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Board of Education Recap March 15th, 2018

News from Sheridan School District No. 2

Contact: Mark Stevens


303-495-8699 (mobile) • 720-328-5488 (office)


News Release

March 15, 2018

Superintendent Applications Will Be Reviewed Saturday, March 17

The Board of Education will meet in executive session on Saturday, March 17 to review superintendent applications. The meeting will be held in the board room at SOAR Academy, 4107 S. Federal Blvd., beginning at 9 a.m.

The closed-door meeting is scheduled to run until 1 p.m. However, Superintendent Michael Clough told board members that Ray & Associates search consultant Ricardo Medina said more than 60 applications have been received and the board may need more than four hours to review them all. “He’s feeling very positive about the pool,” said Superintendent Clough.

Applications were due March 12.

Superintendent Michael Clough is leaving the district in June after a decade of leadership. The board is planning to select a replacement by mid-April.


Ongoing deliberations among Colorado state lawmakers about how to address under-funding of the state’s retirement system, PERA, is being closely watched by all school districts, said Superintendent Clough.

A bipartisan bill currently being discussed in the legislature proposes sacrifices from retirees, all current state employees and from the government agencies that employ them. PERA is currently underfunded by at least $32 billion. Some estimates range up to $50 billion.

Superintendent Clough told the board that the current proposal could cost Sheridan School District $290,539 in the first year and $411,952 in the second year.

That’s the equivalent of $213 per student in the first year and $303 per student in the second year. The reduction from teacher and staff paychecks will generate another $650,000. On average, that would represent a 3 percent cut in take-home pay. 

Sheridan is already facing the need to cut $600,000 in expenses from the 2018-2019 school year budget due to a drop in enrollment this year of 124 students.

Mill Levy

Sheridan board members recently asked about considering an increase in the district’s property tax rate as a possible source of additional revenue, particularly in hopes of remaining competitive with teacher salaries.

Superintendent Michael Clough displayed a chart with comparisons between Sheridan’s current mill levy rate and many nearby and surrounding districts. 

Sheridan School District’s total mill levy rate is currently lower than 10 other Metro Denver school districts including Adams 12, Adams 14, Jefferson County, Douglas County, Westminster 50, Mapleton, Littleton, Englewood, Denver and Cherry Creek. 

Sheridan’s total mill levy rate is 35.259. The next highest is Adams 14 at 40.759. At the high end of all 11 school districts is Adams 12 at 63.259.

The total mill levy rate is a combination of three levies—general fund, bond redemption and overrides. Sheridan’s general fund mill levy rate is the lowest in the group.

“We are the best bargain for taxes in the Denver Metro area when it comes to schools,” said Superintendent Clough.

At the current rate, a homeowner in Sheridan pays $253.72 each year for every $100,000 of property owned.

Raising an additional $1 million in override money would cost an additional $30.89 annually for every $100,000 of property value.

Superintendent Clough pointed out the high mill levy override rates already approved by voters in Littleton and Cherry Creek. Littleton’s mill levy override rate is 16.973. By comparison, Sheridan’s is 4.964. If the Littleton override rate were applied in Sheridan, said Superintendent Clough, it would generate an additional $4 million. 

SOAR – Accomplishment #2

Superintendent Clough took a few minutes to recognize the growth and progress at SOAR Academy, the district’s alternative school for high school students. SOAR started in 2009 in the basement at Sheridan High School but moved in 2015 to its current location at 4107 S. Federal Blvd. in the building previously occupied by the middle school.

Superintendent Clough recalled that the board of education supported the ongoing development and expansion of SOAR despite knowing that reaching out to students who struggle with academics might harm the district’s overall performance as measured by the state accountability system. “We knew SOAR would hurt the data,” said Superintendent Clough. “The board said of course we follow the dream” of reaching as many students as possible.

To date, SOAR has graduated 150 students. “We should be very proud of it,” said Superintendent Clough.

SOAR Admission Process

SOAR Academy principal Christian Ramaker and Sheridan High School principal Shirley Miles presented information about the process for enrolling students at SOAR.

The presentation included the steps that go into evaluating students from the high school who might be a candidate for SOAR’s smaller class sizes and more personalized instruction. 

SOAR also enrolls students from across Metro Denver who have previously not attended any Sheridan schools.

Principal Ramaker reviewed SOAR’s system for tying credits to attendance, including an appeals process that is reviewed by the entire leadership team.

“We do go through a process,” said principal Miles. “And we make sure that we work with the parents every step of the way.”

District Marketing Push

Data and Assessment Manager Kirk Henwood is heading up in informal committee of district leadership and staff to work on a new effort to market Sheridan schools. Only in the early stages, said Henwood, the committee will meet later this week and is identifying the positive messages it wants to promote and various ways to communicate them, including social media, videos, and Spanish-language radio.

School Lunch Program Audit

An audit of the school lunch program by the Colorado Department of Education found no errors on Sheridan’s application process for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. The audit reviewed 300 applications at random from Fort Logan Northgate School and found no issues, said Chief Operations Officer Kristen Colonell.

In addition, Colonell discussed the ongoing efforts under Food Service Director Kim Butler to emphasize meals cooked from scratch, to improve the environment in all school cafeterias, and to involve students in taste-testing new menu items.


Bully Prevention Grant

Fort Logan Northgate School assistant principal Beth Joswick provided an update to the board on implementation of a state grant that is working to reduce bullying and intimidation among students. The school is in year two of a three-year grant. 

Research shows that bullies are frequently seeking attention from peers. With the assistance of a peer-nominated group of student leaders, the grant is working to highlight positive behavior and to shift the culture so students aren’t bystanders when they observe bullying behavior.

Students are encouraged to recognize other students who are caught “doing the right thing.” Joswick demonstrated the “STOP, WALK, TALK” steps that show students how to handle conflict on their own. The process urges students to clearly state when they are feeling disrespected, to walk away or find somewhere else to go when confronted, and to tell an adult if needed.

Former Teacher Turns 100

Superintendent Clough noted that Wednesday, March 14 marked the 100th birthday of former Fort Logan Elementary School teacher Bernadine Hanson, who taught from 1967 to 1988. Hanson was taking care all of her own needs until recently, said Clough. Her motto had been “ninety-nine and doing fine” but she now needs some assistance.

Consent Agenda

All consent agenda items were approved.

About Sheridan School District 2

Located southwest of Denver, Sheridan School District 2 seeks high-level post-secondary options for all students through continuous improvement of quality instruction. More: www.ssd2.org

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Sheridan School District NO.2
4150 South Hazel Court
Englewood, Colorado 80110
email: info@ssd2.org
phone: (720) 833-6991
fax: (720) 833-6650