Photos and article by Margaret Hopper
At right, Gabriel Holguin and Gilbert Guadiana are new Cobre School Board members.
Cobre’s school board met at Snell Middle School March 13, 2017. All members were present. They returned from the closed session which began at 6:00 and opened the public portion at 7:48 p.m.
The first action was to vote to retain the chairman, Toy Sepulveda, and the vice chair, Frank Cordova; the next vote was to select a board secretary, Frank Gomez, to replace Fran Kelly, whose term had expired.
Pat Abalos, principal of Snell, spoke about the recent testing for science, and said PARCC tests would start in April. Then he introduced Hannah Wecks, Librarian, who updated the board on a grant last fall, Keep New Mexico Beautiful, which gave Snell $2400 to spend on native, low-water plants. Her photos to all board members showed the planted areas ready to sprout with the next rains in selected areas around the middle school.
At left, Cobre science students talk about the newly acquired 3-D printer.
Cindy Lee told how she wrote a grant for a 3-D printer and the results she and the students had with it. The grant money paid for the printer and materials to use. The designed object, of plastic, builds layer by layer to produce the forms. Considering a “cookie cutter,” Lee said they might come up with a student-prep meal. To build skills, she said if the students want to use the printer, they have to write a proposal first. Some of the projects take many hours to print.
Two representatives, Cari Lemon and Michele Geise, presented the Healthy Kids, Healthy Community update for Alicia Edwards, who was there but had to leave early. It was 8:15 by this time, and the real meeting had not yet started. They explained that the program was teaming up with the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC). There is a policy, a drop-off site and there are deadlines for work PED would like to be done.
Additional ideas would be written in somewhat later. The big target is to have all drafts completed and approved in the May board meetings of area schools. April’s work is important. While the state mandate is firm, there is a “little wiggle-room” for local ideas; it’s not a dictatorship, Lemon said.
Sepulveda questioned the goals and asked for more information. Lemon said it would coordinate activities with groups for cleaning streams, trails, ecology efforts in the area. The plan, the goals, are rather new. Some have been in place for just a few years.
Under use of facilities, Evening Light Tabernacle has requested the use of the Performing Arts Center during July 14-15-16. Robert Mendoza, superintendent said they had used it before and recommended approval.
The second request was for the use of high school cafeteria facilities by Vietnam Veterans Chapter 358 as a fundraiser to help with health expenses of members of the Holguin family who recently suffered injuries in an out-of-state traffic accident. Armando Amador was on hand to give the details. This event would be on March 18. Both requests were approved.
Two budget adjustment requests (BARs) were prepared for the board’s approval and would be sent to PED for the budget adjustments. One was a budget reduction of $38,474 for the failure of some students to attend a training program in the past; 80 expected, 74 attended. On the second, Title III would receive an additional $4,394 for after-school English language instruction. Both were approved.
Frank Cordova explained the School Board Association’s scholarship program that allowed each region one $1000 scholarship from its region, to be spent as needed, where needed. He listed the districts and how it worked, saying the deadline for applications was April 28. Applications are on the website. He suggested some ideas that might make it more fair to all students and schools. It will be awarded in June.
Mendoza gave the board a report on services Cobre students had received from Hidalgo Medical Services in the past half year, saying it was a considerable amount of care; he also reported a fundraiser kids at Central had requested; they would do candy sales for that. The board received activity calendars to look over for 2017-2018.
He said Region VIII would meet in Reserve on April 10. Discussion followed. A number of conflicts were seen, affecting both local and Region VIII. In the end, Region VIII would keep the April 10 meeting and Cobre would have only one March meeting, this one tonight, and one on April 24, for that month, as Spring Break prevented the first April meeting. Another meeting would be rescheduled, too, but it would all work out.
In the student representative’s report, Hannah Burnette said they had talked about the 4-day calendar next year and how grateful they were that the board had approved it.
A parent/substitute teacher had some questions about needs; Mendoza told her to drop by his office for discussions. George Peru spoke of a need for the oldest scoreboard in the district; it quit working, parts were not available, those processors were outdated. Someone gave him a Tennessee address for someone who might help. It appears that the processor can be shipped there and replaced for now, for a $500 expense, but in the future, a new scoreboard will be needed. The parts are not generally in stock.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45. Next meeting is April 24 at the board office.