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D-11 gets recognition, new raise floated for Forte, more 

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Second try at CEO raise

After a failed attempt in February to bump Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte's annual pay by 48 percent, City Council was to consider a new proposal for a smaller raise on Tuesday, after the Indy's press deadline.

The proposal calls for a three-step increase in base pay, ultimately bringing his pay to $447,175 per year by 2016, which would still be 28 percent below the current market median. The proposal would eliminate incentive pay.

Forte's base salary of $276,750 hasn't changed since 2007; his base pay and roughly $58,000 a year in incentive pay leave him 44 percent below the market's 50th percentile, a recent study showed. That's what led the Utilities Personnel Committee to propose raising his pay to $498,000 annually, which failed on a 5-4 vote in February. — PZ

D-11 tech recognized

Colorado Springs School District 11 has placed second in the national Digital School Districts Survey, conducted by the Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Association. The honor comes in recognition of the district's wide-ranging implementation of technology both inside and outside of the classroom. Last year, D-11 placed seventh.

"[Our] goal next year is to be No. 1 in the nation," says Robert Curran, assistant superintendent and chief information officer.

The major change from last year is that every D-11 classroom is now bring-your-own-device capable, meaning a student or teacher can use any laptop, smartphone, or tablet in the classroom. Though it's still too early to measure its usefulness, the setup should allow teachers to measure comprehension with short electronic tests, among other things. For students who do not own laptops or mobile devices, the district still has 18,000 computers.

Another piece of tech D-11 has implemented is its mobile app, which includes information on weather-related school closures and a calendar of events. Though Curran could not provide specific usage details, the app has more than 1,000 downloads.

Also, D-11's TV Channel 16 broadcast is now streaming live on the web. This is the first time its content will be available outside of Comcast. School board meetings will be posted on the web, too. — GS

Carson seeks permit

A permit is under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to authorize discharges of dredged or fill material, for erosion control, into streams on Fort Carson and the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeast Colorado.

According to a filing by the Corps, the work will cause "only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts."

The scope of work includes formation of erosion control basins, including earthen dams and riprap; banksloping of heavily eroded channels; construction of hardened low-water crossings for wheeled and tracked military vehicles that go off-road; construction and maintenance of culverts and bridges; maintenance and grading of drainage ditches; and aquatic habitat restoration and enhancement.

No effective date for the permit was stated in the public notice. — PZ

Medicaid expands for teeth

As of April 1, adults age 21 and older who are covered under Colorado Medicaid are eligible for basic dental coverage.

The change comes as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 242 last year, and covers up to $1,000 in work every year. Historically, adults were only eligible for emergency dental work.

"Lack of preventive dental coverage can contribute to a range of serious health complications," executive director Susan E. Birch stated in a press release. "This benefit will enable clients to get cleanings, minor fillings and diagnostic imaging services. Numerous studies have shown healthy teeth play a significant role in improving one's self-esteem, impact economic opportunities and lead to a better quality of life."

Under the bill, adults are currently eligible for basic dental work, like cleanings, X-rays and minor fillings. After July 1, however, adults will be eligible for a range of services, including root canals, crowns, partial dentures, periodontal scaling and root planing.

Medicaid recipients can search colorado.gov/hcpf/findaprovider to find a dentist or go to colorado.gov/hcpf/benefits for more information.

Qualifying children can already get government-funded dental coverage. — JAS

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