Coyote Ridge Elementary Celebrates New “Learning Garden”

Take a look at Coyote Ridge Elementary School’s amazing new Learning Garden!

Last year, a committee of parents at the school worked with principal Deon Davis to create a Learning Garden at the IB World School. The school was very fortunate to be able to partner with the Loveland Rotary Club, the City of Fort Collins and the Coyote Ridge PTO to secure funding and volunteers to make this garden a reality.

Despite weather-related setbacks last spring, the committee and CRES community persevered and they are now harvesting the bounty of the beautiful Learning Garden. It is a wonderful addition to the school and it provides real-world opportunities for students to “dig in” to their learning!

TSD Community Forum Series Launches on September 7th

Next week, Thompson School District will begin its series of public forums that are designed to facilitate a community-wide discussion regarding the challenges that the district is facing and potential solutions. The first forum will be held on Thursday, September 7th, at 6 p.m. at the Berthoud Community Center (248 Welch Avenue in Berthoud).

Thompson is a complex school district. Our accomplishments are impressive and our challenges are often intricate. Because of this, it is imperative that we as a community work together to identify problems and then solve them together as a team. To assist in this process, the community forums will be presented in a different way then what you may be used to.

Rather than a simple presentation of information followed by a “question and answer” session, the forums will be designed to encourage open dialogue from all participants. The conversation will move where it needs to in order to address the ideas and issues that are brought forward by attendees. District staff members will be on-hand to provide information and to clarify challenges. However, the flow of the meeting will be dictated by YOU. We’ll have a facilitator to help guide the process, which will help ensure we have both an open conversation that gets all concerns on the table and one that moves us toward collective agreements around priorities.

We hope you will join us on this journey. The full schedule of the upcoming forums is below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

Community Forum Schedule

Garfield Elementary Students Help Design Local Park

This past Wednesday, Garfield Elementary School students and parents participated in the planning session for the rebuild of Junior Achievement Park.

The Loveland Parks department and the “Kaboom” organization led parents and children through the process of what their dream park could look like. Over 60 students participated, along with nearly twenty parents and community members. It was a great night at GES!

Board of Education Announces Application Process for “District C” Vacancy

Board of Education Announces Application Process for “District C” Vacancy
August 16, 2017 – On Wednesday, August 16, 2017, the Thompson School District Board of Education formally accepted the resignation of board member Denise Montagu, who represents Director District C. Ms. Montagu is relocating outside the community. In accordance with State of Colorado statute, the following process will now be in effect to fill the vacancy:

Since the vacancy was officially created and accepted within the ninety-day period prior to the Board’s regular biennial election and the unexpired term is greater than two years, the district Board of Education has sixty days to appoint a successor. The person appointed to fill the vacancy will serve on the Board until the next succeeding regular biennial election in November 2019.

Applications may be picked up and dropped off at the Thompson School District administrative office (800 S. Taft Avenue) beginning tomorrow, Thursday, August 17. The deadline to submit applications is Monday, September 18 at 4:30 PM. Public interviews with the Board of Education will be held on Wednesday, September 20. To verify the director district that you reside in, please visit http://www.thompsonschools.org/planning. On the web page, click the “School Locator” link in the left column.

All candidates for the vacant position must meet the following requirements:

-Candidate must be a “qualified elector” of the state (qualified to vote).
-Candidate must be an “eligible elector” (registered to vote).
-Candidate must be a resident of the school district for at least twelve prior consecutive months.
-Candidate must be a resident of Director District C.
-Any person who has been convicted of, pled guilty or no contest to, or received a deferred judgment and sentence for a sexual offense against a child is not eligible to hold a seat on a board of education in the state of Colorado.

For more information on the application process, please call 970-613-5013.

Master Plan Committee Accepting New Applications

Thompson School District’s Master Plan Committee (MPC) is seeking out new members for its 2017-2020 round of district planning and will be opening applications to the community starting August 7th.

The MPC currently consists of eleven voting members from the community-at-large and four voting members from the school district. MPC will be filling openings with community representatives from all boundary areas and professional backgrounds. Members of the MPC serve a three-year term.

Previously, the MPC committee has established the Thompson Reinvented plan, addressed issues with building security and determined needed wireless infrastructure. MPC also created scorecards that rated the health of each TSD facility based on maintenance needs, energy efficiency, technology infrastructure, access and amenities.

