The Cobre School Board met in the Snell Middle School lobby on Monday, February 10, 2014. The 5 p.m. meeting was at Bayard Elementary where George Peru showed them the changes being made there. At 6 p.m. they went into executive session where, according to Frank Cordova, the board vice president, they discussed student identifiable information, limited personnel and finances and auditing, but no decisions were made. The public meeting began at 7:10. Toy Sepulveda, board president, was absent for a death in the family. Fran Kelly, Robert Montoya and Frank Gomez were the other board members present in addition to Cordova.
Snell’s principal, Sharon Miller, invited those present at the board meeting to go into the gym to see the projects students had made in Cindy Lee’s science class. Small groups demonstrated their action machines, which included hand-sized battery-powered vacuums made from drinking water bottles, foam based wind-up carts that traveled by rubber bands, a simple boat propelled by “steam” air heated in tubes attached to the wooden platform, and airplanes made of balsa and paper that were slightly bent to send them out and return near the launching student, boomerang fashion.
The meeting resumed with a third reading of an amended policy on graduation requirements. The wording allowed for alternate demonstrations of competency. The board approved a new contract with Hidalgo Medical Services for a parenting class for student fathers. The funds come from a state appropriation out of PED (Public Education Department) by way of HMS. The class does not cost the district.
Two requests for use of facilities were tabled to allow the administration to consult with legal counsel. Both Evening Light Tabernacle and Meadow Creek Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses had requested use of facilities. Cordova noted that they would be on the next agenda, February 24, after more information came in.
The board approved an initial budget for Next Generation Assessments. The amount of $9755 would help with technology needs. Mendoza recommended that the board accept the funds into a new budgeting category for the project. A Title I final allocations and carryover of $99,085 was to be used for summer school enrichment and another Title III (24153) amount of $3409 was marked for accelerated reading. A Special Education entitlement of $58,081 for enrichment was approved, and another preschool amount of $16,055 for general supplies and professional development. A third special education amount of $2764 would be used for instructional supplies. It was from funds returned to the state and apportioned back to the schools.
In the superintendent’s report, Judge Maurine Laney and Cindy McClean presented information on a substance abuse program, “Life of an Athlete in New Mexico,” which could be accessed either by students at home on computer, or through the school library computers. Laney said she was aware that students had heard this information through other channels, but students as young as junior high were risking their futures on alcohol, drugs and steroids. There were two programs available, one for junior high students, the other for high school students; both were age-appropriate, said Laney.
The slant on this presentation was that students could learn how these substances had impacted the athletic opportunities of students. It offered a certificate for those who had completed the program. Laney suggested that Cobre mandate all athletes go through the information before being placed on teams, as the peer pressure was so strong on school athletes. Albuquerque had asked its athletes to present this certificate as well as proof of a physical before placement on a team. Laney said this was one more tool to be offered to prevent some of the mistakes students were making that had heavy consequences.
McClean added that although students had heard it before, many students didn’t seem aware of important facts, and that they didn’t consider that these substances could impact their own lives so completely. Laney asked board members to access this material and look it over for use at Cobre. One key element was to plan its proper use. She said some schools had used the program as a punishment after students were in trouble. It was intended for prevention before students got on the teams.
Also under the superintendent’s report, Robert Mendoza listed fund raisers. The soft ball team asked permission to raise $450 for T-shirts and additional equipment; psychology class had a goal of raising $300 to benefit the Hyde family that had lost its home by fire recently. And lastly, Mendoza said he was providing all board members with sports
schedules to all junior high and senior high games, baseball, softball, track and golf. He hoped they would spend more time at student events when they could.
The student representative, Emanuel Reynolds, said he and others had had met with Mendoza, Peru and Salas, trying to get better explanations of the new graduation policy and testing processes, as students and staff seemed confused. Reynolds said they planned another meeting which would include high school principal Frank Quarrell and high school counselor Peña.
In another item, Reynolds said recent reassessment of Cobre had moved its position up from in the 300’s to 92, and a further reassessment later this year might improve that, to place Cobre in a better position by 2014-2015.
In public input, a patron said he and his family continued to be threatened by students. He asked the board what he should do next, as he had tried everything that had been suggested. Mendoza offered to meet with him again, while assuring him that his daughter
was perfectly safe while on campus; staff continued to keep the issue in mind.
The board will meet again on February 24 at the District Office on Central Street. The two tabled requests for use of facilities will be on the next agenda, along with the high school testing schedule.
The meeting adjourned around 8:00 p.m.