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Cobre School Board continues to discuss viability of Facebook for students

By Margaret Hopper

Cobre’s school board president Frank Cordova called the public meeting to order at 7:07 p.m. The closed session began at 6:00 p.m. with no decisions being made. All board members were present. One item was stricken from the agenda; the approval of the October 29 minutes was again tabled and placed on the December 10 agenda.

The carry-over issue from the past two meetings, a Facebook policy for a student group, came up again. Duane Springer, instructor, said: “Since Facebook is a free service, there is no need to plan any funding for it.” Board member Ralph (Toy) Sepulveda reminded all that there was already an Internet policy in place, and he continued to say that on Facebook, it would be hard to watch who contacted students, and to keep student input in a positive frame. High school principal Johnny Benavidez said problems could arise from stories being changed, and things being added.


Daena Davis, instructor, said for a blog or webpage, all materials came through her and many negatives could be filtered. There was much more control with this arrangement, and some issues could become scary for the district if things got out of control.

Interim Superintendent George Peru said another concern was the fights students could get into if they became careless on the Internet. The webpage they already had might do well if enough space was given to the students for their project. Cordova said the board was going to Albuquerque this week, and it would be a good time to review the whole issue, but consensus seemed to be drawing to the webpage solution. It should be concluded at the December board meeting.

Under administrative items, the board passed a resolution supporting a Vocational Career Center. Cordova commented that it was becoming a political issue. “It’s coming up for a vote; we represent that the Vocational Center would be a goal, to where it would be centrally located, to where it would be advantageous to all the schools.… I feel I can vote with what they’re trying to do. But as to the location, later on we can address that portion.”

Because of shifting dates on athletic events and the probability that Cobre students would be in state baseball and softball competitions, finals and graduation were being moved. Pat Abalos explained a number of points that were in potential conflict with the original calendar and the week-later changes of state competition schedules. He said Cobre’s new listing as 2-A also affected track somewhat.

Because seniors will have to take finals before they take off, they were proposing May 13, 14 and 15 for that. Peru recommended that the board approve the May 17 date for graduation as requested by Abalos and others.

The board also approved the review of bills as presented. Some major items included a bond payment of $3873.35, food service payment for commodities of $63,410.48, Senate Bill 9 (construction funding) for $156,132.04, special revenue (to run athletics bills for meals, workshops, transportation and other expenses) $194,837.93. The activity fund, including participant expenses and payroll for coaches, was a $1,186,524.91 billing.
Also included were the Sun Day system, a reading intervention program to help readers K through grade 8, and Rosetta Stone, a reading program for bilingual students. Upgraded software for Rosetta Stone was purchased for $9968. These two programs would serve 50 to 60 students, according to Peru.

Javier Salas answered questions for Fran Kelly, board member, about both regular and special education students using the Sun Day program. He said the bottom 25 percent of students would use the materials. The costs of Sun Day were shared with Title I, $6561.50, and special education funding, $6671.50.

Peru reported that while the board went to Albuquerque this week, he would stay behind to present information for the Prospectors’ Forum about capital outlay needs in the district. While he had hoped for more time, the Prospectors said they only had an eight-minute space for each group to present its list to legislators for the next session.

Also, Peru said he would be presenting information to the Public School Capitol Outlay Council in January for the things needed in the Bayard Elementary work plans.

Work on Bayard Elementary would take place shortly and at this date, said Peru, 75 percent of the rooms had been moved to their temporary spaces in Snell Middle School. This should be finished by December 10. Much of the work would be done during Christmas vacation.

During the public input period, Mike Trujillo of Am Bank asked the board if the transfer of funds was a serious intent. He said that the first two checks deposited had not been properly presented, preventing the opening of the intended accounts. Peru stated that they were aware of the failure to make the transaction, and that the problems would be remedied by the end of the week.

Trujillo spoke of budget requirements and pledging, saying that if the plan couldn’t be met, he needed information on this. Peru apologized for the district, saying the correct checks would be there, and the correct amounts would be there for the accounts. He affirmed that eventually all accounts would be given to Am Bank, and it would be soon.

Abalos used the public input time to tell the board that Moriah Zamora, a senior, had made All-state in volleyball, something Cobre had not seen in nearly 20 years.

Items for the December 10 agenda will include resolution of the Facebook policy. Peru said it appeared students would get webpage space, but it needed to be taken care of. The October 25 minutes, which had been pulled would also appear on that agenda. Cordova suggested that Trujillo’s concerns should also be there as an action item. The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

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