Board tours possible new sites

Principal Newman resigns
MEEKER — Meeker School District Re-1 board members Tuesday had a busy and lengthy meeting to discuss new elementary school building sites, accept the preliminary 2008-2009 budget and accept resignation of the Meeker High School principal.
First, members met an hour earlier than normal in the Meeker High School parking lot to begin a tour of five possible sites for a new elementary school.
After the tour, board members watched a presentation by Logan Sanderson and Jessica Mullins of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), who are going to the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Ga. The FBLA team showed the board members the Web site they created for The Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials.
Then the board members turned back to discussion of the five building sites. Three of the sites are to the north and northwest of Meeker High. One site is in the new development along Sulphur Creek Road and the final site is between the high school and the recreation center.
Board members received briefings on each site from three representatives of Neenan Archistruction of Denver. Neenan designed and built new schools and other public buildings in Craig and Alamosa and on the Front Range.
Discussions focused primarily on the pros and cons of each site. One site, west of Barone Middle School, would require acquisition of private property and two others could require additional land acquisition or right of way negotiations. Property acquisitions could be through outright purchase, donation, trade or other arrangement.
Although the Neenan group presented some preliminary building designs, final designs will be drawn after public meetings. The board voted to cancel its scheduled June 3 meeting and, instead, hold a brief regular board meeting June 10, which will include follow-up discussion of the building sites. The board will make a final site choice at the June 17 board meeting, then hold a public “design meeting” June 24.
Superintendent Dan Evig presented the board with the preliminary 2008-2009 budget. Meeker Elementary’s budget currently is estimated at just more than $1.8 million, an increase over the 2007-2008 budget by almost $300,000.
Barone Middle School’s budget actually went down, from just more than $925,000 to almost $885,000.
Meeker High School’s budget is expected to rise just under 5 percent to almost $1.8 million.
Two other portions of the budget, centralized services and the transportation department, also will see increases. Centralized services would rise from $1.29 million to just over $1.30 million, and transportation would rise from about $5.73 million to almost $6.1 million, largely because of rising fuel costs.
These budgets include a 3.2 percent cost of living increase for school employees.
Finally, the board accepted the resignation of Meeker High School Principal Dwayne Newman. He is one of the finalists for superintendent of Rangely School District Re-4.