by Ruth Stodghill
PRIMERO — Due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the Primero School Board held its regular monthly meetings virtually on April 21 and May 19, discussing topics such as the approval of various work assignments and contracts for next school year, the budget for next year, and a change to the date for graduation.
In staff reports during the April meeting, Superintendent Bill Naccarato told the board the graduating seniors and their families have requested that graduation be tentatively moved to July, depending on the status of the coronavirus at that time.
Principal Blake Byall updated the board about the process of distance learning for students within the school district. “We are actively holding ourselves and our students accountable – even our parents and community. It would have been easy to close down completely, or hand out some information and tell folks that they’re on their own. We didn’t do that. My hats off to our students and teachers right now,” said Byall. “We even have our industrial arts teacher who is online every day right now, teaching virtually about welding. Our P.E. teacher is holding virtual workouts every day, which is truly amazing. Most schools dropped art, music – but we’re hitting all these things as if we’re still here.”
In action items, the board passed a resolution to appoint Jose Esquivias as Athletic/Activities Director for the 2020-2021 sports season.
The board also passed resolutions to approve contract renewal for probationary and 110-Day non-probationary certified teaching staff for the 2020-2021 academic school year on the recommendation of Superintendent Naccarato.
Also passed was a resolution to accept the retirement of Title I teacher Rose Montoya.
Finally, the board passed resolutions to approve the Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021, and to approve a change to the school calendar, changing the graduation date to July 24, 2020 at 7 p.m.
In staff reports during the May meeting, bond project coordinator Richard Garrison updated the board regarding ongoing construction on campus. A number of projects have been completed in the past month, including flooring, refinishing, duct work, tile work, lock work, trim, ceiling tiles, bleacher end caps, drainage, electrical repairs, and storm drains.
Naccarato said the school district has purchased several electromagnetic sprayers to disinfect the campus, which will be beneficial for both the current COVID-19 crisis as well as future cold and flu seasons. The district is also working with Tom Murphy on a tentative plan to televise the graduation ceremony in July.
Principal Byall told the board that Primero is running a summer school program June 1-26 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Classes will operate within total compliance of the guidelines provided to the district by the State of Colorado, the Colorado Department of Education, and Las Animas County Health Department.
There will not be bus transportation available due to social distancing regulations. Students will be held in individual classrooms of no more than five students per teacher.
In action items, the board passed a resolution to approve contract renewal for the following non-probationary certified teaching staff for 2020-2021 academic school year: Josette Andrews, Roger Diller, Jose Esquivias, Denise Fernandez, Roxann Fernandez, Benjamin Gandy, Brandee Gallegos, Carrie Gongaware, Mary Hill, Gene Langowski, Holly Massarotti, Jamie Odum, Alicia Pratt, Ruth Stodghill, and Stephanie Warren.
The board also passed a resolution to approve renewal for the following at-will classified employees: Gerald Duran, Tina East, Francine Garcia, Cindy McCorkle, Briana Duran, David Lopez, Elise Mangino, Joy Medina, Ed Ortiz, Brian Topping, Tiffany Harris, Briana Duran, Francine Garcia, Elise Mangino, and James Vigil.
The board passed resolutions to approve contract renewal for Special Providers Paula Maldonado and Cindy Abeyta; and contracted staff Kristen Alfonso, Darryl Abeyta, Eric Davies, and Richard Garrison.
The board also passed resolutions to approve re-hiring of the following coaches: Kristen Alfonso, Josette Andrews, Jose Esquivias, Seth Kravig, James Vigil, and Mike Duran, as well as hiring coach golf coach Gerald Duran and Title 1/Elementary Teacher Risa Byall.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board passed a resolution to postpone the gym/remodel dedication ceremony indefinitely; and passed first readings of resolutions to approve Board Policy BEAA regarding Electronic Participation in School Board Meetings; and Board Policy BEDA-E Notice of Virtual School Board Meetings. The board voted down a resolution to grant Emergency Powers to the Superintendent.
The next regular school board meeting was set for June 23 at 5 p.m.