The Curious Case of the Vanishing Money

by Inspector Clouseau

I was assigned The Case of the Mystery $4 Million School Shortfall and  as I always say, “There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of them.”

 Having spent numerous hours reading through all twenty nine pages of the Eagle County School District staff, directors, and  various office folks I can indeed announce “The  mysterious  $4 million dollar shortage is listed,  right here, under our noses!”

Attention commisionaires:  Carrie Benway, TJ Johnson, Kate Cocchiarella, Connie Kincaid-Strahan, Ross Morgan, Jeanne McQueeney and Brian Nolan! You ‘ave ninety three school employees who are not teachers who teach in a classroom with  students of course! 

 “Many Chiefs Few Indians” – zis  is the problem.

Find ze  classrooms teacher’s who actually educate in ze below list–oh right!  Zere eez no  educators listed  here!

So to ask for a property tax increase or even suggest such a thing is simply…  crahzy!

Ze case is — sol-ved.

Eagle Schools
Administration Departments
    * Assessment
    * Business Services
    * Communications
    * Learning Services
    * District Library Media Center
    * Early Childhood Education
    * Exceptional Student Services
    * English Language Acquisition
    * Professional Development
    * Human Resources
    * Maintenance
    * Technology
    * Transportation

Human Resources – School District Administration office
Wilson, Adele          Human Resources 
Booth, Janet            Human Resources   
Conway, Tammy      Human Resources   
SANTORO, JERRY  Human Resources 

Office of Superintendent – Administration
Smyser, Sandra    Superintendent    Office of Superintendent
FORD, MELISSA    Office of Superintendent 
Myers, Tiffany         Office of Superintendent  

Business Services -School District Administration
Onofrio, Philip          Business Services    Email
Butters, Brunilda      Business Services   
Steggall, Rhonda      Business Services   
Gerard, Chelsey       Business Services  
Moreno, Amy           Business Services   
Ruggeberg, Lynda     Business Services 

District office – Public Communications Specialists-Administration
Skjonsby, Brooke         Communications  
Earle, Matt {Matthew}    Communications   

Food services Administration -School District Administration  office
Cardona, Tony   Food Service  
Edel, Ray          Food Service  

Technology For Administration
 Ellsworth, Marta        Technology 
Hanan, John              Technology   
Lake, Stanley            Technology   
Lowe, Mike{Michael}  Technology  
Meeks, Cameron       Technology  
Rowe, Kevin              Technology  
Sappenfield, Ryan     Technology  
Valdez, Diana           Technology   
Valdez, John            Technology   
Wilmers, Nancy        Technology  

Early Childhood aka Preschoolers
MENDEZ GARCIA, MONICA     Early Childhood  
DAVILA, MARIA                      Early Childhood  
PILAT, CHRISTOPHER            Early Childhood   
VILLA, MARIA                         Early Childhood 
WOODBURY, LAUREN            Early Childhood  
Palacios, Edna                        Early Childhood 
Anderson-Hand, Pat {Patricia}  Early Childhood   
Carrillo, Elsa                           Early Childhood 
Castro, Laura                          Early Childhood 
Cooper, Katrina                       Early Childhood  
Garcia-Aguirre, Rocio               Early Childhood   

PreSchool for toddlers- (?)
Reineke, Rachel       PreSchool Director    Gypsum Elementary – GES  
Farren, Katie            PreSchool Assistant  Gypsum Elementary – GES    
Garcia, Jennie          Preschool TA            Red Sandstone Elementary – RSES   
Hernandez, Antonia  PreSchool Assistant  Gypsum Elementary – GES   
Reichmuth, Jane      PreSchool Assistant  Gypsum Elementary – GES 

The infant Nursery (?)
Ejnes, Jody      Nursery Director    Red Canyon High – RCHS  
Rutty, Merced   Nursery Specialist   Red Canyon High – RCHS     

Special Education
Dearth, Jasmine    Special Education teacher   
Sherman, Lucas    Special Education Teacher    Red Canyon High – RCHS   
Sticht, Dawn         Special Education Teacher    Berry Creek Middle – BCMS   
Sumptner, Erin     Special Education Teacher    Berry Creek Middle – BCMS   

English Language Acquisition  (ESL)
Castro Moreno, Luz    ESL  teacher    Meadow Mountain Elementary – MMES   
Cuevas, Becky           ESL Teacher    Gypsum Elementary – GES   
Reyes, Luz                ESL teacher assistant    Meadow Mountain Elementary – MMES   
Stalnaker, Mary      Librarian/ESL Teacher    Gypsum Elementary – GES   
* and paid Bilingual Parent Liaison’s too!

