. At each stage, the board will have choices available to them. To begin, we will advertise for a search firm, but the board may decide to pursue candidates in a different way. I will engage the board in late summer to define the process and to determine the next steps. This will be a deliberative process that, like the 2009-10 process, will involve the public. During the search process, the interim superintendent will remain at the helm. 

Finally, as promised, the July 19 meeting will include a discussion on long guns provided to DCSD security. I am requesting a presentation from Operations and DCSD Security on the details that we can make available to the public, and the board may choose to take action. The public, as in any regular meeting, will have an opportunity to comment.

The following regular meeting will be August 16, after some of our DCSD schools will have begun classes for the 2016-17 school year. If you have thoughts or you'd like to reach me anytime, please feel free to do so via  email or phone at (720) 839-4494.