Meeker set to drop high school band and family sciences classes

MEEKER I The Meeker School District RE-1 (MSD) Board of Trustees is considering not filling key teacher positions for music and consumer/family sciences.
During the April 1 meeting, the MSD board tabled a recommendation from Superintendent Mark Meyer to not fill the teaching positions, instead opting to delay changes until after a public meeting on May 8.
The teacher positions are being vacated due to the resignations of band director Bob Eggebraten and consumer and family science instructor Cortney Aldridge. The loss of the two positions would effectively end the music program for the district and the family and consumer science program at the high school.
Of particular concern was the consumer/family science position, which is necessary for the Meeker FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) student organization. The Meeker chapter of FCCLA would not be able to operate without a certified teacher to lead the organization.
The FCCLA has experienced great success this year in state competitions, and nine of its students qualified in competition last weekend to go on to nationals.
There is some financial support for the consumer and family science teaching position from the state of Colorado. The board asked if it may be possible to offer a part-time position with the certification, but difficulty would be to find a certified teacher willing to do a part-time position. No specific costs were discussed and prospects don’t look promising for continuing the program without filling the full-time teaching position.
There was also great concern about losing the music program.
Band director Eggebraten has worked hard to build a good music program over the last five years, culminating in the high school band. Eggebraten teaches classes in all three schools and many of the band members started on band instruments with Eggebraten in junior high.
Certainly the loss of seasonal concerts and the opportunity for music education would be sorely missed as both programs have had very strong student and community support.
“What else are we going to do? We are broke,” board president Bill deVergie said. Although very little is certain about MSD’s fiscal condition, deVergie said that even with the mill levy override’s successful passing this fall, he expects next year’s budget will be $300,000 to $400,000 short.
In other personnel matters, MHS Spanish teacher Marla Lee’s probationary contract was not renewed for next year. No reason was given.
Superintendent Meyer said the Spanish teaching position will need to be filled before next fall, and the board also voted to add a third-grade teacher for next year due to an expected class size of 67 students.
MSD budget decisions are likely to continue to be focused on personnel since 74 percent of MSD’s budget is salaries.
Meyer said changes in teaching positions are being done through attrition, and that is the only way the MSD is considering program changes.