Misc. staffers 
Allard, Cindy           Guidance Counselor    Gypsum Elementary – GES  
 Stone, Kimberli       Health Assistant    Gypsum Elementary – GES 
MACOMBER, AMY  Exceptional Student Services  
Ricci, Colby             Moderate Needs    Red Sandstone Elementary – RSES


15 responses

  1. Nice, pick on the special education teachers that help our kids with disabilities learn. Just because they don’t have their own classroom, doesn’t mean they don’t teach our kids. Just ask my son.

  2. For the record here, I wasn’t bothered at all by this latest ECT story and my kids also are in Special Ed- (in the Gifted talented special Ed program) but again I took no offense at the Good Inspector. He spoke the truth. There is “Too many Chiefs and far too few Indians- ”

    With that being said, for the rest of the readers here, a Special Ed teacher does NOT teach in a standard ‘norm’ group of ‘ K-12th graders. This is a small and segregated group of students, separate from the rest by both definition and by classification. Like I said-mine participate and I wish that we had far less administrators and many many many more teachers-who educate via teaching-in a classroom.

    I am in full agreement with Eagle Schools teacher Tanya Caruso who wrote the following Vail Daily commentary about
    * our current school superintendent who chose to accept her bonus instead of turning it down like the other school superintendents in CO did, and
    * who decided to keep her annual pay raise too, while congruently forcing our teachers to take pay freezes and cuts–and laying them off as well.

    I recommend you read this as well Yokel-will give you some insight in what the Good Inspector (and the public in EC) is saying here!

    Refer to “Vail Valley Voices: Schools chief won’t share pain” (we, the public say GO Tanya! You pegged it!)

    And btw Yokel–the schools administrative staff advisory committee has the audacity to suggest the schools “need” a TAX hike?


    They NEED to fire a bunch of the bloated administrative staff– A school district with less than 6000 students and a list this large is beyond repugnant -it is bordering on a need for a internal investigation of these (supposedly) transparent funding practices of theirs …

    State of Colorado Dept of Education defined: Special Educational Services; Gifted students, children with disabilities-

    12.01 (15) “Special Educational Services” or “Special Educational Programs” means the services
    or programs provided to exceptional children including children with disabilities and gifted students.

    12.01 (7) “Early Childhood Special Educational Services” means those instructional strategies, curriculum, affective and programming options that nurture and develop exceptional abilities or potential for gifted students, including but not limited to an early entrance strategy or advanced level pre-school interventions

  3. Yokel, why did you zero in on special education teachers when this article points out our long list of administrators? Sure didn’t look like the author was targeting special education teachers to me. Nice try at the redirect! Buzzer sounds FOWL PLAY!

    Can you possibly tell me WHY we are paying so many infant, toddler and early preschooler administrators within our school district? What are we taxpayers teaching infants? There are over 20 taxpayer funded administrators in that department compared to four special education administrators. Just sayin.”

    We have need for only “ONE” exceptional student administrator for the entire district? Do we have that few exceptional students? Makes one wonder, WHY? Isn’t ECSD in the business to nurture/create exceptional students?

    What is a *paid bi-lingual parent liason? How much are we paying this person and how many languages does this liason speak? What is this liason teaching? And to whom?

    It would seem our district has lost touch with the reality that teachers are the foundation within every institution of learning. We clearly have too many cheifs and not enough indians.
    It would be interesting to tally the combined salary cost we taxpayers pay all of these administrators…betcha there’d be a rude awakening among the tax payers resulting in some belt tightening.

    • Um…if you want to say there are too many administrators, fine. But, take the teachers off the “administrators” list you posted. Special ed teachers are listed as such on your “administrators” list.

  4. BIG ‘staffer’ list here-wish they attached what each position pays (starting & ending) as well as how many employees are under each listing here- as well as show how many students are enrolled in ECS w/o a SSN, Visa or U.S. birth certificate (“Inspector-PLEASE find out that next- no law against a Head Count nor against turning them over to Immigration immediately per Plyler ruling!”)
    * Central Administration (school district office)

    Assistant Superintendent of Business Finances
    Communications Director
    Coordinator of Special Education
    Director of Early Childhood Programs
    Director of Elementary Education
    Director of Facilities
    Director of Food Service
    Director of Human Resource Services
    Director of Secondary Education
    Director of Technology
    Director of Transportation
    Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) Coordinator

