There are still some finishing touches to be done at the new district office at 145 W. 4th Street in Delta, but staff members have settled into their new offices and begun in earnest to prepare for the 2018-19 school year.
The building was purchased from the Bank of Colorado and renovated to turn the teller line into office space. The drive-through on the north side of the building was removed, and vaults were turned into handicap accessible restrooms. While the renovation was not extensive, it did entail the removal of some asbestos. Ridgway Valley Enterprises handled the project.
It's not clear how long the old school building in Read served as district headquarters; it may date back to 1950, when consolidation of several rural districts created Delta County Joint School District #50 (the 50 deriving from the year of consolidation). Regardless, the move was historic, and one school board members and administrators have been looking forward to.
"We are very proud of the new district office as it offers upgraded professional working conditions for staff, it is more convenient for our many vendors, and it has a large board/meeting room and conference area," said school superintendent Caryn Gibson. "Most importantly, it is very accessible for our students, staff and the public. On behalf of the Delta County Board of Education, superintendent and the district leadership, we look forward to continued success for students, staff, and the communities of Delta County."
An open house is planned Thursday, Aug. 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. The Delta Area Chamber of Commerce will assist with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m.
The move was completed in time for the July 19 meeting of the Delta County School Board.
Gibson discussed upcoming training sessions to prepare for the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 20. Online school registration begins Aug. 6. New teacher orientation is Aug. 8 and a districtwide staff kickoff is set for Aug. 14. Barbara Oakley, a nationally known author, educator and engineer, will be the guest speaker. She will share strategies to demystify the learning process for struggling students, and in the afternoon will work specifically with math teachers.
Gibson shared the goals established at a recent school board summit, focusing on three core beliefs -- academic excellence, strategic use of resources and promoting a positive learning culture. The school board developed action steps to move the district toward fulfillment of each of those core beliefs.
As a result of the summit, the school board's monthly meeting schedule has been changed. Meetings will be moved up an hour and will begin at 6 p.m. at the district office, normally on the third Thursday of the month. Work sessions will begin at 7 a.m. on the second Friday of the month, and will be followed by policy review at 10 a.m. The official location for posting meeting information was moved from Read to the office at 145 W. 4th Street.
Business manager Jim Ventrello provided a wrapup of the 2017-18 school budget, which ended June 30. The 2018-19 budget includes about $1.7 million in "new dollars," which have been allocated for staff salary increases, safety improvements at every school, community policing, digital learning, staff reimbursements, student life skills curriculum, and increased funding for high school activity funds and support for secondary students attending Technical College of the Rockies. The budget also includes two new route buses, $300,000 for curriculum, Capturing Kids Heart training and support for Celebrate the Beat.
Lunch prices are being raised by 10 cents for elementary students and 5 cents for middle and high school students. Breakfast will be raised by 5 cents.
Ventrello also gave an update on the ENGAGE building, which is owned by the Technical College of the Rockies. School board members authorized him to pursue a DOLA grant for construction drawings for the building formerly occupied by City Market. Delta County Economic Development, Delta County and the City of Delta are partnering with the school district on this project. Private investors are also being sought. Currently, the school district is working on contracts for asbestos removal.
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