November 16, 2021 Montezuma County RE1 School Board Meeting - Briefs

By Tammy Coulon


The evening started out with a closed executive session, with the evaluation for the Superintendent Risha VanderWey.

  • Manaugh students did a presentation to the board

  • Celebrations of the Softball team are going to state and semifinals and getting coach of the year.

  • 2girls all state, 1 with honorable mention

  • Volleyball 1 and 1 at state

  • MS boy’s basketball started

  • MS play was sold out all 3 days

  • 1 golfer to state

  • Starting winter sports of basketball and wrestling

  • Facility master plans for 2019-21 working on a 3 to 5 year plan. CDE has come down and inspected buildings. The board needs to be included in discussion.

  • Mr. Parr has a new curriculum in order and should arrive any day now to go through the committee and the board. The community can look at but not take from the building. Surveys on school mergers are to go out to parents.

  • Human Resources, Mrs Eldredge We need to fix the salary schedule for the last 15 years and be able to sustain it.

There is a community partnership grant for sanitation workers which would pay $20.00 per hour, to help in the classrooms. There is a possible extension through the end of the school year. There could be 2 extra people in the elementary school, 2 in the bus transportation, 4 people at the high school. They have to be already unemployed and qualify with background checks.


  • Numbers are coming down on positive cases of Covid for our area. There are 16 active cases currently in the district.

Lis Richard is drafting a parent’s letter to put the responsibilities back on the parents. She met with the health department to give choices to the parents. They can call the health dept. We can recommend quarantine but the parent should take responsibility.

The director of Nursing Jaclyn Hall stated, serial testing requires parental consent and is all voluntary with parents' chance to opt out. Mancos is doing the testing, but Dolores opted out. District can get 2.50 per test performed. Gift card given to parents and they can opt out. This was applied for early in the year but has had several delays. There are home test kits. The incentives are used as a bribe to show up, which the Director of Nursing Jaclyn Hall says, (that's a good thing!) Students will lose 15 to 20 minutes of class time. A mobile unit will be doing the testing, which was stated, the buses here have no Bio-hazard receptacles. If we do testing we will have to follow future directives later and Jaclyn stated she / has no clue what they are (which could be hazardous!)

  • Mancos has been concerned with test results not given back to the school nurse and all the additional amount of work for staff. Masking will have to stay with all bus transportation per federal guidelines. Vaccines are available for students. It’s either everyone in a mask or all get to choose. The board is having the staff rewrite the language and is going to make the policy Mask recommended across the board with kids, staff and teachers.

Sherri Wright stated, recently all of bus transportation has had covid and mask have been worn.


Sheri Noyes stated all the work you have to do to keep on top of it all, the principals all of you, could you imagine if we would have done this with our student learning? If we documented and checked their learning as much as we did for Covid and all the symptoms. If we were checking their learning the whole time where would our students be right now? I think we are concentrating on the wrong thing. I would like to scrap the whole Covid plan altogether. Keep our kids in school, mask no mask, vaccines no vaccines. I would like to see this promoted on our district website. Everyone knows by now where to go. We need to stay out of it and educate our students. I am just saying we can simplify a lot.


  • Read act only applies to K thru 3rd grade. There is no approval list for the middle school curriculum. A committee needs to be formed for the middle school curriculum and review the modules, consisting of parents, teachers and school board members.


Tammy Hooten reported a Resolution has been passed by the state to get 35 million from the last 10 years. The rural alliances have done a lot for the district. They need to hear our voices and ask that our board, parents, teachers keep voicing their options. Tammy was the main reason the motion passed. She spoke eloquently about it. The resolution has been passed by the board and 35 million asked for the district.


  • November 30, 2021 at 6pm there will be a special board meeting to do swearing in of the new members. Also 2 students have been appointed to be vocal in board meetings. Training will take place December 3 and 4th for board training.


Citizens address the board


Cathy Clark represented the MS teachers saying thank you to the board for their support of what has been done and wanting the 4 day work week. They like possible calendars. Thank you for teacher compensation. Helps address some of the safety concerns.