    * District Office Support Staff Positions

    Accounts Payable Accountant
    Administrative Assistant to Business Finances
    Administrative Assistant to Superintendent/BOE
    Communication Specialist
    Custodian – District Office
    Elementary Education Specialist
    Human Resource Specialist
    Human Resource Support Specialist
    Payroll/Benefits Specialist
    Purchasing Card Accountant
    Secondary Education Specialist
    Secretary – Central Office/Human Resources

    * After School Program Facilitator

    Health Assistant
    Para Professional II – Highly Qualified
    Para Professional II – Highly Qualified (In House Suspension)
    Para Professional III – Highly Qualified
    Para Professional IV – Highly Qualified
    Preschool Assistant
    Preschool Specialist

    * School Administrator Positions

    Assistant Principal
    Certified Teaching Positions
    Athletic/Activities Director – High School
    Elementary Instructional Coach
    English Language Acquisition – Teacher On Special Assignment
    High School Dean
    Master Teacher
    Media Specialist
    Mentor Teacher
    Preschool Teacher
    School to Work Coordinator (SWAP)
    Secondary Instructional Coach
    Special Education Program Counselor
    Special Education Teacher
    Speech Language Specialist
    Substitute Teacher

    * Food Service Positions

    Baker I
    Bakery Manager
    Cafeteria Manager
    Central Delivery Driver – Food
    Central Delivery Driver – Mail
    Cocinero (Cook)
    Multi-Unit Cafeteria Manager

    * Head Start/CPP Support Staff Positions
    Family Services Coordinator

    *Custodial & Facilities (Maintenance) Positions

    Conserje – Edifico (Custodian – Building)
    Custodian – Building
    Lead Custodian
    Maintenance III – Carpenter
    Maintenance III – Grounds Care/Irrigation/Plumbing
    Maintenance III – Maintenance Technician
    Maintenance Specialist III – Electrician – Journeyman
    Maintenance Specialist III – Electrician – Master
    Maintenance Specialist III – HVAC/R
    Maintenance Worker I
    Maintenance Worker II
    Park Manager (Maloit Park)
    Service Coordinator – Facilities
    Para Professional/Teacher Assistants Positions

    * School Secretarial Positions

    Athletic Secretary – High School
    Office Manager
    Registrar – High School
    Registrar/Secretary – Middle School
    School Secretary

    * Technology Positions

    Application System Analysts effective 1/1/07
    Electronic Systems Specialist
    Network Systems Engineer
    Network Systems Specialist
    Operational Technology Specialist
    PC Support Specialist
    Student Information Systems Administrator
    Student Information Systems Assistant
    Technical Support Specialist
    Technology Program Specialist expires 12/31/06
    Technology Support Assistant

    * Transportation Positions

    Bus Driver
    Bus Driver – Small Vehicle
    Bus Driver – Special Needs
    Crossing Guard
    Driver Trainer
    Driver Trainer – Head
    Fleet Manager
    Fleet Maintenance Specialist
    Parts Purchasing Specialist
    Vehicle Technician – Mechanic
    Vehicle Technician – Helper

  5. and from the Co state Board of education;

    C.R.S. 22-20-101 through 22-20-114 (Exceptional Children’s Educational Act)

    These children (and infants and toddlers) can have either a physical disability (Ie vision, hearing ,mobility etc.) or a Cognitive disability (such as; Exhibits pervasive sad affect, depression, feelings of worthlessness; they lie and cheat, they cry, or demonstrate an inability to build or maintain interpersonal relationships or, are unable to
    receive reasonable educational benefit from regular education-etc.)

    Here is how schools and government now control what USED TO BE parental responsibilities-
    When i was in high school-i was in a wheelchair for about 4 months. In my school i was unable to go up and downstairs and they had no elevators–so–my parents paid a school teacher to tutor me at my home.

    “My parents paid” –did you catch that Yokel? NOT taxpayers paid- my parents wanted the best outcome for their on child which was me…so they paid the bill.

    Colorado State Board of Education-

    Special education (allowed) expenditures page 17 pdf

    2.03(1)(a) Salaries of:
    2.03(1)(a)(i) Special education teachers.
    2.03(1)(a)(ii) Home-hospital teachers for students with
    2.03(1)(a)(iii) Speech/language specialists.
    2.03(1)(a)(iv) Specialty teachers.
    2.03(1)(a)(v) Instructional paraprofessionals.
    2.03(1)(a)(vi) Tutor interpreters.
    2.03(1)(a)(vii) School nurses.
    2.03(1)(a)(viii) Occupational therapists.
    2.03(1)(a)(ix) Physical therapists.
    2.03(1)(a)(x) School psychologists.
    2.03(1)(a)(xi) School social workers.
    2.03(1)(a)(xii) Audiologists.

    et Cetera…. yes, there is more….

