By Margaret Hopper
The Cobre school board meeting was called to order by Toy Sepulveda at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4. At the earlier closed session, which met at 5:59 p.m., he said they had discussed student identifiable information and limited personnel, but no decisions had been made. All board members were present. The meeting room was filled with dozens of band members, family, staff and community people who attended that night.
Interim superintendent George Peru said the AmBank transition was nearly finished, with the last payroll being run through that facility. There appeared to be no problems with the transactions.
The board was happy to offer congratulations, an award and certificates to the Cobre band members who had returned from state competition with their 14th state championship. Band director Chuck Gerheart, leading his musicians to 14 such victories, has received national recognition for his remarkable achievement and both national and state awards.
Cheryl Holland, staff and NEA person, said Gerheart would be in Washington, D.C. next February contending for a Horace Mann award, the highest honor the NEA possessed.
Peru told the students they were making a good impression for Cobre with their positive behavior on these trips, and he had heard good things about them from strangers who observed them at competitions.
Patsy Sanchez, community member, presented a petition to the board requesting a name change for the Performing Arts Center, which would carry Gerheart’s name in the future. She mentioned that a recent piece of state legislation would have made it impossible to name a living person to such an honor, but the proposed legislation didn’t pass.
Under requests for use of facilities, the board approved the continuing use to Chris Gerheart, and permission for the USDA Forest Service at San Lorenzo for possible use if needed in an emergency during the fire season, and to Freeport McMoRan at another location for the dates of May 30, June 6, June 13 and June 20.
Peru asked the board to approve the 2013-2014 Elementary Student Handbook. After the motion to do so, Board member Fran Kelly noted a few omissions and typos needed to improve the handbook. To keep the record straight, the motion was voted down and a new motion made to add the needed wording. The motion with the amendments was passed.
Another request for approval the board voted for was the Teacher Salary Schedule. It passed as presented without further discussion. The board also approved the 2013-2014 budget after working with the state on it that day, according to Peru.
With the deadline immediately at hand, Peru explained that the late approval of the K-3Plus program had required last minute help and special handling to meet the deadlines. Some additional information on the budget will be added to this report, but it was not readily available on Tuesday night.
The board acknowledged the $1000 donation from Lucille Delgado, given to Central Elementary for use in the computer labs. The donation was made in memory of her son Raymond Delgado, a computer technician, who had worked for the district before his passing. The board shortly will be sending a letter of thanks to the Delgado family.
The forms presented at the last meeting for notifying the district of funds raised by groups and deposited for future credit and use were approved. Cordova remarked that the forms should help with tracking, which needed improvement. Sepulveda noted that in the past when something had been cancelled, accounting had been unclear.
In the future, the state said there must be a procurement officer who would clarify not only what funds had been deposited and by whom, but also verify how they had been spent and that they were legal. Sepulveda said a person would have to be found and trained by the state to keep these funds current and accountable.
Brent Flenniken, a Tatsch consultant, was approved by the board as contractor for the work being done at Bayard Elementary. Tatsch of Silver City had submitted the $8.6 million bid for this renovation work, which involved the building, grounds and other assets.
In the superintendent’s report, Peru commended the Cobre teaching staff which had worked so well and hard to bring the year to a close. He also thanked Hampton Burnette for his work representing the student body to the board, and Burnette’s leadership efforts in improving student involvement in the district. The senior said he would be going to New Mexico State at Las Cruces this fall. His major would be computer science and electrical engineering.
In Burnette’s report he told of the May 24 graduation and thanked the board for its support of student activities.
In the public input portion, a staff member reported that the K-3Plus program was off to a good start with 156 children enrolled. The primary grade children numbered 41 from Bayard, 70 from Central, 39 from Hurley and 16 from San Lorenzo.
Sepulveda said big changes were coming about calling emergency meetings, with the state requiring 72-hour advance notices and tighter guidelines about what issues would qualify for emergency designations. These ‘emergency meetings’ would be subject to review at the state’s Attorney General Office, and if found not acceptable, there would be fines to a district. Certain policies must be in place by June 14.
Kelly said one training video showing how a student in baggy clothes could conceal 10 handguns and a rifle was quite a reality booster. Another board member mentioned the increasing cheating on tests to meet federal standards was appalling. Adults at all levels had been implicated in some states, from teachers to principals and superintendents.
The board adjourned at 8 p.m.