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Cobre School Board approves requests, bids, and new pilot program

By Margaret Hopper

Cobre school board met at the district office on June 23 with all five board members present. After meeting in closed session at 6:00 p.m., the public session began at 7:15. Board president Toy Sepulveda announced that they had discussed limited personnel issues, student identifiable information and a financial report, but that no decisions had been made.

Under use of facilities, the Infant Jesus Catholic Shrine requested the use of the high school cafeteria to make enchiladas on June 27. Permission was granted. The other requests were for use of San Lorenzo facilities for the 9th Annual Harvest Festival, to be held on Saturday, October 11. They were granted, also.

The board received copies of the Elementary Student Handbook for 2014-2015, and the High School Parents' and Students' Handbook, 2014-2015. They were approved with the option of being amended as needed. The Athletic Activities Handbook and Codes was also approved, also with the option of being amended as needed. The board presented its 2014-2015 meeting schedule, which covered the period of July 14, 2014, to June 22, 2015 and approved that.

Only one bid was received for the student milk contract for this next school year. Price's Dairy requested .2485 for low fat milk half pints; .2385 for skim milk, and .2500 for whole milk. The board awarded Price the contract. Transportation contracts for Montoya Transportation, $133,351, and Porter Transportation, $479,481, were approved. A new activities bus, seating 44 and long awaited by the District, is scheduled to be delivered in five months; a much longer wait than Cobre hoped, but certainly a welcome addition. The price of the new bus is reported to be $60,000.

Other applications for revenues the board approved included amounts for Titles I, II and III. For Title I, $499,422 was requested; for Title II, $61,954; for Title III, $11,300.63. The Bilingual Fund application, which is determined by formula, is expected to be about $750,000; this amount breaks into differing amounts to be given to each of the district's schools by need. In the Review of Bills, an amount of $1,018,374.55 was approved for the month of May.

In the Superintendent's Report, Robert Mendoza read a letter reviewing Hidalgo Medical Services activities on the Cobre campuses for the past year. From July 13, 2013 to June 14, 2014, HMS reported serving 368 clients. Another community service, an Alzheimer's activity, A Spark of Light, reported on its use of the Cobre high school track where a pre-approved walk around the track was taken on June 20 and 21 in the after-midnight hours.

Mendoza said all superintendents are scheduled to meet with Public Education Department's Hanna Scandera on June 30 in Albuquerque. On Wednesday, June 25,
interviews are scheduled for all day to replace Sharon Miller, former principal of Bayard Elementary, who came back to help the district for another two and a half years at Snell Middle School.

The summer school program, K-3Plus, is scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 1. Joyce Barela, principal of Bayard Elementary who heads the program, reported that 203 primary students and another 52 students in grades 4-5-6 were signed up to attend.

In addition to the Juvenile Probation Office tutoring and other services offered to students on the program, another project is being tried at Cobre shortly. Freida Gonzales, program director, and Margaret Begay, adult drug court program manager for the Sixth Judicial Court, came to inform the district of a program being used in Aztec, New Mexico over the past ten years which seems to be getting results. This particular project is called
Grade Court and it aims at avoiding suspensions and expulsions.

Essentially there are two nine-week periods during which selected students will meet weekly with a sitting district judge in addition to the usual tutoring. On target behavior is rewarded; negative results carry consequences, such as early curfew or tracking bracelets.
The plan to be used at Cobre is a pilot model for other areas of the state, all based on the experiences gained in Aztec. A more formal presentation is planned for school administrators on July 17. School administrators will have the option of referring students they think could benefit from the program.

Many months ago students asked about a ROTC (Reserve Officers Training) program for Cobre high school. At the time, a number of ROTC officers and their commander from Deming attended a board meeting. The application was made. Latest word just received suggests that such a program depends on student body numbers, and Cobre may not be getting the program this year. Recent cuts for the military at all levels may be affecting the outcome.

The packed agenda meeting was finished by 8:02. The first board meeting of the new school year will be held on July 14 at the District Office on Central Street, just north of the Bayard Post Office.

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