By Margaret Hopper
It’s official. The Silver School Board and Wyoming Superintendent Lon Streib have reached agreement and the board approved the contract for two years, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. Dr. Streib is expected to come to Grant County on Monday, November 4. It now remains to make a transition plan and introduce him to the community.
Board members say new information will be released shortly. They are counting on Trish Martinez, Learning Services Director and Assistant Superintendent, to head the transition work. They plan a special meeting with the new superintendent after he arrives, but cannot schedule that at this time. Martinez will help set that time, which will also require a three-day notice in the local paper.
While the board prepares for the February 5 election, Dick Pool, former superintendent, requested that Dr. A. L. Clemmons, Senior Vice President of George K. Baum and Company, attend a session with the board and prepare them for the various stages of resolution, proclamation and declaration. Dr. Clemmons left statistics and information behind to help board members with the process.
Complicating the election, the public school capital improvements tax question will also be presented to voters. It is the ongoing 2-mill or $2.00 per each $1,000 of net taxable value of property in the area which is dedicated to maintenance operations for districts. This tax will affect school years 2013 to 2018, a six-year period. All Silver district schools and Aldo Leopold are dependent on this tax for purchases, maintenance and improvements of equipment and properties.
Dr. Clemmons explained both aspects of the February 5 election and offered his help and expertise on making the election requirements clear and simple. The 12-page report he left with board members is a model of professional planning to help not only the board, but the county clerk’s office meet all legal requirements.
In her report as finance and student accountability officer, Assistant Superintendent Candy Milam alerted members that student numbers are down and the district is slated to lose about $308,000.00 shortly. She reported gains and losses across the district which showed G. W. Stout, Cliff High School and Opportunity High School down. The large gain of 26 students at Harrison Schmidt did not offset this. Cliff losses have a ‘small school’ factor and are more heavily weighted, as well, which makes losses there quite significant.
Another area is the pre-kindergarten which has 5 fewer students this year. Because Pre-K is heavily weighted, other areas of special education cannot offset this, and it, too, will cost the district. Milam’s third area in the report is that the district has lost some of its most experienced teachers and the new ones replacing them are 84 units lighter, 5547 this year compared to 5631 last year.
For Milam’s financial report, board members Barry Remmel and Pete Holguin, who look over the financials before board meetings, asked that the report be accepted as written. The total amount of checks written for this month came to $1,567,929.50.
Another action requiring a vote was the revision of the graduation date. Instead of May 15, board members changed it to May 16. An athletic event being held that Saturday would have prevented many seniors from attending their graduation exercises.
Priscilla Lucero, Executive Director of Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, gave the board information on State Senator Howie Morales’ Senate Memorial number 65 and the feasibility study which is nearly finished. Lucero said these documents are needed in the development of the Vo Tech. Much work is in place, but several factors are flexible and not easily pinned down, which leaves cost projections changeable.
Lucero told of a grant opportunity which needed immediate attention if WNMU is to apply for that. The grant is also needed as part of the plans for the Vo Tech. She said it is important to show which portions of the community were participating and uniting to support the proposed Vo Tech.
Some surveys had been answered by parents, students and other segments of the community. Over all, more than 5,000 surveys had been distributed to various groups, and 456 students had already shown interest in the Vo Tech. Students in grades 6 to 12 from both Silver and Cobre had been contacted. The main study of 4,583 community people was given to board members.
Lucero, who helps local governments and works with county financial oversight, said this effort to set up the Vo Tech was quite different from the work she usually did, and she considered it a tough assignment, as there were so many things to watch over and make sure that no opportunities were missed.
In her opinion, said Lucero, it might be best to set up at least two phases, with the first covering engineering and design, and developing plans for the second phase after more facts were known. The board approved her report to be included in the process.
In the Citizens portion of the meeting, Maria Isquierdo, coordinator and Lupe Uriostegui, a parent, asked the board to consider working with their organization, Grant County Family Coalition, related to Border Mental Health, which works with mentally and behaviorally disturbed children of any age up to 18 years. Board member Charlotte McGaughey suggested they supply a copy of their organization’s mission statement and attend future meetings.
The next board meeting is scheduled to be at Cliff on November 15. The directors plan to meet at the district office after 4:00 p.m. and leave together from there.