With school shootings continuing to take place, school security should be an important issue for any school, and the Guffey Community Charter School is no exception.
The Guffey School’s emergency plan is not public information and is not on the school’s website, but it is available to parents, staff, administrator and board of directors.
The safety plan was originally devised with the Park County Sheriff and the district RE-2 school board and revised three years ago. It seems as though there is some disagreement between the Sheriff, fire chief, some community members and the school principal about what security measures to have at the school.
In fact, Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw was going to attend this board meeting to discuss the school’s security, but couldn’t make it because of the snow.
Southern Park County Fire Protection District Chief Eugene Farmer wanted to discuss the safety plan during the Community Linkage part of the meeting, which is open for public discussion and comments, but couldn’t. Discussion of the safety plan has to be done in an executive session, said board member Chris Peterson.
Farmer then spoke as a parent about the school needing more security and that people can just walk into the building. Community member Bob Slagle voiced similar concerns.
School Principal Martine Walker stated that the school is a public and community school and is open to public concerns. Walker would like to collect more information from all sides to make a decision about whether or not to change the current emergency plan, or not. Farmer suggested that he and the Sheriff should be invited to the next discussion of the emergency plan. Peterson said that all the board meetings are public with a time for public comment.
Slagle stated that some community members wanted to see more security at the school. Slagle said that community opinion should come first. Then the Sheriff, fire chief and school administrator can agree on an emergency plan. The ultimate decision, though, about the school’s emergency plan is up to the school administrator.
Since Peterson had been on the board the longest, he wanted to explain that the board does not make the safety plan, the board just sets the policy. The GCCS operates under the Carver Method of policy governance, where the board sets the policies that only guide the administrator, saying what the administrator cannot do. The administrator determines the means of the policies, how they are carried out. The administrator gives reports to the board on specific policies, and the board determines how well the policies are being met. So, the school’s safety plan is solely up to the administrator to determine, not the board.
This issue is coming up in a timely manner, as the June board meeting will have Executive Limitations Policy-19 (Physical Safety of Staff and Students) up for review. There is also an executive session scheduled for the June meeting with McGraw, Farmer and Walker to discuss the safety plan with the board.
Walker said that the middle school’s trip to Denver was a big success. The students visited many museums and had a good time.
The school’s Spring Program will be May 16 at 2:30 p.m. The program will feature a review of all the special programs at the school this year, as well as a song the students wrote with Guffey’s singer/songwriter Lissa Hanner.
The eighth grade presentations will be May 20 through 23 at 11 a.m., with one of the eighth graders making their one-hour presentation each day. There are four graduating eighth graders this year: Xander Stone, Havannah VanEgmond, Kaden Gates and Troy Dabney.
The Guffey Steampunk Society is sponsoring an eighth grade essay contest with the winner receiving a $200 award, added Walker.
May 30 at 11 a.m., will be the graduation ceremonies with a “Steam into Summer” party hosted by the GSS to follow the ceremonies.
May 31 at 12:30 p.m., will be the 100 years of the Guffey school reunion and appreciation party with a fish fry picnic theme.
In other matters, for board officer elections, Cathleen VanEgmond made a motion to retain Frank Ruvo as board president and Peterson as secretary, which was approved. The board approved the agenda, the April 10 regular meeting and executive session minutes, and the consent agenda.
The board acknowledged receipt of the board self-monitoring and administrator monitoring reports. VanEgmond liked the administrator monitoring reports and said nicely done. Laura Owens liked the comment that some students leave, but come back. The school has good teachers and administrator, she added.
The board approved the 2019-20 administrator contract. Walker mentioned that the administrator was paid $111 for the year in 1918.
Board members present were VanEgmond, chair for this meeting, Owens, Peterson and Dean Wilson. Ruvo had an excused absence.
Meeting was adjourned at 6:25 p.m.
All board documents and school policies are on the school’s website, guffeyschool.org. Board meetings are the second Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. and the public is always welcome.