By Margaret Hopper

The Silver Schools Board met August 21 at the Administrative Offices Building with a new member, Mike McMillan, seated at his first meeting. Other members present were Arnold Torres and Board President Trent Petty. Tony Egan was patched in by telephone during the second, more active session which began at 6:01 pm. Chris Arvidson was expected to come, but was not present by the end of that second session.

The work session began about 5:05 pm with information from Bianca Padilla and Tim Madrid of the Truancy Model and JPO programs. Padilla said her concern was more of cooperation with the schools, grades and attendance and tutoring, whereas Madrid's area was parental and home visits, contracts with the parents to improve with children's needs, and law enforcement measures. Pedilla stressed the absolute necessity of better skills at younger ages for children to succeed.

Superintendent Lon Streib gave the board information on the student enrollment number of 2903, which he said was down 88 from last year and which would remove about $600,000 from the present budget figures.



Other parts of Streib's report included improvement efforts over the summer and free breakfasts and lunches for all the elementary schools. He noted that Cliff, Silver High and La Plata Middle Schools did not have the free meals. The Back Pack program continued for supplying children weekend food, as volunteers continued to work with that, and he hoped children would return on Monday not hungry.

Beth Lougee, high school principal, told of improvements in the football locker room, recent painting and cleaning of storage rooms and classrooms, especially those where room assignments had been changed to put departments together for better communications. All but five rooms had been changed to make this plan possible. She credited help from JPO students to get this much done, as well as help with landscaping.

Instead of the former concessions area, a space had been converted to a salad bar setting with tables moved in where students could sit, said Lougee. They had eating "standing up" prevously. Provision was also made for students to buy some basic classroom necessities in another area while on campus.

Gus Benakis reported on work with the sheriff's department yesterday and city police earlier today regarding Active Shooter training, which was designed to keep students safer. Maps had been upgraded and the processes for intervention improved.

Trish Martinez finished out Streib's report with comments on the K-3Plus work over the summer which had 75 students for five weeks of additional work to boost elementary scores in reading and math. She and Gus Benakis had headed the project, and according to Martinez, they saw academic improvement in the students attending.

Candy Milam added that testing was being done in the first three weeks of school for better assessment of students for comparisons later. That was not possible last year, as the state permission came later. This early testing would give a truer picture of where kids were in their academic work

The first session adjourned at 5:45 pm, allowing a 15 minute break before the second session began. Petty called for the Public Comments when it reopened. Sharon Bookwalter told the board there was a difference between discussing issues and taking action on them. She said that state law did allow the board to discuss these things.

Dick Pool brought up the rumors that the budget was "in the hole." He said he had left the district with over a million dollars in reserves, and the board was to "let us know where the budget is in September." With the loss of 89 students, that could amount to serious deficits, and the district might be in serious trouble.

Frances Vasquez outlined what she considered careless spending, as the board had attended meetings, perhaps too many. "The budget is not a slush fund or a cash cow," she said. Fred Baca of LULAC told of his interests in education and said his tax monies were for students, not board retreats or big TVs, like at Stout.

Amanda Rottman accused Streib of cutting a program with a budget of $180,000 that she and others had implemented for student benefit; and she called activities of Streib's wife nepotism. Linda Pafford spoke of tantrums, bullying, costs of outside attorneys, rumors of "shortfalls" and said these problems were not the choice of those accusing Petty or his administrative friends. She demanded that the board fix the problems or get out of the way.

Art Martinez said he was "impressed, inspired" by those accusing the board; it was obligated to listen with respect, to allow the time for comment, and to follow up. He exceeded his three minutes but continued to speak of lost faith and trust, and possible legal action. At the end of his words, Petty said the public time was ended and the board returned to its agenda.

Retiring Union Representative Justin Wecks of Silver City Education Association said that he, Wayne Sherwood and Leslie Fritz had met with Petty, Egan, Streib and Ramon Vigil, attorney, earlier that day. He felt progress had been made and trust could be rebuilt. New union co-representatives were Hannah Wecks and Wayne Sherwood for the year.

Streib responded that they needed to meet again as soon as possible in September, perhaps the 4th. Grievances could be handled and other problems addressed.

Action items included Milam's request for approval of checks in the amount of $1,771,195.96. Her deposits were $3,047,971.03. There were no bids. Benakis asked for approval of his bus drivers. The board approved these requests. Also approved were the boundary agreements between Animas and Lordsburg, the Asbestos Management Plan Notification, and the readings on policy advisories: 108, student immunizations; 109, reporting child abuse/child protection; 110, family life education; 111, graduation requirements.

The board voted to go into closed session to discuss the topics which included limited personnel matters regarding employee grievances. Adjournment was to follow at the end of the closed session.


Live from Silver City

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

The Grant County Beat endeavors to post to the Elections page, under News, at the least, notices of candidates for Grant County races. Some candidates for statewide races have also sent their notices. 

The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers!  


All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Note: This is another component that is in progress of going to a different software to make it easier for you to use and find classifieds that interest you. Check Out Classifieds. And look at Sponsors to see who is helping the Beat.

It's really easy to check to see if there's a classified ad. Just click on Classifieds in the blue menu and the page will open letting you know if there is a classified ad. Remember that your buying classified ads gives you a wide readership, as well as supporting the Beat. Post YOURS for quick results!

Note that if an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

When you click on the blue and orange button on the upper left side of most pages, you will find out how you can help the Beat defray its expenses, which, with increased readership, continue to grow. You will arrive at a page that gives you options of how you can Help the Beat. All help is greatly appreciated and keeps the news you want and need coming into your browser.

Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com