New faces, old concerns for RSD board

RANGELY I The Rangely School Board met Aug. 19 as the district begins the 2014/2015 school year with new faces and old concerns.

Newly appointed board member Joyce Key was sworn in to office due to the resignation of Jennifer Hill in June, and Key will serve the remainder of Hill’s term until November 2015.
Key was appointed from among three other applicants for the vacant position.
The board also elected new officers, picking Leslie Nielsen as president, Kurt Douglas as vice president and Annette Webber as secretary, all elected unanimously.
During the meeting, each of the district’s principals gave their first update for the school year.
Parkview Elementary Principal Mike Kruger stated that the elementary school has 12 new staff members for the new school year. Kruger also informed the board that Parkview’s back-to-school night was not as well attended as previous years and he is currently in the process of trying to determine why.
Kevin Gates, the new Rangely Junior/Senior High School principal, reported that she also has a large number of new staff this year. Gates stated that more than 50 percent of the RJ/SHS staff is new to their position, including one long-term substitute in the English department as the district continues to search for a teacher to fill that position after the last-minute resignation of what would have been a new hire just days before the start of school.
Chief among the concerns raised at the meeting was the temperature at the elementary school, a problem that has persisted in the fall for the past several years.
Superintendent Matt Scoggins stated that the current cooling system cannot keep up with the heat and some classroom temperatures hit the mid-80s at the start of school. He said that the district is exploring its options, but they are limited, as a new system could cost $40,000 to $100,000 and may require extensive electrical work.
In the meantime, the district is considering purchasing smaller $500 units for each classroom to get through the next six weeks.
Another familiar concern discussed by the board was the current condition of the parking lots and paved surfaces throughout the district.
Scoggins suggested the district consider having its lots chip-sealed and coated in order to extend their life expectancy. With an expected cost of approximately $43,000, this news caused a discussion regarding the need to prioritize district funds and projects based on direct benefit to students.
Several board members felt the heating issues at Parkview needed immediate attention while the parking lots could wait.
However, board member Sam Tolley was concerned that putting off the paving work could lead to a much larger expense down the road.
Scoggins informed the board that he didn’t feel the budget required that only one project be chosen and that the cooling system and paving work should be explored further.
The board will meet again Sept. 3 to discuss re-establishing the vision of the district and how the board members can focus on their freshly established goals of improving the school culture, positive behavior intervention systems and nurturing and expanding their partnership with CNCC.