Silver school board president Trent Petty called the January 17 meeting to order at 5:05 p.m. Retiring board members Charlotte McGaughey, Pete Holguin and Barry Remmel were thanked for past services and candidates for their positions, Chris Arvidson, Tony Egan, Arnold Torres and Margaret Hopper were on hand to learn more about the work of the board before the February 5 elections.
Jayne Ash of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, explained that program to the board and asked that Silver schools support the program and the students in it during school hours, telling how the relationships would work. At her conclusion, Superintendent Lon Streib said she might offer a memo of understanding to the board for further action.
Assistant Superintendent Trish Martinez outlined the new SchoolReach communications program soon to be tried. For a $5500 setup fee, and no monthly payments, Martinez said the system would contact district parents simultaneously on both routine and emergency situations, with redials of those not yet reached at intervals of 15 and 30 minutes later.
She said developing the database of phone numbers would take time and have to be tested, but the system should make some parental contacts automatic and much easier. Each school could alert its parents of upcoming events, fund raisers, special meetings and notices, while the district could cover all schools with a single announcement, too. Assistant superintendent Gus Benakis said he couldn’t wait for it to start, as it would help his transportation assignments greatly with bad-weather closings and 2-hour delays.
In the past the board met at 5:00 p.m. with general information/workshop materials, and went into closed session by 6:00 p.m. The action items and major reports followed in the 7:00 p.m. public presentation. Attempting to reduce the long hours, the board approved going from the work session into the public session at 6:00 instead of 7:00 p.m. The closed session, if needed, will come after the public session ends.
Principal Koury of Jose Barrios gave the board a detailed report on early test scores and the 40 days later retest, showing how the school earned its B Grade from the state. While the highest and lowest performing students didn’t make improvements the state wanted, the school made points in other areas, such as opportunity to learn, goals met and general improvements overall.
Police Chief Ed Reynolds, Captain Villalobos and County Emergency Manager Gilbert Helton were on hand to inform the board of assessments they had made of the district’s plans for security and student safety. Each reported on materials submitted to them and made suggestions for improving some areas. Benakis explained some history on the development of these materials and the work now being done to improve what appeared to be weaker areas.
Deborah Eggleston asked about the law enforcement that would be sent to Cliff in an emergency. Reynolds noted that the sheriff’s office would be Cliff’s support. In the citizen’s inquiry period later, Mariquelle Laney, a parent, said statistics showed that law enforcement usually showed up after a violent episode was over. She asked for training for more teachers, citing NRA’s free training and work being done in Colorado, Texas and Utah, and the possibilities of martial arts classes. As she concluded, Streib invited her to come in to see him and get her ideas down in writing.
Also in the citizen’s inquiry period, Ciro Chairez, a parent, asked the board to consider counseling time for victims of bullying and other traumas, saying it could prevent either suicide attempts or retaliations on the part of those damaged. Benakis agreed it could help, but said, in far too many cases, victims wouldn’t speak up for long periods of time after the event, and by then little or nothing could be done for them.
The board approved a list of budget adjustments, the financial report and a total of checks written in the amount of $1,521,527.39. Barry Remmel said he and Holguin had looked over the report and found nothing out of the ordinary, and suggested the board approve it. Although Candy Milam had been out for family emergencies for nearly two weeks, she had been in phone contact during this time and finances appeared to be in good shape.
The budget adjustments showed $71,179 for Title I, $1000 for education of the homeless, and $18,261 for teacher/principal training and recruitment. Another $8,105 was for rural and low-income schooling. A matching donation came from Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. of $510, a donation of $500 for Science Olympiad from Lindley from the Society of Engineering, $1500 for Science Olympiad from Sherwood, $496 for physical education from Mrs. Richards of Silver High and another $500 from Mrs. Nye, also Silver High, for the science department.
Trent Petty reviewed some topics facing new board members after the elections. The board goals included working on the Vo Tech situation now under study, and the cooperative work being done with WNMU and Cobre Schools to get it started. Individual student learning plans were not finished. Additionally, the state was asking for a 5-year strategic plan in more detail. This would need the input of the district’s principals and administrators, as well as board members. The review of the superintendent’s work could be delayed a few months, but needed to be done before the school year ended.
After the board elections on February 5, the new board would go to Santa Fe for training on February 22 and 23. Their expenses would be paid, but it was important that they go. Streib said he would go along, too, as he needed the same information. The new board members would be sworn in in March.
The board approved a temporary boundary agreement allowing children once home-schooled to attend Reserve Independent Schools, as they were closer to there. It also approved a resolution of support for a Grant County grant application for Juvenile Justice
in support of providing services to Children, Youth and Family Services.
The board left after 7:30 to meet in closed session, and dismissed the meeting for those who wanted to leave at that time. The February board meeting will be the third Thursday as usual and community people are urged to attend