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Cobre School Board members get to play "student"

The Cobre school board met at Snell Middle School on January 13. Board president Toy Sepulveda said the board had met in closed session at 6:00 p.m. to discuss student identifiable information, limited personnel, pending litigation, and the superintendent’s evaluation and possible contract items, but no decisions had been made. The open portion of the meeting began about 7:12 p.m. Sepulveda noted that all five board members were present.

While Bayard Elementary is being reworked, its students are housed in Snell, and students from Carmen Gutierrez’s split first/second grade classroom presented math conclusions using the board members as students. The board enjoyed being "students" again and counted their color tiles carefully for the student leaders who then put a number of statements out for review.

Under Administration, the board approved a first reading to amend graduation requirement,which outlined an alternate demonstration of competency for policy # 316, labeled #316-1. A second reading was given for including electronic cigarettes in the existing student policy. That, too, was approved and will go on to the third reading at the next meeting.

Superintendent Robert Mendoza recommended that the board enter a contract with Vickie Smith, educational consultant, to upgrade the consolidated school policy handbook. Mendoza said the effort would be lengthy, possibly going into the early months of the 2014-2015 school year, but it was important that the work be completed, and he had broken the project into three phases. The total estimated contract amount was $6250 for all three phases. The board approved the recommendation.  

Under use of facilities, the board approved the use of Central Elementary School’s gym for the No Regrets Youth Basketball program, giving the group two places to work out. Two outside donations were offered. One was from the Town and Country Garden Club, for $1000. The second was from the NEA Foundation, for $650. Cheryl Holland said the second one was from California Casualty, associated with the teachers’ union. Both had been checked for Title IX compliance and the board accepted them for Chuck Gearhart’s band program.

In the superintendent’s report, a number of student groups applied for fundraising approvals. Cobre cheerleaders made plans to raise funds for state competitions, Snell’s 7th grade class wanted money for their year-end trip, Hurley students asked for consideration, and the student council proposed a Sadie Hawkins Day Dance and other

events for their money makers. The board approved them.

Mendoza said the elementary schools had presented their calendars with listings of events and activities for the month.

Back in October, the school board members had attended the fall meetings in Albuquerque, and all five had received an additional two hours credits.

At this January meeting, all board members were given the current budget for study, with the superintendent noting that this was the operational portion. He asked them to call either him or Frank Ryan for further discussion/explanations on the project.

In the student representative’s report, Emanual Reynolds outlined a number of student requests, saying that many students had asked for these considerations or adjustments. Among them were possible menu changes for the cafeteria, some questions about the progress of the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training) and whether it would be in operation by next year. Students had also asked for a half-day’s early release before major breaks, such as the spring break or semester break.

Regarding a possible four-day school week, such as Cliff has, Reynolds said they were willing to discuss extending instruction in the week, (Monday-through-Thursday) for the privilege. In a later discussion with Frank Quarrell, high school principal, he said anything like this would be a lengthy process involving not only students and staff, but community and parents, as such a change took a lot of preparation.

Reynolds said students had asked for a dance on January 24, 2014, the Sadie Hawkins or formal Winter Ball. Again, they thought using the DWI Task Force and its Breathalyzer® before admitting students and again before the students left, would assure a safe, drug/alcohol free evening. Signed parental permission for the Breathalyzer® is also required for attendees. The dance is scheduled from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight.

In the public input portion, Joyce Barela, principal of Bayard Elementary, said she and others were in the process of choosing colors for the carpets, walls and tile work for the remodeling being done.

Looking ahead to the next board meeting, Mendoza asked that they meet earlier, starting at 5:00 p.m., as there was a heavier schedule. Some additional work included board members’ self-evaluations, the superintendent’s evaluation and some discussion of the next contract for the superintendent. Of course, no decisions could be made at the work session. The readings for policy changes will also be on the next agenda.

The meeting adjourned a little before 8:00 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled to be held back at the District Office in Bayard, just north of the Post Office, on January 27. 

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