MEEKER I It was a busy night as Meeker Schools Superintendent Mark Meyer started the June 16 meeting of the Board of Education (BOE) with a review of the agenda, with the request that the scheduled executive session be eliminated as it wasn’t needed.
Board member Todd Shults said, however, that not only would he like to have an executive session in order to learn more about the superintendent’s recommendations (expected on the certified/classified personnel report), but that he would also like the executive session to be held before the personnel report was approved.
The board agreed.
After an executive session that lasted a half hour, the board reopened the meeting. Meyer’s personnel recommendation was that Klark Kindler be hired as the high school athletic director, America Haggart be terminated as the Title III English Language Learner paraprofessional and that Dilly Gutierrez be hired to replace Haggart. This certified/classified report was then unanimously approved by the board.
Back to the regular agenda, the board passed a resolution approving the 2015-2016 school district budget, which had to be done under state law, before June 30.
As the board had discussed in May, expected expenses for the new school year exceed expected revenues by $749,697 although several factors are expected to reduce that figure.
The full budget is available for review at the District Administration Office with projected bottom-line district expenditures for the year to be $6,354,130.
BOE President Bill deVergie reported that a letter received from Rio Blanco County Attorney Kent Borchard indicating the district would receive up to $127,000 in county tax refunds. Borchard’s letter also stated that abatement charges against the district for Encana Corp. would be significantly less than originally expected.
In other business, the board approved employees Janelle Urista and Jessica Browning as the district election officials as required under state law to work with the county clerk and recorder to oversee the upcoming school board elections.
Interested candidates must obtain 25 elector signatures on a candidate-nominating petition between Aug. 5 and Aug. 28. It is expected that petitions can be picked up at the school district administration office as of Aug. 5 at 555 Garfield St. The election is Nov. 3.
The board also approved, on third reading, updated policies on first-aid training, the use of the district sick leave bank, teacher displacement and regulation and the evaluation of licensed personnel, transfers, schedules and calendars.
During the public comment period, Dr. Bob Dorsett pointed out that while he was expecting the question of terminating the ELL paraprofessional to be handled largely in executive session, he hoped the board’s discussions and actions would be consistent with the board’s policies, and that employees in the future would be treated with more respect and dignity.
Dorsett also asked about the board’s promised review of $130,000 Bob Amick, Stacy Hudelson and Laurie Zellers had stated, in a May 2014 letter, high school principal Kim Ibach raised through grants for school programs. He was concerned this item was not on their agenda.
deVergie replied regarding the $130,000 that district Finance Director Janelle Urista had reviewed possible grants to which Amick, et.al. might have been referring. These included grants from the cemetery district, a theater improvement grant, a Fairfield Trust grant and another totaling $98,500.
Tom Allen also pointed to a $12,500 amount from the Meeker Education Foundation (MEF) this year, but it was suggested that this money came well after the period the Amick letter portended to cover.
MEF President Mary Strang spoke up to say that Dr. Ibach had nothing to do with the MEF grant.
The board felt there was no likely way a check made out to the school district could be cashed without the dollars flowing through the district administration’s books.
The board agreed that Bob Amick should be asked what grants he and the others were referring to in the 2014 letter.
deVergie reported that he is continuing to work with State Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Glenwood Springs, in establishing a forum on public school financing to be hosted by Rankin and the Meeker School District to include the Moffat County and Rangely school boards. This special meeting of the board is tentatively scheduled for the evening of July 20.
The board also approved setting a board retreat for July 24 from 1 to 5 p.m., primarily to discuss goals for the superintendent and the district’s strategic plan.