May 1, 2018
I am writing to provide additional information regarding the opening of schools in Vail.
We strongly support the statewide effort to improve funding for education, but our most important responsibility is to take care of our Vail Community… our students and parents. That was the core element in the decision to open our schools.
We greatly appreciate and support our teachers. They work exceptionally hard. They care deeply about your children. And, they are passionate about the importance of education and their profession. Their work is the main reason Vail is a top-rated and highly respected district.
I would like to publicly thank all of our teachers — those who are in their classrooms today and those who are not. It was a difficult decision for many of them.
Our teacher attendance rate today is 77% (normal is 92%).
We are also grateful for our outstanding support staff — 95% of them are at work today (normal rate is 94%). And, our substitute teachers really came through for us.
I have visited or received direct reports from all of our schools. For most schools today is business as usual. Some schools had very few or no teachers out. At several schools the teacher absenteeism is much higher, but classes are being well covered by substitute teachers, certificated district office staff, or other very capable support staff.
The budget bills necessary to provide teachers with an average 20% salary increase have been introduced. Those bills also provide funding for classroom needs and support staff salary increases. A detailed summary is attached for those who are interested. The total value of the package to Vail is almost $7 million or well over $400 per student — the largest funding increase for education that I have seen in my 40+ year career.
The bills must go through a constitutionally mandated process. There is no way to have the bills passed immediately. While I understand and respect those who are skeptical, I am confident the bills will be approved.
Very carefully weighing everything in the balance, the judgment call was made to open our schools. It was time. Many parents were being inconvenienced and incurring expenses. Students were missing valuable instruction (and field trips they had been looking forward to for months). Senior projects need to be completed for graduations. Preparations for AP tests needed to occur. Support staff needed their paychecks. We did not need to be extending our school year into mid-June.
Our community has been most faithful in its support of our schools. We are thrilled to be back in the business of serving you.
April 30, 2018
Vail Schools will be open tomorrow, Tuesday, May 1.
April 28, 2018 – 10:00 AM
Dear Vail Parents,
Vail Schools will be closed on Monday, April 30, due to insufficient staffing.
Regular childcare services will be available through Vail Community Service. Food Services will not be available so children will need to bring snacks and lunch. Families not currently enrolled in Community Programs may choose to attend but will need to register at a current site. Please go to www.vailkids.org to find locations. The cost will be $35/day. Payment will need to be made via check for children not currently enrolled in Community Programs. VIP’s full time enrichment programs will also be open. (Both of these programs are self-funded through fees — they are not dependent upon state or legislative action.)
We are hopeful schools will be open on Tuesday.
April 27, 2018
I’m writing to update you on the current school closure situation in Vail.
Will schools be back in session on Monday? I don’t know.Yesterday 30,000 to 50,000 people marched on the Capitol in support of increased funding for education — 850,000 students were unable to attend school.
No definitive plan has been announced. And, the legislature is not in session this weekend. RedforEd has called for the walkout to continue through Monday. Perhaps news of a resolution will break later today.
We are working to determine if we can safely operate schools on Monday. Parents will be notified by email and social media no later than noon on Saturday.
We wish there were more we could do. However, the reality is that this entire situation and any immediate resolution is beyond our control.
April 24, 2018
I am writing to inform you that we will be closing all Vail Unified School District’s schools this Thursday and Friday, April 26 and April 27 due to inadequate staffing.
There are a number of questions about what a potential walkout and school closure may look like and how it would impact families. You can find answers to common questions on our District’s website. If you have site specific questions, please reach out to your student’s principal.
We are hopeful the walkout and cancellation will not extend into Monday. In the event that this changes, we will provide notice no later than Saturday, April 28.
Even though points of view may differ, please assume the best motives regarding the decisions of teachers and other staff members.
As we work together through this difficult time, I encourage you to remember that we are all united by a common bond. We deeply want what is best for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Updated: 4/25/18 at 6:25 PM
We hope to answer questions regarding school closures on Thursday, April 26 and Friday April 27. This document will be updated as more information becomes available.
Why are schools closing?
A significant number of teachers and support staff have indicated that they intend to be absent this Thursday and Friday. In collaboration with school leaders, we determined that all schools will be closed as we cannot guarantee that we will have adequate supervision to ensure student safety and provide meaningful learning opportunities.
How will I find out about ongoing information related to school closure?
You can expect regular and frequent communication to provide any updates regarding school closures. Communication will be provided via email, School Messenger, school and district websites, and the Vail School District Facebook page. Please rely only on official communications from your school and the District for ongoing information on school closings. To help with this process, please make sure schools have your current phone numbers and email addresses.
Will the school year be extended?
Based on the information we have at this time, for each day that school is closed, it will be made up at the end of the current school calendar. According to state law and current policies, any day that a school is closed would have to be made up to meet the statute requirement of 180 instructional days.
Do I have to call to report the absence during the school closures?
No, you are not required to call to report your child’s absence when school is closed.
Are before or after school care and after school activities available during school closure?
No. All before and after school programming, student services, student and club activities, and after school extra-curricular activities will be canceled during the school closures unless specifically noted by your child’s school.
Will preschool and childcare services be available when schools are closed?
No. All district childcare services will be closed including all programs related to Community Service Programs and Vail Inclusive Preschool Programs.
Will school closure affect graduation dates?
Graduation ceremonies will be held as scheduled. If there are prolonged school closures, students could be required to return to school after graduation ceremonies to complete diploma requirements.
Will school closures affect other grade level promotion events?
At this time, we expect K-8 promotion activities to be held as scheduled. Any updates will be provided by your child’s school.
Will daily field trips be cancelled on days of school closure?
Yes. Daily field trips will be canceled and rescheduled if possible unless specifically noted by your child’s school.
What will happen with extended school trips (e.g. DC Trips)?
At this time, extended field trips will continue as planned as long as we are able to ensure the safety of students through adequate supervision. As information becomes available, teachers and sponsors will provide updated information to families.
When will finals be held?
At this time, we are hopeful that exams will still be held as scheduled.
If schools are closed, how will students take Advanced Placement (AP) exams?
AP testing will take place at home campuses. High School will provide specific information regarding testing dates and times.
What about pending homework and long-term assignments?
Specific information regarding homework and long-term assignments will be provided by your child’s school.
What about students who are on free/reduced meal plans and rely on these meals?
The Vail School District is unable to offer meals when schools are closed as our number of students receiving these services does not qualify us to provide meals when school is closed. However, our local ReSources Food Bank is prepared to provide food for anyone who needs it. The contact information for the Food Bank is: http://www.resourcesvail.org/food-bank/
PLEASE NOTE THAT UPDATES AND ADDITIONAL FAQ WILL BE MADE AS INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.