  6. My son has Autism and we’re grateful for special education. In fact we thank Governor Ritter for changing some laws that Governor Owens put into place.

    I’m mainly on the side of Teachers Unions. However, I think there needs to be changes. I think teachers should be able to be fired and I’m for some kind of performance based pay.

    The situation in the Midwest has nothing to do with salaries or the budget. It’s all about, breaking down Democratic voters.

    I thought the movie “Waiting for Superman” did a great job of laying out what the problems/solutions are in education.

    Those who oppose early childhood are also those who’ve never had a child with a disability. In our case, early childhood played a big part in helping our son.

    Today’s children are tomorrow’s tax payers. Those who see it any other way are those who can’t see past the end of their nose.

  7. We are in complete agreement BlueBayou re teachers teaching our children in class.

    Here is where our shrinking tax dollars go tho- and its NOT to our teachers!

    Just know I:
    – am in support of teachers–who teach our children.
    -am appalled at our long list of administrators & program directors in ECS
    -understand highest percent recipient of property taxes is schools- and now they want more!
    -know for a fact that infant and toddler daycare is not under the K-12th education duties, nor is being a property owner/landlord under the duties of educating children.

    Next: More facts on ‘How COLORADO schools and our own Eagle County schools spend your money’ – (hint; it is NOT spent on teachers teaching in classrooms!)

    Weld County schools -February 17, 2011-
    “Childcare on the school’s property ”
    Cribs replace the school desks that once lined the room. High chairs and walkers are where computers might sit. The new arrangements in two classrooms at Jefferson High School ….
    Read more

    Eagle County schools- January 9, 2009-
    “New schools child care opens in Gypsum ”
    Eagle County School District employees will operate the child care center.
    Read more

    Eagle County schools October 21, 2008
    ” Eagle schools Edwards infant nursery ”
    Students kids are taken care of at elementary school across the street-
    Read more

    Denver Public schools -August 22, 2010 –
    “School operated Contraceptive Clinics”
    Wellness Centers for sixth grade (age 11 years) through 12th-graders (age18- 21 years) are the first to offer contraceptives, taxpayer funded, on school grounds during school.
    Read more:

    And so on…now we have Eagle County school CHEFS-plus a Food services director? We have multiple curriculum directors, we have high school DEANS ( what?) we have Guidance Councilors for 5 year olds through 10 years olds– (HUH?) and we have two separate infant and toddler child care facilities our schools operate with paid school staff -from our tax dollars!

    ENOUGH–time to stop this and implement the findings for Arizona schools as we are now receiving AZ residents here., children in tow-

    AZ state Auditor General Debbie Davenport recently conducted a fiscal report – her findings include: “School district spending continues to shift away from the classroom-” Education Funding and Budget Reductions –
    * Arizona schools can use this opportunity to cut the number of non-teaching staff members and lay off ineffective teachers while raising class sizes without hurting student achievement. – Arizona’s state-wide percentage of dollars spent in the classroom has decreased each year for the past 5 years-


    RE50J Eagle Schools Adopted Budget 2010-11:
    read more;

  8. BlueBayou, I can absolutely appreciate your position re’ early childhood considering your son having autism. I agree that there is a need for special education teachers in such a case as your son. Realize please, you are not alone when it comes to a child with special needs.

    But, there is a difference between teachers and administrators. If you do a head count of the administrators on this eye opening list, and had the ability to view their salaries i.e. what we taxpayers are paying them (via transparency in government) I believe you’d find we could do more for kids with less high paid administrators and more teachers.

    I wonder, do you have the understanding to look back over the comments that have been made and consider the opposition you see has more to do with redirecting the money back to the teachers and taxpayers, where it should be. Not sitting behind a desk, collecting a fat paycheck, trying to figure out how much more money can be squeezed out of the taxpayer in order to hire more administrators. See the vicious circle here?

  9. Um…if you want to say there are too many administrators, fine. But, take the teachers off the “administrators” list you posted. Special ed teachers are listed as such on your “administrators” list.

  10. Yokel, can you explain your tunnelvision focus when it comes to the special ed teachers on this list?

    Why aren’t you so vociferous when it comes to the ESL teachers on this list?

    Can you tell me who our high school dean is? Last time I visited our high school, I wasn’t introduced to our taxpayer funded dean, were you?

    Where is the need for a guidance councelor in an elementary school scenario? Are we now beginning our career focus at this early stage in life?

