By Lynn Janes

The Cobre Consolidated School Board held a regular meeting on May 28, 2024. Board members in attendance included Gabriella Begay, Gilbert Guadiana, David Terrazas, Angelina Hardin, and Emmarie Heredia. Superintendent Michael Koury also attended.

The council approved the agenda after discussion on public input. Guadiana objected to the agenda not providing a public input and public input on agenda items. "We are not being transparent, and it is policy. I have addressed this many times." Begay said she had just received the email from him today on the matter. She had reached out to legal counsel, and they agreed having it on the agenda twice would be redundant. She had included the matter in the agenda to discuss as a council.

Guadiana disagreed greatly that it would be redundant to have two. They needed one for general public input and public input for agenda items only. The discussion went on for some time and Guadiana wanted his opinion noted. Koury said legal said having public input on twice would be redundant.

New business

The board did the first reading of NMSBA (New Mexico School Board Association) policy services. It had not been posted on the website but would be soon. Begay said it had to do with a new law signed by the governor about recordings at meetings and training for the board.

The board did the first reading of the revised policy for the agenda. This had to do with the public input. Begay has spoken to legal, and they said most boards just have one public comment. After some discussion they approved a public input that would be listed together but have one for general and one for agenda items.

The principals presented an end of the year report for the board. Suzanne Chavira, director of academics, started with the presentation of the data from the testing. It included the beginning of the year, middle of the year and end of the year. They had growth in all and exceeded the state averages in some and some they came below state averages. The percentages shown on the graphs indicated how many had been proficient in that grade level. The percentages came in at all levels, low and high.

Chavira said they would be having summer school but only had fourteen teachers and they had to stick to a 4 to 1 ratio and could not offer it to everyone. The teachers had to pick the students they felt it would help the most. Summer school will be half a day for four weeks. Any student not accepted can apply to attend an online summer school.

Chavira said the interventionists they had hired the past year had helped. All the students they had worked with showed growth and some had come up to performing on their grade level.

The principals all presented to the board and spoke on their data from testing and what plans they have for the following year.

Finance committee report

Begay said they had not met but would next month.

Audit committee report

Guadiana said they had not met.

Board member reports.

Hardin congratulated the local special Olympics for placing to compete in Albuquerque.

Heredia congratulated all the high school sports and graduates. She thanked everyone involved in setting up the graduation and decorating. "I wish everyone well and to enjoy a well deserved summer break."

Begay echoed the graduation. "It was amazing." The tradition of giving ducks to the speakers she said she hoped they continued. She had attended the Mariachi concert and it had been the same students that had performed for the board at the beginning of the school year. "They made such an improvement." She also wished everyone a well deserved great summer break.

Terrazas had attended the Hurley kindergarten graduation and thanked all involved for the beautiful decorations. He had joined Koury and Frank Ryan, finance director, for a meeting with PED (Public Education Department). It had been very eye opening. They do not see the Cobre school district as rural and because of that the district loses $700,000 plus in funding.

Guadiana echoed all the graduation comments. He had been glad to see all the family support. "I am disappointed to hear about our non-rural designation. Does that need to be litigated?" Koury said when he asked how they reach that designation they told him they use the census.

Guadiana said, "There seems to be a chasm growing between the school districts and PED." He appreciated the outcome on the litigation for the 4-day week. They need to go to the next level concerning PED having the ability to disband school boards and or superintendents.

Begay said when they attend the school board association conference Koury wants them to do a team building exercise.

Superintendent report

Koury said, "The 4-day school week issue has been going well and I have been getting weekly updates and feel confident we will have the 4-day week calendar." The PED has not represented themselves well. On July 2, 2024, it will all be settled.

Koury went over the revisions of the 2023 New Mexico vistas release and school designations. "There seems to be a gap between the schools and PED." They had received 32 pages of spreadsheets. He went over the designations and how they make them. All the schools in that state have had problems. A lot of money had been lost and won. Cobre will be losing $86,000 for transportation. Gas continues to increase, and the district still must pick up those students no matter how far out they reside. "New Mexico PED has not helped us this year." He did add that they would be able to make things work and had reached out to their contractors for school transportation.

Koury said he hoped it would come up the upcoming legislative session because it had become a problem with all the schools in New Mexico. Although the session will be about public safety, he hoped that because of all the legislators that have been reached out to on the problem it will be addressed.

Public input

Linda Garrett thanked the district for investing in her with training. She had been teaching for ten years and this had been the first time a district had invested in her.

The board went into executive session to discuss the superintendent's evaluation.

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

Meeting adjourned.

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