By Margaret Hopper
The Cobre school board met at the District Office on April 22, 2013. In the closed session held at 6:07 p.m. members discussed student identifiable information, limited personnel and possible litigation. The open session was called to order at 7:05. Robert Montoya was absent.
The board made Skills USA presentations. The room was filled with parents and community well-wishers who praised the efforts of the 13 students who returned from Albuquerque with 16 awards among them. Six of the 13 were on hand to receive awards from the school, including Alexis Cornidez, Sami Morales, Gabby Nunez, Matthew Bueno, Gary Garcia and Chon Villanueva. They received Cobre achievement pins.
Interim Superintendent George Peru said that those not present would also receive pins. They were caught up in other activities at the time. At the public input point in the meeting, someone asked what could be done to help those going on the national meeting in Kansas City with expenses and travel. Peru said there were plans and to see him about this at another time.
Another award, the Student Achievement Award, sponsored by the New Mexico School Board Association, went to former teacher and coach Ruben Udero, who served 36 years with Cobre in a variety of assignments. “I share this award with the people of Grant County, the whole community,” said Udero, who now has a plaque to take home.
Board president Toy Sepulveda noted that some of the engraving was missing, which he had expected the SBA to put on it. “Bring it back and we will engrave it for you,” he added. Sepulvedca explained that the award could go to a student, a community member, or to a group. Among Udero’s accomplishments were being named to the New Mexico Wrestlers’ Hall of Fame and the Girls Softball Hall of Fame.
The board approved the upgraded 2013-14 Special Education Policies and Procedures and the 2013-14 Preventive Maintenance Plan, as well as an improved Fund Raising Form, which is to be presented to the board as applicants complete the application. The request of Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities for the use of facilities was also approved.
On the topic of complaint about a board member, Jeff Carbajal, a former board member, addressed the issue relating to an encounter in a public place between a board member and others, citing that all board members are bound by the Code of Ethics. In this instance he quoted page 160 and points 3 and 4, as to what would be appropriate response. He called the confrontation poor judgment, especially in front of children.
Sepulveda echoed that the board could not approve any such action.
During the public input period, one person asked how many absences a board member could have before being removed. Sepulveda said members were allowed up to three consecutive unexcused absences. Excused absences included job conflicts and family-need issues. They were not counted.
In the student representative’s report, Hampton Burnette told of last Saturday’s prom, an event that students thought went off well. There was Breathalyzer testing as in the past, with music of different styles. Principal Johnny Benavidez said later it was one of the smoothest proms he had ever attended. It ended at the bowling alley with good participation and positive interactions all around.
Burnette reminded attendees that there were sports events scheduled on April 25 and a track meet on April 26 at Cobre.
In the superintendent’s report, Peru spoke of a long process of negotiations for school building needs. The Public School Finance Authority had said that the $400,000 for the Bayard gym was not possible at this time. Not giving up, Peru had managed to get a loan commitment for the amount and plan for a total expense of $420,000, with the bidding to begin about the first of May with a 13-month building period to end in late July of 2014.
Another important factor was the K-3 Plus program, which had been approved recently with financing by state grant. The work would begin to put the program in place for summer school, and the outcomes would reach into the school year of 2013-2014 with the math and reading strategies. The receipt of the grant affects both budget and calendar work for Cobre, so those committees will finalize this work to meet deadlines shortly.
Daena Davis commented that there were still some conflicts on spring break and testing schedules, which were under discussion. These calendar issues should be resolved soon.
The budget committee will meet on Monday, April 29, at the Central Office former boardroom. That meeting is open to public attendance. The board also approved a $5,000 special education sub-grant to purchase materials and supplies for autistic students in the coming year.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 13, at the district office in Bayard.
Agenda items should include calendar and budget information, as well as decisions about the superintendent application process.
The board adjourned at 7:50 p.m.