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We need to be here for each other
RE-1 discusses finances, students and contracts
by Dan Harper
WALSENBURG — The board room was packed as board president Sherry Gomez and Superintendent Mike Moore started the meeting by recognizing students, teachers and parents. Gardner students Bruno McDonald (8th grade), Carmen Hernandez (6th grade) and Kayden Romero (4th grade) were honored for excellence in education. RE-1 elementary music teacher Jenna Inscho was honored for her wonderful holiday music program and for making harp and guitar classes available to students. Inscho divides her time between Gardner and Peakview schools. Kelsie Sanchez was honored for her volunteer work with the Gardner library and salad bar, as well as being a bus volunteer. See Falcon Flash, p 26 for details.
Then, unexpectedly, (thanks to a little helpful agenda subterfuge by executive secretary Lorna Eddleman), Peakview kindergarten teacher Andrea Shull and three Peakview students surprised Superintendent Moore, by presenting him with a large banner thanking him for all he does for the district and their school. It was signed by Peakview students from PK on up. Shull then read five letters from Peakview teachers, thanking Moore for being there for the staff, students and parents. Superintendent Moore thanked them for their kindness and support. He promised to display the poster on the wall of his office.
Superintendent contract review results in call for teamwork
The review of Superintendent Moore’s contract was lengthy in spite of the fact that his evaluation was good and most comments were positive. Director Dorothy Martinez wanted an addition made to the contract specify the number of days that must be worked. Moore pointed out that he works long hours and rarely takes all of his 17 days of vacation. Martinez also brought up his use of the district house, feeling that it should be open to teachers who need housing. It was pointed out by director David Tesitor the house had been vacant for quite some time before Moore took occupancy.
When director Julia Marchant mentioned that his overall score wasn’t a 5, board president Gomez reminded the board there are in reality, no 5’s, no perfect people. She pointed out while Superintendent Moore is not perfect, he is doing a good job and working to improve.
Director Jaye Sudar reminded the board that Moore’s contract is a two year contract, and to change it at this mid-point could be considered a violation of the contract. Gomez will contact the district’s attorney for advice, and the contract will be voted on at the next meeting.
Gomez reminded the board they need to work together as a team and that ‘we need to be here for each other.’ Director Gretchen Orr asked that everyone think positively and look to the future of the district instead of dwelling on the negative. Many members of the audience gave strong verbal support of Superintendent Moore.
Alternatives for non-traditional students?
The board listened to two presentations concerning education for students that don’t fit in traditional settings. First up was Myra Trujillo talked about GOAL Academy, (Guided Online Academic Learning) GOAL Academy is a charter school based in Falcon 49 School District that has two satellite offices in Pueblo and Trinidad. Students were meeting in Walsenburg fast food restaurants until the Sangre De Cristo Center for Youth, (SCCY) offered them space. Sixteen students meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for classes with teachers.
Generation Schools Network, representing Career Academy of America presented a possible partnership program to the board. It offers alternative education high school classes in career and tech pathways, and offers endorsements in the Workforce Work-Keys program. Lisa Leith, Wendy Cooper and Dana Lambert presented information on the program, and answered some questions for the board. Superintendent Moore will be bringing more information to the board at a later meeting.
Crowley’s proposed departure from BOCEs could result in increased expenses for Huerfano
Superintendent Moore presented information on BOCES costs for the coming year. There are a number of possibilities at this time. The BOCES Board is deciding whether to have a full or part time director. The cost for this could be between $8998 or $5872 less than this year. Crowley County school district is asking to be allowed to chance from South Central BOCES to Sante Fe Trail BOCES. Should this move be allowed by CDE, it could cost Huerfano RE-1 between $46,127 and $62,676 more than the nearly $89,000 the district pays now. If South Central BOCES stays with current leadership and no move by Crowley, the cost could be as little as $313. Mr. Moore will keep the board updated.
Erica Watts, the district finance director, explained the possible costs brought up by the State Equalization and Transportation Audits. These audits go back to 2009 and may cost the district up to $14,128.02. Once more, Watts and Superintendent Moore are waiting for more information from the state about reimbursements that should have been made before 2014.
The three local boards, La Veta, Aguilar, and Huerfano, plan to meet socially on March 15th at La Plaza. The idea is to see how the three boards can work together to save money in purchasing, and possibly teacher sharing. Rumors that this meeting is to be the start of consolidations of the three districts are false.
Autism training will be held March 2nd at Washington School auditorium. Information has been published in the World Journal. Breakfast will be served, and busing provided from Peakview to Washington school to ease parking. Parents, sheriff’s officers, staff and other district employees are invited. Teachers will be given education credits for attendance.
The Colorado Education Network will present at the March 12th board meeting.
In other business, the board approved Eric Vialpando as head wrestling coach and Josh Vialpando as assistant wrestling coach, added Kayell Summers and Yanet Quinones as volunteers for John Mall High School and Gardner respectively. Francisco Rodriquez-Alfonso was added to the substitute custodian list and Connie Williams was added to the substitute cook list. The board accepted resignations with regret from Robinson Payne and Jill Downie to be put into effect at the end of the school year.
Principal contracts will be discussed at the next meeting.