    Have you no thoughts on the need for an in school family services coordinator? Wouldn’t that position fall under our local government community family services agency? i.e. health and human services.

    Again, I ask, “What is a *paid bi-lingual parent liason? How much are we paying this person and how many languages does this liason speak? What is this liason teaching? And to whom?”

    Infant nursery? What are we taxpayers teaching infants and whose infants are we teaching?

    In the post to Bluebayou I wrote “do a head count of the administrators on this eye opening list” I didn’t say do a head count of the teachers…we are all aware there are teachers on this list, we can read.

    So now, Yokel, how’s about you answer some of my questions posted here? If you can answer the questions, then great answer. If you can’t answer the questions, then I’d like to speak to your supervisor please.

  11. Here is some more ways our tax dollars are being spent: every December, the 7 elected school board members(I voted for none of them), plus the superintendent, attend the 4 1/2 day Colorado Association of School Boards convention in Colorado Springs. The convention is held at the Broadmoor Hotel. I took the time to call the Broadmoor Hotel and found out that:

    *the corporate rate for one evening goes from $150 to $238 an evening.

    *per ECSD, all meals are reimbursed through the school district at the rates of $14 for breakfast, $19 for lunch, and $38 for dinner

    *mileage is reimbursed at 55 cents per mile. Looking at the ECS mileage chart, a one way trip to Colorado Springs from the district office is 192 miles.

    When you multiply all of these legitimate expenses paid for by you know whom; this is a very costly trip! I understand, every organization has some sort of “professional” development, but this is uncalled for! Especially when the question asked by “Citizen Betty” “What is being done to enhance and promote rigor” remains unanswered by the uninspiring Dr. Smyser and most importantly, the seven free spending school board officials!!

  12. Great post Paul Kersey. (Don’t you wonder why you couldn’t just view the hotel costs etc posted online at ?)

    We NEED teachers (fully agree) but do we ‘need’ expenditures and a appalling list like these lists/costs above?

    School district and School Board- I fully believe you are reading this here right now so please provide all EC taxpayers (who pay your salaries) with a (Open Records) ‘transparent’ expenditure list- save us all the hassle of a state DORA open records request. After all, we employ you-not the reverse.

    In our taxpayer ‘transparency’ list please include;
    * credit card charges, per item —
    * out town ‘retreat’ expenses and for which employees, by name and dates–
    * employee housing and supplied for whom, by name–
    * mileage reimbursements and for whom by name–
    * personal vehicles and for whom, by name–
    and finally,
    * the complete list of all ECs employees (classified and non-classified) by name * as well as each persons salaries-which I know for a fact you already have recorded.

    ECS, you can imply Copy, Paste and Post the above–works for me. Or give us the online link to the info- (I am unable to find it on your website anywhere)

    All the above are Public Record so that is a non-issue.

    And VD–I am pretty sure you read here too so how about you join in the fun and run the above–in print– preferably prior to any schools Special or General tax hike elections, simply to fully inform your readers?

    ECT’s— how about you post all the actual taxpayer costs (above) as well?

    Remember —- If Mike Cacioppo can get it all from our schools, surely you all can as well.

  13. Thank you, Paul. If more people would post their concerns, maybe our school district would get the point.

    That point is, local citizens are financially strapped, it’s time to consider cutting back. not punish those by adding more taxes, fortunate enough to still have jobs and haven’t abandoned our community.

    Last October, the VD printed a story reporting our school district’s finance manager Mr. Phil Onofrio, was enlisting citizen volunteers to form a budget commitee.

    According to the article, this committee should have already met at least three times. I’d like to know who is on this committee and what proposed cuts have they implemented or considered? I ask because, all indications suggest the spend and tax initiative is alive and well within our district.

    I have a challenge for our district, why don’t they give the local community an opportunity to view all budget expenditures and assist in planning the budget utilizing the Backseat Budgeter. If this tool is good enough for CSU and the Colorado Health Foundation to use, well then our Eagle County School District should be good enough, right?

    I think it’s time our school district gives the tax paying community an opportunity to offer ideas on cost cutting measures, collectively. The Links and information about the backseat budgeter are above.

    The Vail Daily could prove to be more than a back pocket publication by tracking and reporting all budgetary information and community ideas from start to finish.

    It’s time the community stand up and voice their dissatisfaction with being misinformed or misled when it comes to what we are subsidizing via our tax dollars.

    What say you, ECSD, Ms. Smyser, Mr. Onofrio and the rest of you big spenders on this list ….up for a little community challenge?

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