A smiling, relaxed Dick Pool attended his last Silver District school board meeting on Thursday, September 20, 2012. The 5:00 p.m. work session was nearly finished in a half hour and the board voted to go into closed session shortly after. When the regular session opened at 7:00 p.m., it was also a short session, ending at 7:25. In the closed session the board discussed possible litigation and the superintendency.
Pool gave board members the current enrollment figures, an average of student attendance on days 80 and 120. He said numbers were down from last year's 3059, with 3028, a reduction of 31 students. He noted at other schools in the district and at Cobre, all showed lower enrollments than last year.
State Senator Howie Morales was named on the agenda but he was in Gallup at the time. He had been invited to speak to the board on the new A through F grading system, which he had studied since its passage in Santa Fe at the last legislative session. Pool said the board could invite Morales again at a later date.
The Region VIII conference would be held in Lordsburg this year. Pool said Benakis would go early for his appointments and other board members and assistants would come later in a district vehicle. The October 18 school board meeting would be during fall break, so it should be rescheduled for the 25th.
Board members were given information on the 2013 school board election dates, which would be coming up at the year’s end. The elections are set for February 5, 2013, with absentee/early voting starting on January 11. Silver will be voting on members in areas 1 and 2. Pool spoke of the Convenience Centers and how the Grant County Clerk’s office would conduct this election.
Looking at the total year, it was seen that a conflict arose on spring sporting events and graduation. Several teams would be playing that Saturday, softball, baseball, tennis, track and others. Pool said this had happened once before and they had simply moved graduation to Sunday, the day following. There had been a few complaints, but all seniors needed to be attending graduation, and it had worked out. If the board put this on the October agenda, students would have plenty of time to order their graduation announcements.
Another school in the district, Aldo Leopold, would be expanding to add grades six, seven and eight. The charter had been written to allow for this expansion from the beginning, and the middle school would be in place, ready to begin in the fall of 2013.
Pool said there were many new charter requests in the state. Twenty had applied and nine had been approved so far. This list of new starts didn’t include those expanding.
Next Wednesday Tony Trujillo would be speaking at WNMU’s Global Resource Center on the impact of Freeport McMoRan on the district, and board president Trent Petty suggested that both he and Candy Milam, assistant superintendent, share the information to be presented there. Pool said the money resulting from McMoRan’s contributions to the district were based on copper mined, not equipment or property the company held.
When Pool said his report was ended, Petty and other board members thanked him for his 14 years of service as superintendent and another eight years before that. "When Silver hired me, I came from Deming where I was head basketball coach and our schools were serious rivals. It was a sensitive issue for a while," said Pool.
Thanks were also offered to Sandra Estrada, board secretary, who was kept busy with minutes for the extra meetings of August 16, August 20, August 24 and September 12, in addition to minutes of the regular meetings. The extra meetings of the board were due to the search for a superintendent and emergency meetings.
Gus Benakis, another assistant superintendent, presented the annual list of bus drivers, activity drivers and feeder routes for adoption by the board. This passed unanimously.
Benakis said all Title IX papers were now complete and in compliance. He was also attending Vo Tech committee sessions and noted that Cobre was now attending, too.
Assistant superintendent Tricia Martinez reported that she continued to work on reading programs for the district to improve the skills of children not reading up to standard levels. She said that a grant she had written had not been funded, but more would be written.
Candy Milan presented a check total of $1,536,138.16 for board approval. Members Barry Remmel and Pete Holguin had looked the list over before the meeting and said the accounting was in order. The board approved the expenses. Milam offered one larger expense of $616,716, written to New Mexico Insurance Authority for Risk Insurance, as being one that would help keep the community informed, as Margaret Hopper, Grant County Beat reporter, had asked for some specifics in the Citizens’ Inquiries section.
Under Open Meetings Act Resolution, Pool asked approval for the board’s meetings for the year. Most would be held at the Swan Street Administration Building, but the November meeting would be held at Cliff school, as usual. The board also approved the Asbestos Management Plan Notification. Pool said it met legal standards of showing where asbestos was, and of what kind, in a report that the community could access, always ready and on file, which rarely was requested by local patrons.
Items to go on the October agenda included approval of a letter to Lon Streib of Sundance, Wyoming, the applicant selected by the board to become the new superintendent. Among Streib’s credentials were assignments as Special Educator since 1973, principal since 1991 and superintendent positions since 1999 to the present. All his professional work was listed as being done in various towns and cities in Wyoming.
The October meeting will be delayed until the 25th, at 5:00 pm for the work session and 7:00 p.m. for the shorter, more public session.