Meeker school board discusses valedictorian criteria

MEEKER I The Meeker Board of Education (BOE) April 18 approved a $55,600 budget for facilities master planning. The Denver architectural firm of Bennett Wagner Grody has been chosen to do the work.

Elements of their effort are to include community and oversight committee meetings, facility assessments, identification of deficiencies, analysis of information gathered, development of options, prioritization of capital projects, completion and publication of a master plan document.
Board member Tom Allen reported on the progress of the town’s Urban Renewal Authority on which he is the BOE representative. Bylaws have been drafted and approved with amendments including the removal of any expected use of eminent domain. Referring to the possible outdoor adventure center project, the tax increment funding (TIF) will probably include sales tax revenues for the five year project period for commercial endeavors within the project area. Allen also indicated there is now a July 10 deadline for information to be reviewed.
Special districts, which may participate in the TIF, will have an estimate of the impact of the funding mechanism on their district before they need to make a decision on whether or not to participate. The project area, Allen indicated, will be everything in the town of Meeker downtown from Market Street (Highway 13) south to the White River.
The board also approved the certified and classified personnel list for the 2017-2018 school year. Mark Meyer and Charlotte Kurzeika have been added to the post-retirement partial employment list. Coley Turner was approved as a volunteer assistant track coach.
Reports from the elementary school (MES) surrounded the discovery of a rather large wolf spider found by custodian Stan Crawford. Now the spider seems to be sporting an egg sac—great lessons in biology. MES principal Kathy Collins said 95 percent of parents participated in parent-teacher conferences. The fifth grade is working diligently on their Night at the Museum reports and invite everyone to come to their presentations at the school on May 10. A visit to the school by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo personnel regarding animal myths is planned April 27.
Barone Middle School (BMS) principal Jim Hanks expressed the school’s excitement about the track meet hosted by the school on the district’s new track and field facilities on April 14. More than 700 student athletes from 10 schools competed. The sixth annual career day will be held at BMS on May 4. State competition for History Day is in Denver, Saturday, May 6. The spring band and choir concert with the high school will be at 6:30 p.m. May 11. Hanks also announced that after careful study, the school is on the verge of starting a mountain biking club overseen by counselor Mark Fishbein and a running club overseen by teacher Kris Casey.
High school principal Amy Chinn reported that 16 students were competing at the state FCCLA leadership conference and five students were competing at the state FBLA confab while 24 FFA students were to compete at district events in Craig. She reported that Jenifer Kincher would be competing at the FCCLA nationals.
Significant time was spent at the meeting discussing graduation requirements and the rules by which class valedictorians and salutatorians are chosen. The proposed new rules—which were reviewed on a first reading basis this month—will take effect only for year classes beginning with the incoming freshmen this fall.
The discussion ensued this time due to the possibility there could be nine qualified valedictorians for the Class of 2017 under the current system, whereby an A grade is an A grade whether it represents 100 percent success or 90 percent success. The changes being proposed would weight certain classes creating a more vigorous analysis of academic performance, making it less likely there would be so many top dog winners.
Board member Kevin Amack wondered further, however, if there was an appetite on the board for some kind of exercise which would decide just one valedictorian, for example, if there were two or three finalists for the title. A vote of the board indicated, two to five, that perhaps such a contest would be taking it too far.
In closing, the board heard from a concerned parent who claimed to be representing other concerned parents as well that there was confusion about grading criteria at the elementary school. The board advised that the issue be thoroughly discussed with teachers and the elementary school principal before bringing it to the board.