Mike Lavey the Mayor of Cortez, that was in support of Black Lives Matter this last summer, and has admitted he has put a resignation letter together, but hasn’t presented it, congratulated to the board for hiring Dr VanderWey and urges you to support her decisions


Susan Kemente considered that there are not as many teachers out there, baby boomers are retiring.


Phil Casper retired educator spoke to Pleasant View School, multi age education and students suffer. That is ironies. The school conditions are always done on a 5 year cycle. When looking at a Pleasant View questioning the safety of the building. When looking for teachers you might consider Philippines Nationals.


Mary is a retired teacher, Give all teachers, parents, substitute the same, and don’t single out anyone.


Robert Moore, worker at the bus barn, invited the school board to please come to the barn to answer a ton of questions. Next year if we are getting paid for 4 days a week do we get a raise to cover that day lost? If not, the rumor has it a lot will walk.


First seeing the Superintendent reports, can they be more transparent? The board is much happier with the language of the 4 day policy that has recently been presented, and then what had been presented the last couple of years. Leave the vaccine and un-vaccinated out of it. Quit discriminating against the un-vaccinated. During the quarantine our students were so upset about activities being canceled. Have a dashboard, plan for activities before shutdown that was all unnecessary. We are talking about the mental health of the students. Did you see the upset emotions? That cannot happen again. It's not fair to the students or teachers.


Laura DeWitt's district has amazing teachers. If we do nothing different now our teachers may just feel not valued. Let’s fight to retain them to put roots down in our district. Listen to their warnings about discipline and safety and come up with solutions. Let’s approve the 4 day school week so they have the time and resources to meet the high standards set for themselves and our students. We need both short term and long term solutions. A layered strategy for Covid mitigation is universally recommended by state and national medical education organizations; other schools have implemented these with great success. We can do much better.


Paul DeWitt. I support the staff, teachers and administration and am grateful for all they do. The district had 25% turnover and a 30% below state average on pay. The board is responsible for getting reliable information from responsible resources. All schools are implementing national best practices on school safety.


Kristen public health nurse, Supports the 4 day week and the Universal masking for all and social distancing.


The Board of Education is going to do a Christmas party December 17 for staff and teachers, with one guest, as a thank you from 6 to10 at the American Legion. Invitations have gone out and RSVP by December 3rd. There will be Door prizes. (If we listen, there again this is all commending our staff and teachers. Where are the kids in all of this?)

The district is considering a community outreach to get more transparency with the board and community, possibly will hold a coffee with the community.


  • Healthy Kids survey motion was to not accept. The board has received no feedback on the surveys. The board knew nothing about these surveys until a couple of months ago through an email they received. Principals have received information on the surveys, the board would like to see the old surveys and revisit at the next meeting. (There again, the kids should come first over these organizations bringing in grants to move forward with the agenda through the United Nations. It was said by a teacher from the High School, the students don’t enjoy the survey and the prospective behind the questions of this survey, meanwhile, disrupting their minds.


There was a Motion to discuss and research 3 possible options on school mergers and or consolidations.)


  • The 4 day spring calendar voted yes, Graduation date stayed the same and the rest of the students will go one more week.

Staff bonus option B. All staff was promised a 3% raise for hazard pay by the previous Superintendent in a letter. The board needs to make good on it, even though they were not aware of it. 3% to all staff long term subs. Coaches to get $250.00 per coached activity.


Sherri Wright voted no on per activity coached.


The District wants to do a $5000K sign on bonus to Special Ed teachers; this will go to the discussion item for the next meeting.


Reference to Citizens guide to remove matrix on mask mandate keep it optional. Risha is to rewrite since one reported positive case could close schools. To be revisited at the next meeting.


Removal of mask mandates except for bus transportation. Teachers and staff can be by choice.


School closures and cancellations to do a rewrite to the policies to be amended the Superintendent can close for an emergency but has to contact the board.

  • Pinon project MOU passed

  • Montezuma School to farm MOU passed

  • Next item agendas

  • November 30 Special meeting for new board members swear in.

  • December 14 work session

  • January 18 board meeting

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