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Cobre School Board tours San Lorenzo Elementary School greenhouse

The Cobre school board met April 9 at San Lorenzo Elementary with all board members present. The open session was called to order by president Toy Sepulveda a little before 7:30 p.m. He announced that the closed session had begun at 6:02 and they had discussed student identifiable information, limited personnel, superintendent evaluation and the recent superintendent applications and possible litigation. No decisions had been made.

A San Lorenzo student, Gideon Kuykendall, led the pledges. The unfinished business of the 2013-2014 calendar was said to be in process but not ready for presentation. Daena Davis said the committee working on the four possible calendars had reduced them to two and the committee could shortly have both a report and a presentation ready for the board members. George Peru responded that the final calendar would be presented to the board in four weeks, regardless, because of timing issues. The need for extra calendars was due to the K-3Plus grant application which would change the district’s schedules if funded, said Peru.

San Loerenzo’s grade four teacher, Ross, turned the program over to Andrea Warner, a community resident, who had worked extensively with the children after the school landed a $2000 grant for a plastic-covered greenhouse now on school property. Community people had assisted with the construction and use of the structure, and helped children plant and raise a variety of crops this past year. Students collected non-protein foods that formerly went to waste and were building compost, weighing and graphing the results. A number of other math and writing assignments will follow as the project continues.

The board meeting broke to tour the greenhouse, with further information given by Warner on site. The meeting resumed at 8:00 p.m.

George Peru, interim superintendent, asked the board to approve the special education budget he presented so papers could be signed and the requests be sent to Santa Fe within timelines. The budget totaled about $371,000. Grant County Trails Group asked for the use of the Cobre Performing Arts Center on May 31 and June 1. Peru noted that the letter of request was in hand. A third item, acceptance of a donation from Copper Little League for the support Cobre had given them over the years, completed the requests. The board approved all three.

In the superintendent’s report, Peru explained the per student unit value set by the State, saying it had been raised by $144.01, raising the former unit value from $3675 to $3819 for each student in the district. The district was waiting to see if Cobre would get the K-3Plus grant monies for student improvement strategies that would begin in the summer, and teachers’ outdated laptop and desktop computers were being upgraded and re-imaged to carry over past information into the new computers.  This was taking additional time but should be worth the wait, Peru said.

A number of Cobre high school students who participated in SkillsUSA competitions at Albuquerque recently brought home 16 medals. First place gold medals were awarded to Victoria De la Torre for her promotional bulletin board and Chon Villalobos for his architectural drafting. Second place medals were given to Jacob Sais, first aid and CPR; Lucy Mae Denton, Trinity Marquez and Gary Garcia, community service; Sami Morales and Lucy Mae Denton, audio-TV production; Niki Valencia, chapter display. Other names for third place awards and participation included Alexis Cornidez, Chon Villalobos, Cruz Terrazas, Jacob Sias, Matthew Bueno, Trinity Marquez, Gabby Nunez and Edward Norero.

Peru also reported on the budget workshop he attended. A major item was the $70,000 reduction in the transportation budget. He told the board Cobre had the second largest geographical district in the state to cover, starting at Lake Roberts and covering a lot of territory.

Public input fielded a large number of comments and requests, many of them from San Lorenzo parents who asked for continuance of a reading skills program, help with tennis courts and markings for games on the blacktop, longer notification for changing assignments for teachers, and other things on their wish-lists. Chris De Bolt said the school's PTA was one of 99 in the state, but the only one in the southern part of New Mexico.

Board members said they would be going to San Diego Friday for the national school board convention and returning Tuesday.

After the meeting, board president Sepulveda offered information on the four administrators applying for the superintendent’s position. They include Roy Herrera, former superintendent of Pecos, New Mexico; Robert Mendoza, director of operations at Clint Independent School District, El Paso, Texas; Juan Verdugo, high school principal at Greeley, Colorado; and Juleo Garcia, Mesa Vista Consolidated Schools, El Rito, New Mexico.

Sepulveda said the process was still in review, as not all board members had read all of the applications. By the next board meeting, they would be making plans for next steps in the hiring of a superintendent. Also on the next agenda, the 2013-14 calendar will be included. The meeting is scheduled for April 22 at the District Office. Open session begins at 7:00 p.m.

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