In June, the district’s Board of Education asked the committee to expand their current scope of work. “The upcoming MPC will be focusing their work this coming year on making recommendations regarding district efficiency and the development of a balanced budget by the 2019-2020 school year,” said superintendent Dr. Stan Scheer. “A balanced budget is imperative because of the continuing drain that exists on our available reserves.”

The new MPC will work to address school building maintenance, operations and functions, as well as address concerns of efficiency and the challenges faced with an influx of students from new developments.

About the Thompson School District Master Plan Committee:

Thompson School District’s Board of Education created the Master Plan Committee in 1995 to provide an ongoing assessment of school facility conditions and act as an advisory committee to the board. An annual master plan is the result of this group’s study and findings. For more information on the Master Plan Committee, or to apply, visit the Thompson School District website or call the TSD Planning Manager at 970-613-5017.

Dawne Huckaby Named Director of Assessment and Accountability

Dawne Huckaby

Thompson School District is pleased to announce that it has named Dawne Huckaby as Director of Assessment and Accountability. She will fill the position that was vacated by Carmen Williams, who has departed the district.

In her role, Ms. Huckaby will manage the district’s comprehensive student assessment and accountability system. She will evaluate data and collaborate with staff members to coordinate local and state testing efforts, organize testing procedures and protocols and prepare and submit necessary state and federal reports. She will also collaborate with district schools in the areas of personalized learning and professional development.

Ms. Huckaby comes to Thompson from Salem, Ore., where she served the Oregon Department of Education as the assistant superintendent in the Office of Teaching, Learning and Assessment. Her career highlights also include service as the director of teaching and learning at Roseburg Public Schools in Roseburg, Ore., the director of school improvement for Sutherlin School District in Sutherlin, Ore., and the director of education services for the Douglas Education Service District in Roseburg, Ore.

Ms. Huckaby earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Chadron State College and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University.

For more information, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via e-mail at michael.hausmann@thompsonschools.org.

 

TSD Donates School Bus to Loveland Fire Rescue Authority

Thursday, July 6, 2017 – On June 21, the Thompson School District Board of Education approved the scheduled disposal of several surplus district fleet vehicles.  All of these vehicles have reached the end of their useful life in the service of students and district business and are no longer appropriate to serve the district.  TSD is proud to announce that one of the school buses that has been marked for disposal is being donated to the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority (LFRA) to assist local professionals in their ongoing training efforts.  The donated bus will allow the agency to simulate a variety of situations, which will help to better prepare trainees for emergencies that they may encounter while on the job.

“LFRA is excited about this bus donation,” said battalion chief Tim Smith. “This will be our first bus that will be usable in the sense of putting actors inside to conduct trainings. It will be used in a wide variety of training scenarios that will benefit LFRA, Thompson Valley EMS and the Loveland Police Department. Emergency services will get to use this prop for many years to come.  We are thankful to Thompson School District for the donation.”

Likewise, LFRA public affairs officer Scott Pringle agreed that the partnership will be very beneficial for emergency professionals.  “This is a great example of how the positive relationship between Loveland Fire Rescue Authority and Thompson School District can lead to creative ideas that can benefit both organizations, other emergency response agencies and our community,” he said. “This new training prop can help to ensure that emergency responders are better prepared to safely respond to a variety of potential situations.”

The school bus was officially transferred to LFRA officials in a special signing ceremony today at the district’s transportation depot.  Board of Education President Lori Hvizda Ward and LFRA Battalion Chief Tim Smith signed the paperwork to formalize the partnership.

For more information, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via e-mail at michael.hausmann@thompsonschools.org.

TSD Provides Exceptional Service and Value to Our Community

Dr Stan Scheer-2016

If you are a property owner like I am, perhaps you recently opened a letter from the county assessor’s office. Chances are that it contained a notice that the assessed value on your property had increased in the latest assessment process and, as a result, you may see a bump in your taxes beginning in 2018.

Property taxation, of course, is a double-edged sword.  On one hand, nobody likes paying more taxes than they have to and it isn’t fun getting a notification that you will be paying more in the coming months.  Yet, on the other hand, higher taxation is often due to the fact that your property is now worth more – which is great news if you decide to sell your property someday.

