By Margaret Hopper

The July 23 session of the Cobre school board was called to order by president Frank Cordova at 7:05 p.m. As Ralph Sepulveda was available by phone and the other four members were physically present, Cordova declared all members present. Cordova said the board had discussed limited personnel, hiring and budget.

The Accountability Report that was not included last meeting was discussed by assistant superintendent Carrillo and state Sen. Howie Morales. Attendees were given handouts of the state's grading for all six schools in the district and Morales presented slides to show points he considered relevant about the nature of the new A-F grading system.

Both Morales and Carrillo said there were deficiencies in the new system and Carrillo said all the state scorings were being appealed. Morales said he wanted to know if the model was accurate and consistent. He learned that the formula used in January was not the formula used in the July assessments. They changed, making it hard to compare facts. He mentioned that students must be 95 percent there on the test days or there would be an automatic drop of grade, and that schools were expected to make gains annually.

Louis Baum asked if there were significant drops because of funding more for succeeding schools over non-succeeding. Morales said there didn’t appear to be ties to achievement. He also said it would be useless to rush about changing present ways of teaching before the changes were finished in the implementation of the new regulations.

Traci Burnsed of Council of Governments and Tiffany Knauf of Grant County Health
Council outlined plans for a ‘walking school bus’ with trained, certified adult ‘drivers’ who would gather walking students door to door and deliver them to schools. Burnsed mentioned finances from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and benefits that could be expected if Cobre chose to use their services and planning. Some funding might come through Council of Governments, she said. After asking Cobre to partner with them, Peru said the district would get back to them.  

Interim superintendent George Peru asked the board to approve the current student hand book, saying parents had been included in discussing this one, but very few changes had been made, and it was similar to those approved in the past. The board passed it.

Under Transportation Contracts, Peru asked that the board approve one with Montoya for $125,338, to be paid over eleven months at $10,444.84 per month, and another with Porter for $502,754, to be paid over eleven months at $41,896.17 monthly. He said this Porter was not part of Porter Oil Company. They were entirely different people. The contracts for school bus service were approved unanimously.

Frank Cordova, Ralph Sepulveda and Freddie Rodriguez spoke of attending the recent board training conference held in Taos. Cordova mentioned instruction on such topics as superintendent relations, media responses and regional board benefits. Sepulveda spoke of confidentiality in closed meetings. All agreed that the information was good. Fran Kelley asked if she could read the information Cordova brought back, as she was unable to go.

The contract for the district superintendent, which will continue with Peru as interim superintendent, runs from 7-01-2012 to 6-30-2013. It offered 20 days of leave for the year, 17.33 working days of sick leave, and a salary of $115,000. Kelly asked if the benefits were comparable to those offered by other districts of this size; Cordova said they were. The vote to approve the contract was unanimous.

For Superintendent’s Report, Peru mentioned the move of Central’s children from Snell back to Central, a delay from mid- to late-August, and the move of Bayard students to Snell in December, while that school was being worked on, also delayed for finances to be received later than hoped.
Before Public Input, Cordova reminded speakers to avoid names in this period, as there could be consequences if they were used. Johnny Benavidez talked about the painting of the high school and the need for close inspection and having plans in place. Cordova recalled that a few meetings back, a lady from Mimbres said the FCCLA kitchen was in need of much cleaning and some repairs; he was glad that had been addressed.

Peru commented that any bonding needed for work on the high school would have to wait until about 2019 or 2020. Until then, a lot of the work would be through SBI monies, and there would be a lot of patchwork. Plumbing, concrete work and outside painting would wait for next year. The plumbing dated back to 1953, when the high school was built.

Cordova mentioned a graduating student who hadn’t received a diploma. The girl was trying to enter UNM and couldn’t without it. That must be issued soon.

Coming up on the next agenda was the retreat on August 3 and 4, before school starts. Peru said Paula Donnelly would present that. The board adjourned at 8:15.

After the meeting, Peru showed papers to the Grant County Beat reporter who had requested them, stating that calls had been made to Chief’s Painting and New Mexico Professional Painters for the high school paint job. Notes said Chief stated it would be unable to provide a bid, due to its heavy workload and the available time frame to finish before the school year began. NM Professional Painters provided a bid and a guarantee that the job would be completed before school started.

The NMPP bid was for $24,100. Chief’s did not submit a bid, according to the report.

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