Raton Public Schools superintendent contract renewed

by Carol Bridge
RATON — The Raton Board of Education met on January 22 to transact the business of the school and to hear of upcoming events.  Schools superintendent Andy Ortiz was granted a two-year contract following an executive session held later in the evening.  The board reconvened into regular session to make the public vote on the superintendent’s contract.
Kathy Honeyfield, chairperson, along with board members Abe Elliott, Beaver Segotta, and Jason Phillips, attended with Ted Kamp absent.
Halle Medina, student senate representative, gave a sports update and informed the board of upcoming sports activities and told the board of community activities the student senate has participated in.  She told the board she has been receiving reports of concerns about the food service regarding foreign objects in student’s meals.
Christy Sanchez, Raton Middle School Principal, informed the board of activities and upcoming events at the intermediate school.  Upcoming activities include a family engagement night, a penny drive at Longfellow, a scholastic book sale, parent/teacher conferences, Child Find and Literacy 22.
More information about these events and programs may be found on the school calendar at www.ratonschools.com.
Duncan Ware announced the students of the month, sponsored by the Raton Elks club.  The students earning awards were: Ethan Martinez, academic.  Christian Snyder, service.  Tristan Gallegos, most improved, and Sydney Babcock, 8th grade.  Some students were unable to attend because of other activities, and they will be awarded their certificates next month.
Ortiz gave an update on legislation that will affect education.  He will be attending meetings in Santa Fe regarding changes in funding and staff salaries.  Ortiz is encouraged by legislators’ changing attitudes towards education and feels there is positive movement at the state level.  With the state surplus and talk of using the permanent fund for early education, he believes the state is coming to the realization that investing in education is essential for a positive future.
Honeyfield expressed concern about the high school receiving poor evaluations from the state in some categories.  Ortiz briefly addressed this issue.
A conference call with the auditing firm, represented by Terry Ogle, informed the board that statewide the pension funds for teachers was under tremendous stress and that this will effect Raton Schools if changes are not made.  She said it is not just not schools but the entire state with the exception of the fire fighter’s pension that are in jeopardy.  The main cause is that the fund’s investments have not had the positive return that had been planned.  She also made it clear that the figures were nearly two years behind and that hopefully investments have done better recently.  She assured the board that the audit revealed no material misstatements and discussed changes in district accounting to improve the next auditing cycle.
The next Raton Board of Education meeting will be  at 6 pm Feburary 26  in the high school library.

Pictured above are (l-r): Halle Medina. Abe Elliott, Jason Phillips, Kathy Honeyfield, Andy Ortiz, and Beaver Segotta. Photo by Carol Bridge.