During the next several months, the Thompson School District Board of Education will be having some of our most-challenging discussions in several years.
We are renegotiating the Memorandum of Understanding with the Thompson Education Association concurrently with developing the district’s budget for 2017-18 and working with the Master Plan Committee to determine possible school boundary changes and school closures.
The outlook for any real increase in state per-pupil funding is dim. With the failure of the bond and mill levy override ballot issues last November, we must consider new ways of doing things.
I’ve heard a lot of ideas and suggestions from a variety of community members about how to solve some of our problems. Most are well-intentioned, coming from people who truly want to help find solutions. Some have raised valid questions and presented alternatives that merit investigation. Others show a limited understanding of how the school district operates. While Thompson uses a variety of methods to get information out to our community, I have realized that there are folks out there who want to know more and get involved, but don’t really know how.
Here is my open invitation to join us, in whatever way you can. We will do better work if we learn from the diverse voices in our community. Following are some opportunities:
• Board of Education meetings: Generally the first and third Wednesdays, with public comment on the third Wednesday, 6 p.m. at 800 S. Taft Ave., Board Room.
• Explore Thompson: Nine month in-depth outreach program for parents and community members to learn about the school district, It starts at the beginning of each school year. To learn more, you can contact our Public Information Officer, Mike Hausmann, at 613-5011.
• Stakeholders meetings: Intended for the general public to learn about issues of interest to parents and students, second Monday, 9 a.m., Board Room.
• Master Plan Committee: Assesses school facility conditions and usage, including boundaries and school closures, second Monday, 5 p.m., Board Room.
• Thompson2Life: Studies graduation requirements, competency-based learning, post-secondary access for all students, second Tuesday, 4 p.m., Board Room.
• District Accountability Committee: Focuses on improvement of the education system, second Tuesday, 6 p.m., Board Room.
• School Accountability Committees: Focuses on improvement of the educational program at individual schools, meeting dates and times vary by school.
• Parent/Teacher/Student Groups (PTA, PTO, PTG, etc.): Designed to improve parent involvement and student opportunities, meeting dates and times vary by school.
• VITAL (Volunteers in Thompson Assisting Learners): The district’s volunteer program allows you to support students by registering and volunteering in the school of your choice. Today, more than 9,000 community members have registered in the program. For more information, visit the district website at www.thompsonschools.org.
Other committees and advisory groups arise from time to time, such as Calendar Committee, Superintendent’s Select Technology Advisory Committee, Construction Review Committee and Bond Oversight. Community members are welcome at all the above, either as members or observers, whether or not they have children attending Thompson schools.
Additionally, the school district holds public forums each year to review the proposed budget. Public meetings are held prior to curriculum adoptions or program changes and we held a variety of public meetings prior to the construction and opening of the new High Plains School.
These are only some of the ways to learn more about Thompson School District. I encourage you to get involved now, learn about the issues and give us your input. Please don’t wait to complain until we do something you don’t like. I personally want to hear from you beforehand. You may email me at email@example.com, write me at 800 S. Taft Ave., Loveland, CO 80537 or call me at (970) 663-3518. Contact information for other board members is located on the district website above.
Lori Hvizda Ward
Thompson School District Board of Education