Montezuma-Cortez School Board names new officers

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 11:35 AM
Montezuma-Cortez School Board members speak with constituents during a meet-and-greet session at Montezuma-Cortez High School on Tuesday night.
Brian Balfour, Jack Schuenemeyer, Sherri Noyes and Kara Suckla pose after being sworn in for their terms. Each won re-election in the Nov. 7 election.

In a meeting Tuesday night, the Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 School Board appointed new officers, briefly discussed the budget and held a meet-and-greet session with the audience.

Sherri Wright was nominated by Tammy Hooten and appointed as the new board president, replacing Jack Schuenemeyer. Sheri Noyes was nominated by Wright and appointed vice president, replacing Eric Whyte, who has resigned. Hooten was nominated by Wright and named board treasurer. Kara Suckla was nominated by Noyes and named secretary.

Suckla nominated Phylis Lockhart as secretary to the board. Lockhart was appointed by unanimous voice vote.

Josiah Forkner was absent.

The board plans to review the 2018 budget at its meeting on Dec. 19. Wright said she is working with Finance Director Carla Hoehn to produce a basic financial plan for the public.

Wright said she hopes the new budget will show district residents that the board has no hidden money.

“Title monies come from the federal government, and we can only use it the way that they are given to us,” Wright said. “The general fund comes from taxpayers and the state, and that goes in the day-to-day running of a school. And then capital reserve is if we need a new roof on a school, that would come out of that, and we are required by law to have that.”

Less than a month after district voters rejected the board’s proposed property tax increase, Noyes said she and board members would work to regain the district’s trust.

“I just see that we are going to move forward in a positive, good direction and any way that I can help,” Noyes said. “Being the vice president is not going to change my way of thinking. It is all just to get us all out of this lack of trust from the community and just win some of that trust back and get things rolling where our district needs to be.”

Wright said she sees her new position as board president as that of a facilitator. She said she will meet with Superintendent Lori Haukeness and bring that information to the board.

“Teachers answer to principals, principals answer to Lori, Lori answers to us,” Wright said. “Our job is not to find the negative; we only find the positive.”

Wright said she hopes to be transparent, have better communication and make sure the district’s students are educated well.

About 10 people attended the board’s meet-and-greet.

Among them was Jeanne Stiegelmeyer, who expressed her opposition to the mill levy in a popular post on The Journal’s Facebook page days before the election.

“I was in opposition to the mill levy and voiced my opinion through a letter to the editor, and so I decided if I am going to voice my opinion about something like that, then I need to come and be educated and learn how the system works,” Stiegelmeyer said.

Ballot Measure 3B asked voters to increase property tax revenues by 4.96 mills a year, about $2.7 million for collection in 2018, and by whatever amounts the tax increase generated each following year. It stated that the revenue was to be deposited in the district’s general fund and used for purposes approved by the board, including buses, technology and salaries. Nearly 80 percent of the $2.7 million had been assigned to staff salaries. Voters rejected the mill levy, 55 percent to 45 percent.

The board is now composed of:

President Wright, director of District C. Her seat was not up for election on Nov. 7.Vice President Noyes, director of District F. She won re-election over challenger Geof Byerly on Nov. 7.Treasurer Hooten, director of District E. In October, she was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Peter Montano, who announced his retirement in August.Secretary Suckla, director of District G. She was re-elected unopposed on Nov. 7.Brian Balfour, director of District A. He defeated challenger Tiffany Cheney on Nov. 7.Schueunemeyer, director of District B. He was re-elected unopposed on Nov. 7.Forkner, director of District D. He was elected unopposed to fill Whyte’s position. He was absent on Tuesday because of a visit to Colorado Springs and will be sworn in at the district office next week, according to Lockhart, who is secretary to Haukeness.