The Silver school board opened its workshop period at 5 Thursday evening at the District Office. All board members were present. Superintendent Lon Streib said student numbers were only down ten from last year, and he introduced the principals from all the schools, who had a brief message or opinion to add, and who also introduced their assistants.
The list included Wayne Mendonca of La Plata who introduced Jodie Wilmeth and Luis Alvarez, and Beth Lougee, high school principal, and Marcella Marquez and Michael Cadena, her assistants. Lougee shared plans of “halls that holler, and walls that teach,” making the building itself extend the education message to students. Dean Spurgeon represented Cliff High School.
Elementary principals included Travis Yurcic of Jose Barrios, Lisa Ortega of Sixth Street, Kenetta Hogan of Harrison Schmidt and Stout’s David Lougee. Hogan reported that the governor, Susana Martinez, would be visiting first graders and reading to them on Aug. 20 to promote language skills.
Several administrators remarked that the school opening appeared to be off to a good start and board president Petty thanked B. Lougee for her part in the senior sunrise breakfast that began at 5:30 a.m. that first day. Comments were that the kids liked it, even so early.
Mary Stoecker, Aimee Jouriqui and Leslie Shurts presented the Body Mass Index updates for the past year, explaining the program and its goals again. Stoecker outlined progress from 2005, inception date, and now. Initially the work was gathering information on the K, 4, 7 and 10th grade students. Recent directions include strategies for reducing the large numbers of overweight and obese students with Recess Before Lunch, exercise ideas and similar plans that will make students healthier.
Streib said the Prospectors had asked that he join them and he wanted the board to give him feedback on the organization and benefits that could be expected. Gus Benakis, assistant superintendent, updated the school safety plans, saying the mapping, lock boxes and signage on buildings that law enforcement had requested was mostly in place. He hoped for another meeting with county, city and state enforcement within a week or so.
Benakis reported that bus routes were running but needed fine-tuning for top efficiency. Trish Martinez, assistant superintendent of learning services, reported on the successful eye-hand coordination workshop given to 250 staff members recently, and mentioned plans for developing a model of training she and Streib were working on. Board members thanked Martinez for her improvements to the district website. She is adding additional departments and has redesigned some features.
Candy Milam, assistant superintendent working on finance, federal programs and student accountability, spoke of the time and effort her assistants were putting into the finance department. Time constraints saw the State using some unusual actions on its approvals, she said. The differences would be made up with BARs, budget adjustments.
Milam requested these BARs at the meeting: $719,509 for special education, (IDEA-B), $20,587 for IDEA-B PK, Medicaid, $200,000, Reads to Lead, $89,776, and K3 Plus, $57,158. The total checks written in July amounted to $754,589.65. There were no donations for the month, but items sold at auction last December brought in $881.00.
Bids for physical therapy work, occupational therapy, and speech and language went to Amplified Therapy Services. Two other firms had offered bids, but they were not able to compete on the total package. Milam said there were more bids she would be showing the board soon. The board approved Milam’s requests and her work.
Board members voiced some concern about the paving contract, which appeared to be a much lower price with state input, (NMDOT) but which, on more information, now looked like $75,000 with only about $15,000 to $16,000 for the state part. Members said they needed more accurate information on this and similar issues to make better decisions.
Other consent items concerned policy changes to Advisories 101, 102 and 103, all concerned with board meeting procedures, notification, agenda preparation and reports. These passed easily. Advisory 104, harassment, bullying and cyber bullying prevention, brought proposed wording changes from Tony Egan.
Benakis said he had checked with legal counsel and the problem with any change was that the policies had been written by lawyers for the School Board Association for all the New Mexico schools, and anyone who tried to change the wording risked withdrawal of copyrights and support of SBA, which would leave that board vulnerable to standing alone if challenged. After discussion, board members said it was best to leave the wording alone. Protest was possible, but policy rewording should come from the SBA, not the local district. The board passed that policy change as originally written.
The board is in the process of reviewing and updating its policies from decades back.
Egan, who is doing much of the checking, said he would review more of the policies in the future, but it looked like not many changes could be made, from this experience.
Streib noted that review work should be given to end-of-the-year school events, especially those involved with seniors and graduation. B. Lougee said she and the other high school administrators would give these special attention and report back with their recommendations. Sandra Estrada, board secretary, said the time for final approval and informing the state was coming up shortly.
The board voted to adjourn and go into closed session just before 8:00 p.m., after Streib said he needed input on personnel. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 19. Workshop will begin at 5 p.m.