The newly elected board of Cobre Schools met at 7:20 Monday night in the Snell Junior High lobby. Frank Cordova, president of the board, said they had met in closed session at 6:03 p.m. to discuss hiring, student identifiable information, limited personnel issues and possible litigation. No decisions had been made, and all members were in attendance.
While waiting for Judge Hector Grijalva to arrive for the swearing in of the new and incumbent board members, Joyce Barela’s bilingual teacher, Marcella Shepard, started the demonstration of the program being used, Rosetta Stone. This computerized language teaching tool presents and evaluates a student’s listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, scores the results, and helps the instructor set the re-teaching or passing levels for the students involved.
Barela, principal of Bayard Elementary, said that many languages are possible to be taught with the program, but at Cobre nearly all the work is in Spanish as a second language. The exception is a child who came from Spain and is learning English. The children who helped with the demonstration were Alex Albers, Marissa Grijalva, Gabriel Sedillo and Jose Ruiz, Bayard Elementary students in grades 4, 5 and 6.
The new board member sworn in by Grijalva was Robert Montoya. The two incumbents returning to the board were Frances Kelly and Frank Gomez. After the swearing-in, Cordova announced the reorganization of the board and the results were that Toy Sepulveda was voted as president, Frank Cordova, vice president, and Kelly retained her position as board secretary. Cordova passed the gavel to Sepulveda and the meeting continued.
The interim superintendent, George Peru, gave his report outlining recent work in the system. The erosion control work at the high school has cost the district $22,129.15. The total cost was over $36,751 but part of it, $14,622, was picked up by the New Mexico Department of Transportation. In the past, much of the eroding dirt was found to be clogging drains for the city of Bayard, affecting its water department, he said.
Peru mentioned that much work needed to be done at the high school but the loss of position, from 76th to 362nd statewide, made a big difference in the match the district could have realized from the Public School Financing Authority, and many projects will have to wait until financing becomes more available. Because of this repositioning, the district would do work little by little and save major projects until it had more money of its own to put in and hope for a better job when the match would be better.
Peru said the present high school was built in 1953 and still had the original gym floors. Preventative maintenance made this possible but many changes needed to be made. The passing of the mill levy issue in February made it so work could continue at the high school. Some other schools in the district had enough position rankings within the state that the financing for their improvements had been at a more favorable rate. Central Elementary was finished this past year, Snell had been upgraded before that, and Bayard Elementary was still in the process of being renovated.
Earlier, Peru had offered to send the board to the Region VIII meeting at Animas in the district’s ’78 Chevy, bringing smiles across the room. The board decided to leave at 3:00 p.m. on March 26 and make the trip together. In a more official action, it voted to approve the mill levy results of the recent election, as the levy did pass.
Peru said in his report that collective bargaining work was proceeding, and that the state- recommended heating and cooling units were harder for some districts to maintain than others. He noted that in the Cobre district, part of the drilling was through granite, and that could be costly.
There were three systems supplying the district presently and there were a number of wells involved in this. These units didn’t work as well in heavy rock areas. When they didn’t work right, a system failed. It could be out of order for from one to three weeks. One solution might be to develop help closer to home, as waiting for outside help from vendors was slow. Perhaps there were better solutions. The system at the high school had the most problems, he said.
Because so many of the high school needs stemmed from so little being changed from its original building 60 years ago, Peru said the passing of the mill levy in February would be where its improvements would come from.
Hampton Burnette, student representative to the school board, reported that NSTA testing had begun and would run through April 6. At St. Michael’s the Cobre baseball team had lost, but the softball team won. At the Cobre track invitational, the Cobre boys had taken first place, and the girls took second.
Looking at agenda items for the next board meeting on March 25, Kelly and others noted that the 2013-2014 school calendar would need to be approved. The meeting adjourned at 8:05.