By Margaret Hopper
The Cobre school board met at the District Office on September 23. President Toy Sepulveda said that in the earlier closed session, the board had discussed student identifiable information and pending litigation. No decisions had been made. All board members were present. The new student representative, senior Emanuel Reynolds, was introduced to the board and he took his seat with the board, as others had in past years. Reynolds will report on student activities, as a part of the regular board agenda.
Cassie Arias, Outreach Coordinator for HMS (Hidalgo Medical) asked for the use of the high school track for the Fall Fitness Walkathon coming up shortly. Superintendent Robert Mendoza recommended the board pass the motion and they did it unanimously. Later in the meeting Joyce Barela, principal of Bayard Elementary, said the Friday Walkathon had scheduled grades 1 through 3 to walk from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. and grades 4 – 6 to start after that. There were plans to serve hot dogs and other refreshments to the students. Volunteers and community members would be welcome to participate.
The board also passed the August bills total of $899,045.16. Mendoza ‘strongly recommended’ that they pass the initial budget amount for the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables program which gave students a variety of foods to choose from for breakfasts and lunches. They did. During discussion, it was mentioned that Central, Bayard and Hurley Elementary schools were prepared to receive these funds, but that San Lorenzo was not. Board member Frances Kelly said they needed to find a way to include it, too.
Another budget transfer was approved for the purchase of the two badly needed ¾-ton commodities vans at a price of just over $38,000. Frank Ryan and others said there would be a wait before they arrived, as these vans are built after an order is placed. It would be a few months before they would be in service.
Shauna McCosh of the School Health Advisory Council reported on the mandated Public Education Department requirements that would now focus on physical education standards for children. She said past priorities had been nutrition and other topics, but at this time PED was asking for wider involvement from community and other groups to support these standards. Also in the superintendent’s report, more student groups had put in funding requests to that office.
Mendoza brought the board up to date on three contracts that had recently been given, and said he would keep them informed in the future. One contract was with Southwest Regional Education Co-op, which would consolidate and coordinate purchase orders and presenters for several schools in the area.
Mendoza had Director of Operations George Peru explain a second contract, which hired a person for state-mandated water testing at San Lorenzo. Peru said the contract with Badger-Western would include well adjustments and a transition of responsibility to Cobre personnel after a period of servicing and training. The third contract had hired a truant officer, Ray Macon, for 20 hours weekly at $16 per hour.
Barela and assistant superintendent José Carrillo had recently received training on implementing Common Core for the district. It is to be an ongoing process. Barela said the first training date would be October 4 and others would follow in January, February and April. Mendoza said there would be an early dismissal for students this week as teachers attended staff development meetings. Another teachers’ meeting in Deming will require a bus to transport the elementary teachers for work on the K Plus 3 program, which began in July and will carry through the rest of the school year. Its focus is reading and language skills for the younger students.
Peru reported on Bayard Elementary work, saying it was still on target to be finished by July 14 next year. He reported some vandalism, apparently by kids, that had broken windows in the gym and damaged or taken PE equipment. He thought they could use some older windows the district already had in storage, but the vandalism would cost. As part of the Bayard rework, they needed to pour concrete for the power slabs before cold weather set in; they were avoiding any work that would trigger a total roof replacement, as that was all or nothing, an expense they hoped to avoid.
Peru described the work on the Little League baseball fields that needed water; they were using gray water from the city to do that and they were daily pumping between 60,000 and 70,000 gallons from a ‘pond’ that held over 520,000 gallons to get the fields back in better shape, he said.
One board member suggested that they use their insurance on the vandalism issue, but Peru said their deductible was at such a high level there would be very little gain if they did. Also in the Public Input section, Robert Mata, a parent, asked the board to provide return bus service for the grade 8 football team practices if a bus took them there. Sepulveda said they would consider the issue.
Pat Abalos, athletic director, presented a seven-page report on numbers of high school boys and girls who had participated in the sports programs for the year 2012-2013. Abalos said the major sport at Cobre at this time was baseball, with football being the second.
The report showed that 215 males were participating in athletics while 164 females participated. Sports covered were baseball, basketball, football, softball, cheerleading, wrestling, cross country, track and field, volleyball and golf. Both males and females were enrolled in 13 teams each.
Directors were reminded of the Region VIII meeting at Reserve on Tuesday, September 24. Because of the distance, they would be leaving about 2:30 to arrive there by 5:30, and there were plans for travel made before the session ended at a little after 8:00 p.m. The next board meeting will be the second Monday in October—Oct. 14. The public meeting begins at 7 p.m.