One of the common misconceptions about taxation for school districts revolves around the belief that when taxes go up, that automatically means the district gets to collect that extra tax money. And that is not true.  Here in Colorado, our educational financial system is built upon a concept called “equalization.”  The system is designed to help ensure that smaller districts and communities can receive the taxpayer support they need to fund their educational efforts and compete with other communities on a more equal footing.  A small district with 1,000 students spread out across 350 square miles simply cannot operate as efficiently as a district that has 20,000 students in an area of only 30 square miles.  So, for example, while a city district may receive $7,500 per student each year in state funding, for a rural school district that total may be closer to $16,000 per student.

In Colorado, the state sets a funding level for each school district based on a state constitutional funding formula.  The funding amount set by the state is generated from property and vehicle registration taxes, with the remaining amount coming from the state’s general fund. Property and vehicle registration taxes are collected locally and remitted to the school districts. Through a process called “equalization,” the state contributes the remaining amount needed to meet a school district’s total funding amount, as determined by the state’s formula.  When Thompson’s local property assessments increase, which results in higher property taxes, that increased amount simply reduces the amount that the state is required to contribute in order to meet the allocated formula amount.  Our per-pupil amount scheduled for the 2017-2018 school year is $7,279, which does not go up.

This is why the solution to fixing funding problems at school districts around the state boils down to two alternatives: receiving more funding from the state’s formula through a higher per-pupil revenue amount or passing a mill levy override measure that directly benefits that school district.  At this time, there is no indication that the state will step up to provide the increased funding support that our students need.  This is why so many school districts, including Thompson, have begun asking their communities for more local support through mill levy overrides, as those dollars go directly to that local district as a supplement to help overcome the lack of funding from the state.  The extra dollars raised through these measures remain in the community as a supplement.

While Thompson has eleven different fund categories, the primary operations of the district are conducted through the general fund, due to the restrictive nature of the other funds.  The ten other fund categories are restricted in use by revenue and expenditures. As an example, Nutrition Services is designated as a “special fund” that receives its revenue in the form of federal subsidies and student meal fees. Expenditures associated with the student meal program are restricted to only the activities of the food service program. The same is true of the bond redemption fund, where revenues collected are distributed solely to the retirement of bonded debt. The total available in all funds is $185 million. This is a lot of money.  But when you calculate the support per student per day based on approximately 16,000 students in 33 school buildings pre-K through 12th grade, the dollar amount is surprisingly small.

Allow me to explain: $185 million divided by approximately 16,000 students pre-K through 12th grade and then divided by 169 school days equals $68.41 per day per student for a full fiscal year.  This total covers all of the support that students receive such as staffing, busing, building maintenance, technology, athletics and extracurricular activities, summer school programs and all restricted uses in all funds.

Thompson’s total educational mill levy rate has decreased from 43.47 mills in 2007 to 38.349 mills today due to an increase in assessed property valuation. As compared to other districts in the area, TSD’s mill levy rate is approximately 16 mills (30%) below our neighboring school districts to the north and south. These communities have supplemented their budgets with mill levy override measures while also experiencing comparable growth in their assessed valuation.

Thompson has one of the lowest school tax rates in the region, and that has not changed with the recent increase in property valuation. We will continue to serve our students while continuing to look for new avenues to garner the resources that are needed to educate our community’s youth.

Thank you for your support,

Dr. Stan Scheer
Superintendent
Thompson School District

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Julie Norton

5.12.17 Audrey_Norton, GES

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Julie Norton

Student: Audrey

School: Garfield Elementary School

Grade: 3

Mrs. Norton is Audrey’s favorite teacher! She is so nice, helpful and caring! She has made 3rd grade at Garfield a success!

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Jeanne Carmichael

5.12.17 Anya_Carmichael, BES

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Jeanne Carmichael

Student: Anya

School: Berthoud Elementary

Grade: 1

We moved to Berthoud in August of last year right before school started. My daughter, Anya, had a rough kindergarten with a move in the middle of the year to a new house and bigger school, so she was a bit hesitant to start 1st grade. Mrs. Carmichael has been so nurturing and loving while being an exceptional educator that she has helped her thrive while going through some very tough transitions, which resulted in her falling behind in her reading. Thanks to the extra effort Mrs. Carmichael put forth, not only does she love school, but is really starting to become a solid reader. I also spend time volunteering in the classroom, so I can say from personal experience how much Mrs. Carmichael adores every child in her class and goes that extra mile to make sure they all feel loved and that they are all getting what they need to succeed in 1st grade.