The Cobre school board came out of closed session saying it had discussed student identifiable information, limited personnel issues and possible litigation in the 6:00 p.m. session. The open session was called to order at 7:15 with all members attending.
Joyce Barela, principal of Bayard Elementary and Daena Davis, principal of Central Elementary, presented the board members with copies of the grant proposal they were sending to PED (the New Mexico Public Education Department) requesting funds for the district’s K-3 Plus program. The requested amount was $453,875.67 for an extra 25 days of instruction beginning July 1. Data collection would begin in July but continue for the rest of the year, to prove the improvement or lack of it for the program.
Students would come from 8:30 to 2:45 and some time would be allowed for teacher preparation at the end of the day. The students assigned to the teachers would continue throughout the year; no changes would be made when the regular year began. In theory, this was considered to be time gained in the student/teacher relationships which would be lost if assignment changes were made at a later date.
Funds, if granted, would support transportation, staffing, supplies and other instructional needs of these children. Toy Sepulveda asked what the days of attendance amounted to, in the event some children missed part of the 25 day period. Davis said the minimum countable attendance was ten days. Students could come even if they didn’t meet that number, and the district would simply ‘carry’ them. Both principals said research indicates the children will benefit from the extra 25-day instruction period.
Interim Superintendent George Peru asked the board to approve some budget increases and the month’s bills. The Title II increase amounted to $46,141.25; The Dual Credit Instructional Materials increase was $701.00 and the Special Capital Outlay added $14,622 to that account. According to Peru, these amounts were returns from last year’s budget added to the present one.
Some expenses in the review of bills included $64,429.25 to pay food service vendors, special revenue funds, $177.462.55 for travel and utilities, $19,336.04 from the athletic fund for lodging of athletes, $1844.24 for food, $180,963.41 from mill levy money for repairs, and $1,017,884.58 for substitutes and teachers from the operational fund. Both budget increases and the bills totals were approved.
In the superintendent’s report, Peru said work with Steelworkers Union and CEA (Cobre Education Association) and their contracts were ongoing. He reported the testing to be going very well. Students appeared to take the tests very seriously this year, getting enough sleep at nights and eating breakfasts before starting the testing.
In the student representative report, Hampton Burnette said the boys’ baseball team had been in the Santa Fe tournament, and the softball team had lost to Silver. Last week Cobre had one state qualifier on the track team. Over all, 48 percent of the high school students had made the honor roll, and the Socorro team had cancelled its appearance due to testing schedules. In the four-hour power outage, high school had functioned normally.
In the citizen’s input period, high school principal Johnny Benavidez said he would watch the scheduling more carefully next year to be sure that there were fewer conflicts with the testing schedule. He remarked that 70 to 75 percent of the high school seniors were now making the honor roll on a regular basis. Peru commented that many schools were being more careful to avoid events during the testing period. These tests were critical to the students’ futures and every effort must be made to see that nothing interfered.
Central Elementary principal Davis thanked the high school students who had visited the grade school classes building respect for the tests, saying she thought this effort on the part of the Cobre Restoration group had made quite an impact on the younger students, and that as a result, only three make-ups had been needed. School attendance was great.
Benavidez remarked on the improvement resulting from the work done on the parking lot recently. The drainage control had made a great difference and he had received comments from a number of persons who also appreciated the work. Peru responded that the contractor, Sierra Valley Excavations of T or C, had offered additional work at a very good price, and they had taken that option to add another 1400 square feet to the project.
The bid price was $36,751.15.
As a result, the finishing of the fencing is delayed until more funds come available. The old heavy-duty fence and poles will be reused. After the meeting, Peru said these funds will probably come out of the mill levy. Another $3000 or $4000 would finish the work, and it is expected to be done in a month or so.
Cordova reminded the board that they would be going to the New Mexico School Board Association meeting at Animas the next day. He mentioned that Jose Carrillo, assistant principal, had finished his doctoral work last week, and he congratulated Carrillo.
The next board meeting scheduled for Monday, April 8, would be moved to Tuesday, April 9. The location would be San Lorenzo. School calendars would be a topic and some of the plans would depend on whether grant applications were funded. The board adjourned at 7:50 p.m.