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6 Highlands Ranch Herald

August 15, 2019A

SAFETY FROM PAGE 1

applications to receive portions of a $10 million offer from the county. “We are a board that believes strong communities find common ground and unite for positive change during difficult times,” Commissioner Roger Partridge, board chairman, said in a statement. Commissioners in May allocated $10 mil- Partridge lion in one-time funds to boost mental health support and physical security in county schools, along with $3 million a year to support SROs. The move was a response to a shooting earlier that month at STEM School Highlands Ranch in which one student was killed and eight others were injured. The commissioners formed two

• Social emocommittees, tional learning one for mental and mental health and the health support. other for physi• Anonymous cal security, that bystander made recomreporting platmendations on forms, such as how to spend the Text-a-Tip. money. • StandardBased on the izing emercommittees’ gency commufindings, the nications across county also anschools. nounced Aug. Schools have 7 six areas in until Sept. 17 to which it plans to the apfocus the spendRoger Partridge, complete plication online. ing: board chairman, in a statement “Our charter • Assessments schools are very of school secugrateful for the rity, climate and commissioners’ culture. efforts and for the opportunity to • Improving physical school apply for funding to make immedisecurity, such as secured building ate changes to further improve the access. safety of our kids,” Alison Rausch, • Training for law enforcement, spokeswoman for the Alliance of security guards, school personnel, Douglas County Charter Schools, parents and students.

‘We are a board that believes strong communities find common ground and unite for positive change during difficult times.’

The RidgeGate calendar of fun starts here. Yoga in the Park

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All events are held within the RidgeGate community, just south of Lincoln Avenue, on both sides of I-25.

A M O R E N AT U R A L A P P R O A C H T O U R B A N I S M.

r i d g e gate.co m

Join RidgeGate and South Suburban Parks and Recreation for free Yoga in the Park classes in Belvedere Park, at the corner of RidgeGate Circle and Belvedere Lane. Please bring your own yoga mat. In case of heavy rain or lightning, class will be cancelled. No registration needed—just drop in!

Tuesday, August 27, 6:30-7:30pm

Guided Nature Hikes Each year, RidgeGate teams up with the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District to provide free, guided nature hikes. These hikes are led by professional naturalists who offer insight and education into the natural ecosystems within the open space at RidgeGate. Hikes are free and open to the public—see the full schedule and register at ridgegate.com.

Saturday, August 24, 9-10:30am — Reptile Exploration: Snakes, Lizards and More Saturday, September 14, 7-8:30pm — Moon Illusion: Why the Full Harvest Moon is “Huge” in the Sky

Experience Historic Schweiger Ranch The restoration of the the 38-acre historic Schweiger Ranch, led by the Schweiger Ranch Foundation, gives us a glimpse into settlers’ lives. Today, the ranch is open to the public for self-guided visits and a variety of events throughout the year. Register for or learn more at SchweigerRanch.org.

Saturday, August 17, 2-3pm — Guided Public Tour Saturday, August 17, 6:30-8pm — Campfire & Storytelling: “Louisa May Alcott” Saturday, September 14, 6-7:30pm — Campfire & Storytelling: “Maria von Trapp” Saturday, September 21, 2-3pm — Guided Public Tour Saturday, September 21, 11am-12:30pm — “Natural Heritage” Walking Tour with South Suburban Parks and Recreation Saturday, October 5, 10am-2pm — City of Lone Tree Fall Festival Saturday, December 7, 1-5pm — 3rd Annual Austrian Christmas and Christkindl Market

said in a county news release. The Douglas County School Board discussed the commissioners’ proposal for the first time in public at a board meeting on Aug. 6. The consensus was that Superintendent Thomas Tucker should be the one to decide if the district moves forward with the application process. Board members recognized the value of the partnerships at play and expressed gratitude for the work that has gone into the commissioners’ proposal. They support the mental health initiatives on the table, which include more social-emotional sup- p o port and mental health training. i “There is a pot of money there. c To me, it’s just like applying for a grant,” board member Anne-Marie G Lemieux said, referring to the men- a p tal health resources. But school board members worry g about using an online application j process for something as sensitive as school security. Tucker, too, p s expressed concern with using a i process that could potentially be accessible to the public through an open records request. “We have said from day one that we will not do anything that compromises the safety of our schools,” Tucker said. “It has the opposite effect if it compromises the very people we are trying to protect.” Instead of an application process, school board President David Ray recommended entering into an intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, with the county, which both parties could negotiate through their attorneys and would “protect Ray some of that specificity.” The school board would have to approve the IGA. Board members supported the idea. “Ultimately, we have to have an IGA, and if it requires, or if an application requires too much specificity and does not move us completely forward with security, it actually is hurting us because we are revealing things that our security experts think should not be revealed,” board member Krista Holtzmann said. If the district receives pushback on its request for an IGA, Ray said he would support a decision to decline the commissioners’ offer for the funds. “It’s not worth it to compromise the safety of our kids to pursue that funding,” Ray said, adding, “It’s a hard thing to say. It would be unfortunate if procedurally there is a breakdown.” The next step for the district is to make clear how they will respond to the commissioners’ proposal. A timeline was not specified at the meeting. “Dr. Tucker has clarity in terms of how we move forward,” Ray said. Tucker echoed that statement and recognized the commissioners’ goal to fund some “unique things like emerging technology.” “I absolutely understand the position of the board, as well as the board and administration being appreciative of the funding,” Tucker said.

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