District creates position for School/Community Prevention Coordinator

A School/Community Prevention Coordinator (SCPC) position was created by the Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education at Tuesday’s meeting of the board.

The Department of Behavioral Health provided a grant for the position that, according to Assistant Superintendent Bill Esterbrook, should cover the salary and other expenses for the person who fills the SCPC slot. The district has opened the position for applications and hopes to have someone hired to start by Jan. 14, 2009.

The SCPC would be primarily concerned with coordinating risky sexual behavior and substance abuse prevention strategies, curriculum and needs-assessment, both district-wide and throughout the local community. Drawing on data from a variety of sources, the SCPC would “Implement, facilitate, and support evidence-based prevention strategies on a district level, including policy development and collaborative efforts with the wider community.”

The SCPC would also be responsible for securing future grant monies to fund the position.

“What we’re looking for,” Esterbrook said in a later phone interview, “is someone to coordinate the efforts of prevention in substance abuse and sexual health, dealing with issues in the schools and in the community.”

In other business, the board approved its mill levy certification based on assessed valuation figures from Archuleta County and Hinsdale County assessors. The General fund levy is 21.121, the bond levy is 2.798, for a total of 23.919. With the board approval of the certification, the mill levy goes to the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners for final approval.

The board also approved a supplemental budget to allow the inclusion of a Colorado Reading First program grant. Pagosa Springs Elementary school has received a grant for the program over the past four years, to the tune of $900,000. The grant pays for teacher professional development and additional staff in order to improve reading skills across all grades and reading levels.

Set as a discussion item, the board heard a financial audit review from auditor Tim Mayberry, representing the firm of Johnson, Holscher and Company. “Across all areas, the district receives clean opinions,” Mayberry said, adding, “all in all, the district is in good financial shape.”

The audit was a month late in its presentation due to Mayberry’s dealing with fraud in another district. Drawing on that experience, Mayberry offered stern advice to the district, warning, “You can have all the policies you want but if you don’t implement them and follow them to the letter, you run the risk of letting down your guard.”

Mayberry also expressed some concern that the district had spent money from its reserves during the past two years and warned that, although the district had not taken much of the funds, “You need to keep an eye on dipping into reserves.”

Student athletes and musicians were recognized at the start of the meeting, with kudos going to state qualifiers from the high school golf and cross country teams, the football team (for making it into the State 2A quarter finals), and members of the high school jazz band for being selected to perform at the Colorado Association of School Boards conference in Colorado Springs.

The school board meets next at 6 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2009 in the Pagosa Springs Junior High library.

jim@pagosasun.com