By Lynn Janes

The Cobre Consolidated School Board held a regular meeting on May 13, 2024. Board members in attendance included Gabriella Begay, Gilbert Guadiana, David Terrazas, Angelina Hardin, and Emmarie Heredia. Acting superintendent Michael Koury also attended.

Mireya Zapata, student representative, attended to give the board a report. "The bathrooms at the Cobre baseball field are beyond disgusting." Many times, they have been flooded and generally they do not have soap or toilet paper. The sound system needs repair. The students have not been happy about Cobre High School Principal Erin Brown-Meeks not returning next year. "She is always there to work with the students." The students also have expressed not being happy about some of the teachers being let go and said they didn't deserve it. The constant change in leadership will not allow the students to grow.

The council approved the agenda with some changes in the order of presentations. They also approved the minutes, bills, budget transfers and changes in the budget. Frank Ryan, director of finance, explained each budget item in question. They approved the Title 3 funds after Suzanne Chavira, directorsof academics, explained the process.

The excellence in school academics award by New Mexico School Board Association went to Eleanor Pedraza, Hurley Elementary. In the state 64 boards had participated and 182 awards had been given.

Public input

Dane Kennon, who had previously held interim administrative positions at Cobre, addressed the board. He specifically wanted to address the non-renewal of some contracts at Cobre High School. "I would like to see those contracts renewed." He addressed the good leadership skills of Meeks and her vision for the school. The staff and students have backed her. He went on to comment on Mr. Sanchez and his qualifications. "I have never spoken in public input. I have not seen any clear reason for not renewing their contracts." He told the board they still had an opportunity to fix this mistake. "I ask you to do the right thing."

The council approved moving the next scheduled meeting. It would have been May 27, 2024, Memorial Day. They moved the meeting to May 28, 2024, at 5:00 pm.

Old business

Ryan gave the board an update on the 2024-2025 budget. They had discussed it in the finance subcommittee meeting. It will be submitted to PED (Public Education Department) May 24, 2024. They will have time to make changes and the final one must be turned in June 20, 2024. The board will have to approve it at the June 10, 2024, meeting.

New business
Meeks, Cobre High School teacher Leslie Arnold, and reading interventionist at Cobre High School Zoya Provencio gave the board a presentation on the graduate profile. Meeks said it had come from the Yazzie Martinez lawsuit requiring equity for all graduates. It articulates a vision for the knowledge and skills students need to obtain for graduation. The process to compile that document included teachers, staff, and students. They looked at other examples around the state to develop the profile. They came up with communication, computer skills, critical thinking, professionalism, etc. They had developed a survey and had 62 responses. One of the survey questions had been: What best describes our community? The answer consistently that came up had been family. To develop the profile, they had a focus group. The words that had come up consisted of courageous, open-minded, balanced, responsible and empowered. They had made 12 different drafts that had been voted on to come up with the end profile.

Provencio asked them not to look at it as just words but as a system they could use to change lives. "We can build our future leaders." Everyone needs to follow this vision and embed these values in the education system. By incorporating these in every part of the system they can empower the students for success in life. "These are not just words on a piece of paper or poster, let's bring them to life."

Finance committee report

Begay said they had met to go over the budget and bills. They had talked about the teachers that would be moving to new levels and the effect on the budget.

Audit committee report

Guadiana said they had met, and Jaramillo Accounting Group had attended. They had reviewed submissions and requirements. "The 2022 audit is on track and the 2023 will be started after."

Board member reports.

Begay said she had attended a band performance at Cobre High School, and the middle school bands did a great job.

Terrazas wanted to let people know about an event coming up, Jump into Summer. The event will be put on by Hildalgo Medical Services (HMS) and will happen June 22, 2024. He also wanted to let the district know they would possibly need to advertise quorum for the event.

Guadiana spoke about the golf tournaments coming up. The year will be closing soon, and he hoped that it closed on a positive note. He thanked all the teachers and said last year had been dysfunctional and he hoped for a better year coming and said, "We are miles ahead for next year."

Superintendent report

Koury didn't have an update on the 4-day week lawsuit, He has been watching the lawsuit ,and it is still going as they speak. He told them as soon as he knew he would let them know. The current lawsuit he has been listening to had been taking place in Portales.

The board went into executive session to address pending litigation and obtain advice from legal counsel. They have five cases pending that involve the Cobre Consolidated School Board. They will be discussing the status of the special audit, the status of employees and the superintendent's evaluation.

The board came back into open session and said no action had taken place.

The board approved amendment no. 1 to the forensic accounting procedures contract with Jaramillo Accounting Group. They also approved the superintendent's evaluation completed in executive session.

Meeting adjourned.

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