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Battling the negative factor

Trinidad SD#1 holds community meetings for ballot issue

by David J. Santistevan, Jr.

TRINIDAD — On July 31, Trinidad School District #1 hosted a second meeting at Trinidad High School Cafeteria, looking for public input on ideas of what to ask the voters of TSD#1 this November.

“State funding is not being fully funded due to the ‘negative factor’, to the tune of $11 million over the past ten years,” Trinidad School District #1 CFO Mitch Nutterfield said. “Local voter approved property taxation will supplement the lack of funding needed to provide students an education in Trinidad. Further, locally approved revenue will go directly to the students and staff of Trinidad School District #1, promoting enhanced learning opportunities and bringing needed repairs to the district’s aging facilities.

The first meeting was held on July 16. On July 31, TSD#1 officials talked about asking residents from within TSD#1 for ideas on how to get finanical help for the district.

“Having the community rally together to support the students and staff of Trinidad School District #1 is very important in order to improve the quality of education. The district facilities and programs are suffering and the ballot initiative will help improve the safety and security of the students and teachers so they can focus on education. A compensation plan is essential to recruiting and retaining highly qualified staff. This ballot initiative will give the district the ability to level the playing field for Trinidad students,” TSD#1 Superintendent Bonnie Aaron added.

Feedback from the meeting included suggestions of

-transparency

-a blueprint for itemized allocations i.e. recruitment and retention

-a critical need for teachers (TSD1 employees) to support (get the word out) the election -increased communication to the public (town hall meetings, radio infomercials)

-involving of senior citizens and renters

-making sure everyone is conveying the same message

-developing a school report card (achievement)

-iIncluding student testimonials (what is happening inside the building is more important)

-researching history of BEST grant recipients

-extending the 2000 Bond Issue

TSD#1 Board President Paul Montera ended by saying, ”Over the last ten years, TSD1 has lost $11 million in State funding due to the negative factor. The BEST Grant will give our District the opportunity to recover some of that loss. We may receive over $13 million dollars for a facilities project to provide an updated, safe learning environment with the technology that our students deserve. Our match for this grant is only 36% of the total and we need the support of the residents of TSD1 to pass a mill levy override to provide the matching amount of $4,746,962.”

The next meeting is scheduled for August 16, at 6 pm. at Trinidad High School Cafeteria. Dr. Aaron was very thankful for all of those who were in attendence at both meeting, commenting that 67% of those at the meeting were TSD#1 staff, teachers and administration.

Trinidad School District #1 Superintendent Dr. Bonnie Aaron and (right) Trinidad School District #1 CFO Mitch Nutterfield are shown here at Tueday’s Ballot Initiative Community Meeting talking to board members, teachers/staff, parents, and community leaders about the need for public input on how to approach voters in the TSD#1 district for a ballot issue this November. Photo by David J. Santistevan, Jr.

 

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