Current board president, Ed Donovan, will also serve a second term
by Bob Kennemer
LA VETA — A special part of their regular meeting was held by the La Veta Board of Education on November 13, to swear in two new board members, Polly Neldner and Larry Morgan. In an uncontested election, current BOE President Ed Donovan was also sworn in at the same session. Outgoing board members Cindy Campbell and Eleanor Foley, who both had served for eight years, were presented with desk top monuments by Donovan as he thanked them for their years of service.
Campbell said, “We [this board] all care about the school. Political persuasions such as Democrat or Republican did not matter.” Foley added, “We don’t have to take our hats off to anybody. We have a great school!”
After bringing in the new board members, the BOE then was provided with a presentation on measures of student learning and high school achievement. It was reported the Knowledge Bowl team was doing well and has been winning. School counselor Rick Sciacca stated, “Our kids are getting it done!” Future Farmers of America instructor Rachel Rheuby reported on the group’s recent trip to a national FFA conference in Indianapolis. La Veta Schools brought 47 student representatives to the event in which 67,000 others attended.*
Members from the high school girls volley ball team were on hand to report on their recent trip to Denver to compete in the state finals. The team had a 27-1 regular season and this was their third year in a row going to state. Although the girls played well against in a field of 66 strong teams they did not win the state championship in their class.
The board then had a lengthy discussion on increasing membership rates for the South Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). The district paid $35,000 last year in dues and, as in past years, the costs is expected to go up at least 10% in 2018. Superintendent Bree Lessar noted that some districts e.g. Crowley County, in South Central BOCES were looking to move out of the local group as they felt they were paying too much for specialists such as speech therapists, psychologists, etc. This is because these salaries are based on Pueblo and Pueblo West wages, not on the wages small rural districts can afford for these specialists.
Another problem is the service area is too large, requiring lots of driving time for staff and making it hard to service all of the schools. One idea is to shrink the South Central group to include only Walsenburg, Trinidad, Primero, La Veta, with Hoehne and Aguilar as satellite schools. Lessar will continue to work on this issue.
The facilities task force head, John Albright, met with the La Veta Town Board last week and learned that it would be possible to vacate Garland Street, which runs through the school campus, allowing for an additional design keeping the campus where it currently exists. Additional drawings will be made by the schools architectural firm, using this new information and will be presented at the next task force meeting on December 6.
The board learned a recent inspection by the state said the preschool jungle gym does not meet current safety standards and should be removed. School Principal Suzanne Pierce noted the preschool kids rarely used the jungle gym and had plenty of other toys and equipment to utilize.
*Next week’s WJ will feature an in depth article on the FFA trip