Frank Cordova, president of the Cobre school board, called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. on Monday, September 24, 2012. He said that in the closed session, starting earlier at 6:01, board members had discussed personnel, hiring and student identifiable information. No decisions had been made. Four members were present; Fran Kelly had phoned her absence earlier, saying her husband’s recent surgery still required her attention.
Coach Pat Abalos gave the board the Title IX report that ended the 2011-2012 school year. He explained several factors that had to be compared for both boys’ and girls’ athletic events, and some of the changes that required more work than last year. Abalos said he and Frank Ryan, the district’s accountant, had exchanged a lot of information recently to bring this together.
Last year’s expenses and events for boys and girls had been about equal, said Abalos, but with a boost in middle school and high school football, the boys were using more resources and outnumbered the events the girls had going. It was possible adjustments would be needed in the spring, but at present they were collecting data and running activities as they came up.
Abalos and Ryan said they had spent time setting up a better structure that should help the reports at a later date, and they had learned a lot in the exercise. Cordova echoed that, saying he had learned a lot just reading the report, and it was a good one.
Under Finance, the board received the August review of the bills, which came to $699,643.48. After the meeting, Interim Superintendent George Peru gave facts showing that $238,673.67 had been paid to Tatsch Construction, who had worked on Central Elementary renovations, through the bond issue.
The largest expense, $317,387, had been paid to teachers and aides, and classified staff, assistants, clerical and maintenance, etc. had been paid $120,191.86. While board members discussed finances, one asked if the transfer of funds to Am Bank had been completed. The answer was ‘no, this was still in transition.' Regarding another expense, three landscapers, Peru said, had been paid amounts amounting from $1800 to $2500.
During the Superintendent’s Report, Peru mentioned that the landscaping was not complete, but because of the late date, it would be delayed and resumed next spring. Work on Central was not finished. There was electrical work and the inspections, the library to be moved back, and the furniture and computers still not in place. He thought the board should visit the new portion by the next meeting. Teachers had already looked at the improvements and comments were favorable.
The lack of a gym at Central would necessitate switching between uses in the lunchroom. Play equipment for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten had been put in place. The classrooms at Central were packed, no extra space anywhere, and it might be necessary to leave some classes still at Snell Middle for a while, as Bayard renovation work would begin soon after Central was fully operating. He would work that out with special education teachers, he said.
The District had worked on Joan’s Street improvements alone, Peru said. He had delayed the schedule, hoping to pick up help from the State, as there was highway involved, and when that didn’t happen, he had checked with the city, but it said it had no available funds, either.
By rethinking the problem and redesigning with concrete, Peru said they had been able to reduce costs and still get the work going. It was in process and still not complete. Peru noted that Louis Baum, a community person who was not present at this meeting, had shown the most concern for the project.
The new student representative to the board, Hampton Burnett, listed a number of activities happening at the high school. Pictures were being taken this week, cross country would be held this Saturday, also involving Bataan Park, and the Halloween masked ball was scheduled for October 26.
Peru noted that many of the same students who helped on the Homecoming Dance were also working on the Halloween Dance. They had asked for a Breathalyzer to keep students and the setting safe, and were asking for that again. He said the administration was supporting this.
Johnny Benavidez, high school principal, spoke about the Cobre Restoration Committee, a group of about twenty seniors, who were meeting regularly to bring student activities to a higher level. He said they worked on these events, asked for help from teachers, and were gradually involving students from lower classes in their work, as their plan was to make not only this year better, but future years, too. The group hoped that improvements would last long after they graduated.
Cordova reminded board members that the Region VIII conference being hosted in Lordsburg this year would meet tomorrow, September 25. School transportation would take them there, and they should be ready by 4:30 p.m. for the trip. That conference would last from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Peru said there was still an issue of kids being attracted by the railroad. Trains with ten or more cars were traveling at speeds of around 20 miles per hour, and some students had found a way to get where they shouldn’t be, even jumping on the track. The district would try again to keep them away, but in time it might take a good fence to do it. He and others were watching the problem at present.
Sepulveda asked Frank Ryan for a list of stipends by the next meeting, October 8. Ryan said it should be ready. The next public board meeting was announced to be held at the high school and the September 24 meeting was adjourned at 7:35.