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Cobre School Board Approves 2014-2015 Calendar and Budget Items

by Margaret Hopper

Cobre school board met March 24, 2014, at the District Office in Bayard. Board members present were Fran Kelly, Robert Montoya, Frank Cordova and Toy Sepulveda. Frank Gomez was absent. The closed meeting began at 6:30, according to Sepulveda, where they discussed student identifiable issues, limited personnel, financial issues, and reviewed policies. The open meeting began about 7:25 p.m.

Unfinished business involved the adoption of the 2014-2015 school calendar. The original work created two calendars, labled A and B, which offered variations on the test dates and spring break issues. Superintendent Robert Mendoza asked the board to adopt Calendar A as having better testing plans. The board approved that one.

Hector Carrillo, leader of Copper Little League, asked the board for use of the baseball fields and reminded the board of its tournament success in the past. In the discussion time, Sepulveda cautioned that all sports events be more conservative of the lighting systems, saying he could recall times when only a couple of cars remained, long after the event, but lights were still on, burning unnecessarily. The board approved the League request.

Superintendent Mendoza recommended that the board approve the check register for the month of February as presented, which it did. The largest category of expenses, the operational fund, included teachers’ salaries, office supplies, parts, repairs and services for vehicles, utilities, etc. for $985,555.98 in expenses. Checks for the athletic fund were $28,613.37, with food being the major entries. Another athletics' account, for referees, food away from home, and similar items, totaled $14,765.57. Food service payments, including salaries for workers, amounted to $123,581.22. The bond building fund, mainly expenses for the Bayard Elementary work, spent $103,251.90 for consulting, architects, environmental services, and Tatsch Construction, for the month of February. Special Revenue Funds included payments for transportation, checks to individuals, to food service establishments and newspapers for notices. These funds totaled $171,110.03.

Mendoza recommended the board approve a transportation budget increase for the payment of three new buses, two large and one medium-sized, at $19,000 each. The $57,000 comes from the transportation allotment for student buses. The board approved.

Under the Superintendent’s Report, Mendoza introduced Ray Macon, Truant Officer, who explained the need for the authorization of his notary credentials to enforce the ‘contracts’ with parents for students’ academic improvements on the program. Macon said many parents took the agreements very lightly and without the notary authority the agreements were hard to enforce. With that difference, he would follow up and take steps to get the needed cooperation, with court action if necessary. While this did not require action from the board, Macon informed the board, and Mendoza said this would be taken care of administratively.

A second matter was the possibility of adding a Pre-K room and teacher to San Lorenzo. Mendoza said there seemed to be enough numbers to warrant this, as they had identified ten or eleven children who could use these services. The program would be studied and a plan would be put together with this in mind. This would be a 5-day a week program.

Mendoza informed the board of a recruitment effort on the part of WNMU and UTEP to locate new teachers with Job Fairs in Las Cruces and El Paso. Cobre will participate and reserve a table at these events. He reminded the board that April 9 was a staff development day, and that Spring Break would be from April 14 to 21. A budget workshop in Albuquerque would be held from March 26 through March 28. The National School Board Association would host its convention in New Orleans this year, from April 4 to April 8. Both Frank Cordova and Toy Sepulveda plan to attend. Deming would host the Region VIII meeting Tuesday, tomorrow.

Emanuel Reynolds, student representative to the board, said students appreciated the changes being made in the cafeteria and several students had expressed their thanks to the staff. There were now more choices on the foods being served, the quality was better, and the portions were larger for students who needed more to eat.

Regarding the recent testing of high school students, the schedule this year had worked smoothly and students were hoping those improvements could be kept in future years. Reynolds’ third item was that the high school prom had been moved from April 12 to Saturday, May 3.

During Public Input, assistant superintendent Carrillo discussed the testing schedules and changes that still needed to be made. He noted that some students had trouble writing their answers directly to computer, but said some of this could be helped by writing the solutions on scratch paper first, then transferring this to the computer later, as at present, there were no time issues. However, that could change in a year or so, and students must be brought up to standard in computer usage or their test results would be affected.

Cordova mentioned two sources of scholarships that he hoped Cobre students could take advantage of. One was the School Board Association’s scholarship, one per district or region. Cordova said he had hoped the board could stay informed on the SBA scholarship, but the applications were going to another source. The other was a national Hispanic scholarship, and he asked if others had any information on these, as the applications were due shortly.

The meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m. The April 14 board meeting has been cancelled. The next scheduled meeting is for April 28 at the Administrative Office. The open session usually begins at 7:00 p.m.

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