School board shares student successes

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MEEKER | President Bud Ridings led the Meeker Board of Education into its first regular meeting of 2018 at 7 p.m., Jan. 16. Shortly after convening, High School Principal Amy Chinn was asked to present the student celebrations she brought with her: the first installment of “senior successes.” She set forth nine students who already think they have their plans and primary scholarships in sight for their foray into the college world next fall. In doing so, she credited the senior seminar course ongoing this semester, taught by school counselor Tina K. Smith, with helping students optimize their college choices and scholarship potentials.
The students, their plans and scholarships, included Taylor Dodds, Dodge City (KS) Community College, softball scholarship, hoping to pursue early childhood education; Maddie Arnold, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona, or Wyoming, for political science with hopes of going to law school thereafter; Jacob Pelloni, who expects to have his associate degree by the time he graduates in May, to CNCC for the flight program; Avery Watt, Altoona Campus of Pennsylvania State University, for kinesiology and athletic trainer education; Elissa Quinteros, University of Northern Colorado or Adams State University for elementary teaching, as a first generation college entrant; Sember Leatham, BYU, final 500 (out of 15,000) through the Quest Bridge nine-school, multiple-college application process designed to assist with financial aid; Sierra Williams, BYU, high scoring after much work on ACT testing, and also a Colorado Boettcher Scholar semi-finalist; Shelby Steele, Colorado Mesa University, first generation student scholarship and in line for dance scholarship; and Macy Collins, Hutchinson Community College, Kans., full-ride livestock judging scholarship, in pursuit of a bachelor’s from a four-year school in animal science, and then a master’s in animal genetics possibly followed by further graduate work. Josie Drussell, who was unable to attend the meeting, was also celebrated as a Quest Bridge Scholar having obtained a super four-year full-ride scholarship in pre-med at the University of Virginia.
The board gave final approval to the current 2017–2018 school year budget. The approved budget includes projected total expenditures of $7.25 million, revenues of $6.91 million, and a deficit of $340,000 (all figures rounded). The previous two school years had total expenditures of $6.3 million and $7.1 million. The board is making an effort to spend down their budget reserve fund.
In budget related matters, the board approved an increase in pay for activity bus drivers which they felt have been underpaid. The new rate for activity drivers is $15.76 per hour. In policy, the board approved, on third and final reading, a slightly revised policy on student transportation by school staff in private vehicles.
On personnel matters, the board accepted resignations from food service workers Cindy Nelson, director, and Roberta Kinnamon. Approved hires were middle school wrestling coaches Todd Morris, head, and Chris Selle, assistant; high school track coaches John Strate, head, along with assistants Greg Cravens, Terrence Casias, and Heather Burke, as well as volunteers Shane Phelan, Kris Casey and Coley Turner; high school baseball coaches Brian Merrifield, head, and Donald Blazon, assistant; and route/activity bus driver Robert Johnson. Johnson attended the meeting in order to meet the board.
At their next work session, Feb. 6, the board expects to discuss changing its meeting night from the first and third Tuesdays to other nights. One of their concerns is the number of other boards meeting on those same Tuesday nights like the Meeker Recreation District board, town council and hospital board.