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In a virtual meeting on Tuesday, the Poudre School District Board of Education approved the contract with AlphaBEST, the before- and after-school provider that will succeed B.A.S.E Camp.
After a lengthy discussion, the motion passed 5-0 with directors Carolyn Reed and DJ Anderson voting present, which means their vote did not count toward the motion.
PSD has contracted with B.A.S.E Camp for more than 30 years. The nonprofit entered the bidding process, and the district’s February decision deadline passed, but B.A.S.E Camp director Seth Kelley said he did not hear from PSD.
“I reached out, called several times, texted, emailed … our hope was that we could coordinate with PSD (to make a transition plan),” Kelley previously told the Coloradoan.
The district board and Todd Lambert, assistant superintendent of elementary schools, agreed the communication throughout the process could have been better.
“We did not handle the communication very well,” Lambert opened up by saying. “We had the opportunity to handle it better, but we did not.”
The board members who did not vote for approving the contract had their own concerns.
“This whole contract and the way it went down was disturbing and disappointing,” Reed said. “But I think staff followed the process very well. As a board member, I’m disappointed mostly in myself that I let this get past me.”
Anderson said he was disappointed there was no parent input in the decision.
The five board members who did vote in favor of the contract agreed the request-for-proposal process was fairly followed and that B.A.S.E Camp will be missed.
“I really want to show our deep gratitude for B.A.S.E Camp,” director Kristen Draper said. “With that said, the process PSD went through was a good process. It was appropriate and long overdue, frankly.”
Lambert assured the board that AlphaBEST will accept children through the Child Care Assistance Program that caters to low-income families, which was one concern among parents.
Still, director Nate Donovan wondered how to weigh a local nonprofit service like B.A.S.E Camp against another out-of-state provider like AlphaBEST, which is based in North Carolina.
“The proof will be in the pudding,” vice president Rob Petterson commented.
The district’s decision to cut ties with B.A.S.E Camp frustrated parents and caught the attention of Bob Bacon, president of B.A.S.E Camp’s board of directors, former PSD educator, former Colorado state senator and namesake of Bacon Elementary School.
“After a relationship of over 30 years in which Poudre School District and B.A.S.E. Camp have cooperated and collaborated to provide accessible and affordable after-school care and enrichment, and without the courtesy of a discussion about how B.A.S.E. Camp might evolve to better fit the district’s needs, or to work through a thoughtful transition plan, the district sent this abrupt message,” Bacon wrote in a letter to the board.
Parents said the first they heard about the process was after the district announced intentions to contract with another provider.
“I’m just completely perplexed,” parent Lisa Randall previously told the Coloradoan. “This hasn’t been my experience in the district, of them making a decision and it not being inclusive or not getting input.”
Randall, who has a fifth-grader at Kruse Elementary, said she understands the value of a competitive process but thinks those directly using the service should be able to solicit feedback.
Randall said she searched every district Board of Education agenda and various parts of PSD’s website looking for more information and found only a statement shared on March 18.
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Brooklyn Dance covers breaking news and K-12 education. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @hibrookIyn.
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