Meeker school board addresses Dorsett, TELL surveys, audit

MEEKER I The Meeker School District’s Board of Education (BOE) met Jan. 6 for the first time since the announcement in mid-December that the citizen’s recall effort seeking to replace the three longest-serving members of the board had failed for lack of signatures.

The board first heard from teacher Dr. Bob Dorsett during “agenda item input.” He asked the board for three things. After thanking Barone Middle School personnel for their hospitality and help in his teaching his dual-enrollment high school science classes there for the past semester, Dorsett asked that his classes be returned to the high school, mentioning that in addition to other challenges, there had already been a couple of accidents involving students trying to drive between the two schools, one with minor injuries.
Secondly, he asked that surveys used in evaluating MSD Superintendent Mark Meyer be given to all district staff as opposed to a small, select list as, he said, has already been done.
He suggested that the state-sponsored Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) surveys already have built in data-reduction and summary configurations that would allow for simplified and timely compilation for the board’s use.
Dorsett’s third request was that the district’s 2013-2014 audit be presented and discussed in a public session.
Superintendent Meyer reported that the district had received two bids for removal of asbestos at the Rock School site on the Piceance Creek Road.
Frederickson Abatement, LLC, bid $8,300 and Nelson Engineering and Construction, Inc. bid $23,850.
The Colorado School District Self-Insurance Pool (CSDSIP) has already submitted the funds to the district and they have been deposited in the district’s Capital Reserve Fund.
The bids do not include the dollars necessary to clean up the pad area after the asbestos has been removed. The board approved Meyer’s recommendation to go with the $8,300 bid.
The board’s regular meeting schedule for 2015 was agreed upon and the district website was designated as the official notice posting site. The board noted, however, that the district will continue posting notices at the Post Office (bulletin board) and in the Herald Times.
Following discussion on district real estate matters, which required the board to go into executive session, the board voted to put the New Eden Pregnancy Care Services building at 345 Main St. up for sale to the highest bidder pending legal review.
New Eden would be given the opportunity to match the high bid.
In other real estate issues, the district’s old swimming pool property and an acre in Powell Park are to be discussed at a future time.
Meyer announced that the 2013-2014 annual school district audit has now been posted on the district website (see “financial transparency”) and is available to the public. The audit will be placed on the board’s Jan. 20 meeting agenda.
State Rep. Bob Rankin and state Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulfur Springs typically come to Rio Blanco County on the same day that the Rio Blanco Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), comprised of Rangely and Meeker school board members, and the Rio Blanco County Stockgrowers meet.
That day is Feb. 7, and the board agreed to put that arrangement in place, with board member Kurt Blunt taking the lead. The usual BOCES plan is for a brunch in Meeker.
This occasion is an opportunity to primarily discuss education funding with the legislators.
MSD Board Vice President Mindy Burke reported that superintendent evaluation surveys have already been distributed to administrative staff, department chairs (transportation, food services, custodial services) and the head teacher for each of the three schools.
In response to Dorsett’s earlier request, Burke indicated that volunteer school board members simply do not have time to deal with a larger evaluation sample. She said the distributed surveys are due back to the board by tomorrow.
She also explained that she had checked with other school districts and found no districts that survey the entire staff.
At the end of the meeting, board President Bill deVergie asked if any board member wanted to bring up any other business. Board member Tom Allen indicated his desire to talk about Dorsett’s request to move his classes back to the high school.
Allen expressed concern about the current arrangement having a negative impact on students’ education.
Board member Bud Ridings said his biggest concern is the possible liability issue with unsupervised students having to move between schools.
Allen added his thought is that if there are adults who can’t work together under the same roof that the issue may be larger than just Dorsett’s location.
Meyer was in the process of asking if he should schedule this item on the agenda for Jan. 20, when deVergie cut him off, saying he was going to “stop this right here.”
deVergie explained that this should be the superintendent’s decision, not the board’s, and that Meyer needs to take the (request) under advisement and make the decision.
The board generally agreed.
Board member Todd Shults raised the issue of whether it would be advisable for the board to have a “big open session” to hear from folks who might have concerns or questions about district operations without having any of it tied to any agenda item.
Following general discussion, there was board agreement that this would be a good idea. Some felt this would be a very good way to combat some of the misinformation circulating.
Meyer said he would put this on the agenda for further discussion, planning and action on Jan. 20.