By Margaret Hopper

On December 9, Cobre School Board met at the high school library, with Fran Kelly, Frank Gomez, Frank Cordova and Toy Sepulveda in attendance. Robert Montoya, the fifth member, was absent. The board had met with parents at an early 5:00 session and the closed session began at 6:05, according to Sepulveda, president, who reported that they had discussed student identifiable information, limited personnel, possible litigation and the new graduation requirements. The open meeting began at 7:30 and lasted until 8:00 p.m.

Superintendent Robert Mendoza recommended that the board approve a memo of understanding with Southwest Regional Education Cooperative. It provided that the District would purchase SREC services between December 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, for professional development and reading-coaching services to increase student achievement within the district. Provision was also made for a number of on-site coaching days. The total price of these services is not to exceed $30,625 for this period.

Mendoza said the administration had looked at other avenues for this service, too. As Jose Carrillo had written a grant application earlier that the State had funded for $36,000, this change of direction would fit into the budget, he said. The board approved the MOU.

San Lorenzo Elementary received a donation of $100 from Joe Sedillo and other mining employees, to be spent on its students as “they saw fit.” Montoya said a number of things would be appropriate, and that Tyrone, the employer, would soon be sending an equal amount when it matched the employees’ donation. The board voted to accept it and said they would be sending a letter of thanks to the donors.

Because E-Cigarettes have shown up within the District, the administration asked the board to approve a first reading that adds that category of tobacco to the existing list of banned substances. The board chose the wording offered and said it would be on the next agenda for a second reading and adoption. Mendoza said this action was necessary as there were no laws on the books to take care of this need.

In the finance section, the board reviewed the bills and checks, which amounted to $1,013,489.22 and approved them. It also approved two incoming amounts from the Public Education Department of $6885 for dual-credit instructional materials and another of $591 for New Mexico/grown fruits and vegetables for the students. A fourth item was the transfer of $10,000 from board travel to a San Lorenzo need, dependable computers for the students to use. Their old computers had not held up and something had to be done, according to one board member.

In the superintendent’s report, Mendoza asked the board to approve a memorandum of agreement with WNMU College of Education and the Cobre District that would allow Western’s student teachers to gain experience and do student teaching at Cobre. He said the necessary background checks would be paid for by the college, and the district would not need to spend for those. The board approved the MOA.

Three student groups had asked approval for their fundraisers. The 7th and 8th grade girls’ basketball team and their sponsors were selling T-shirts, with a total cost of $480, of which they would make $140 profit. The Cobre baseball team and their sponsors wanted approval for concessions stand work and receipts, and the cheerleaders and sponsors had asked for some of the concessions opportunities. The board approved them all.

Mendoza reported there would be an early release of students this Wednesday, December 11, with teachers having staff development in the afternoon. This activity will cover helping students take tests online, another requirement of Common Core. Some said that in the future, more, perhaps all, tests will be computerized and they must prepare students for it.

On Friday, December 20, students will be dismissed early, and Winter Break will officially begin on December 23, lasting through January 3, 2014. The office will close at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 20, and be open on December 26 and 27, but closed on December 30 and 31, and January 1. The central office will open again on January 2 and 3. Students will report back on Monday, January 6.

Three of Cobre’s board members, Fran Kelly, Frank Cordova and Toy Sepulveda, were given awards for exemplary service by the state school board association. Frank Cordova was entered in the SBA’s Hall of Fame for his past services.

Cordova reported on the appeals process with the state after it had moved Cobre into Class 4 A competition with schools much larger, and which local people thought put too much pressure on the kids. Cordova cited the concerns about travel to some games, which would have students coming home in early morning hours and still needing to show up for classes that same day, the large numbers of athletes some competing schools had and the few students that Cobre would have, and other issues.

Cordova said the important thing was that they didn’t want Cobre kids getting hurt and without changes, that might happen. Out of 17 signed appeals, the state had said it would not deal with individual schools. Either they all would be adjusted, or none of them. And in the end, the answer was none would be.

Cordova also said there was much confusion this year at the annual conference in Albuquerque on a number of issues about the changes coming.

Mendoza mentioned that there had been a recent meeting with the Prospectors, the lobbying group that represents various groups in Grant County at the Santa Fe meetings when the Legislature is in session.

The next board meeting will be on January 13, the second Monday. Both November and December had a single meeting because of holiday conflicts.

Live from Silver City

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