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Dolores school board meeting discusses raising teacher salaries and lowering mill levy

Superintendent Reece Blincoe wrote a blog informing the community of the district’s participation in the S-CAP program beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.
Superintendent Blincoe’s blog also dives into the S-CAP program

At their Thursday meeting, the Dolores RE-4A school district heard from the knowledge bowl team ahead of their competition at nationals, and discussed a potential mill levy override, teacher salaries and the sale of old school buses.

In celebration reports, the board and Superintendent Reece Blincoe heard from Dolores’s knowledge bowl team, who will compete at nationals on April 20. According to the knowledge bowl coach, the team hasn’t placed less than third place the entire season, even placing first in Durango at the 2A regional competition.

In board reports, the board discussed selling some of their buses, saying that they will close bids on Wednesday. During their discussion time, the board went over the prices of $1,500 minimum bid for each of the three large buses, $1,000 for the small buses, $500 for the maintenance truck and best offer for the homemade trailers.

Blincoe said about five buses were for sale, and that the district had hosted an open house for interested individuals to see the buses before putting in a bid.

The board also went over teacher salaries and a possible mill levy override, which will be on the board’s action items at their meeting in May.

According to Blincoe, the changes to the mill levy override, if approved, could save taxpayers money by lessening what they are already paying.

The mill levy is already in effect, but must be renewed. The board and Blincoe said they would like to lower the mill levy, if possible, for the renewal.

On Tuesday, Blincoe told The Journal that while nothing is certain, the district is talking about the possibility of giving teacher salaries a 7% increase.

Blincoe shared that the state might get rid of the budget stabilization factor. Without the budget stabilization factor, cash flow into districts, specifically rural districts, will change.

Blincoe said that while this isn’t new money, the change of flow would allow for the district to adjust salaries.

Teachers resigning or retiring include school nurse Jennifer Gaddis, elementary ESS teacher Tom Schaper and PE teacher John McHenry.

They also approved hiring Kenneth Archuleta as food service custodian, Kellon Gatzke as assistant baseball coach, Kylie Whited as HS paraprofessional and Carmen Fernandez-Leon as maintenance substitute.

In his April blog, Superintendent Blincoe provided information to the district about the new student centered accountability program, which will help evaluate and improve the district.

The program will officially begin in the district starting at the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year.

This collaborative program was started by rural districts in 2015 as a way to help improve districts that may not have the same kind of state accountability as nonrural districts.

Right now, the S-CAP program includes 17 rural districts in the state of Colorado. Blincoe shared that next year, there will be 21 districts in the program, as well as two outside partners, Breezy Strategies and the University of Colorado, Denver Center for Practice Engaged Education Research.

“S-CAP emphasizes every student and the whole student including their academic competence, thinking processes and dispositions toward learning. In addition to state assessment results, S-CAP considers local assessments, classroom assessment and measures of student engagement, mindsets and postsecondary readiness to provide more meaningful and comprehensive data to describe student success,” Blincoe said. “S-CAP uses System Support Reviews, collaborative, peer reviews with diverse sources of evidence to provide feedback to districts about their system components that support student success.”

As part of S-CAP, teachers from other rural districts will visit Dolores for a one-day evaluation to start, and they will review curriculum and instructional practices before moving on to teacher, parent and student surveys.

Dolores will also send staff to participate in surveys of other schools and districts.

“In return, we will be sending staff members to other rural districts around the state to evaluate their districts and to learn and pick up information on good practices occurring in their districts,” Blincoe said.