The Mancos School District RE-6 board discussed a wide array of construction and policy issues at its meeting Monday night.
Not surprisingly, the school’s $25 million expansion project took center stage.
The playground continues to be delayed, but owner’s representative Monty Guiles said equipment was expected to arrive this month and in October.
Elementary students currently spend recess mostly at Boyle Park, said Principal Cathy Epps. And because of construction work, bused students must walk around the school’s exterior to and from the school’s temporary entrance behind the school.
Construction noise also has been disruptive, and some teachers have moved students to other classrooms, she said.
“It’s a challenge, during testing and all that,” Epps said.
So far, $4.5 million of the $25 million budget has been spent, said district business manager Chrissie Miller. “At this stage of construction, we are at 15 percent of completion,” she added in an email Tuesday. “As far as the budget, we have invoiced 18 percent of the total budget.”
A majority of the funding – $19.7 million out of the projected $25 million – comes from the Building Excellent Schools Today grant, which was awarded to the Mancos School District primarily to address safety issues. About $5 million comes from a voter-approved bond measure.
Miller also reported that the district has $300,000 in carry-over funds, which Superintendent Brian Hanson suggested using, at least in part, for an additional parking lot. The funding would fall outside the BEST grant and bond and would come from the general fund.
Hanson told board members that the Mancos Marshal’s Office has notified administrators that street parking has become congested, and board members agreed that the lot would complement the expansion project and avoid future problems.
“I couldn’t agree more, and the opportunity probably will never come up again,” Hanson said.
Otherwise, Guiles described the expansion project as “construction as usual.”
“Everything looks fine,” he said. “Nothing is jumping out there.”
Guiles said that although small design costs have surfaced, they fall within the budget.
He added that carpet has been laid in the high school, and walls should be painted next week.
New gymnasium is star of facilities tourDuring a tour of new facilities before the 7 p.m. board meeting, plans for the new gymnasium struck a sentimental note with board members who remembered their time in the gym, and looked forward to time in the remodeled historic gym.
Board secretary Pamela Coppinger, a former Mancos student, wanted to know whether the windows would be restored to the gym’s walls. Guiles responded that builders are considering frosted glass, which would provide indirect light to the gym. Currently, windows are a reasonably priced option to the master plan, Guiles said.
Board president Blake Mitchell said he hoped to have a section of the gym’s wood floor.
The gymnasium is being lengthened substantially to add an ADA-compliant lobby with restrooms and ticket and concessions space at the front entrance and wrestling, locker, coaches and weight rooms at the back.
Space for temporary wrestling practice during the construction has not yet been pinned down.
Guiles added that the athletic field should be ready for spring practice, with the exception of asphalt for the track.
Among the milestones that Guiles touted was the installation of the footbridge that crosses the Mancos River from behind the school to the athletic field and the FFA garden.
“The bridge is up, and it’s a lovely bridge at that,” he said.
What about a School to Farm garden?Board director Tim Hunter interjected that some residents are still uncertain about plans for a School to Farm garden, which was dismantled and stored as construction began. He emphasized that the board supports a garden, and Epps added that School to Farm will teach a class indoors and that an FFA garden is planned.
Hanson pointed out that there is no grant or bond money for the School to Farm garden and that funding would come from next year’s budget.
Proposed policies touch on security, meals, staffBoard members also got started on a first reading of proposed policies and regulations from the Colorado Association of School Boards. The 35 items inspired discussion on policies about school security, nutrition programs, administration of medical marijuana and parental notification of district employees who face criminal charges.
Coppinger wondered whether some policies, such as the nutrition and wellness policies, might clash with family and personal values and how the school might allow for that.
“When it comes to nutrition, it’s probably true,” Hanson said. “I think this is something that the wellness committee can tackle.”
The proposed policy of video and audio monitoring was discussed briefly. The schools aren’t required to monitor staff and students with video and audio and do not, Hanson said. External security cameras and buzz-in doors are in place now, and more are coming as construction advances, he said.
Hanson recommended that the board accept the updated policy that allows video cameras on transportation vehicles including buses, though cameras may not be in place.
The new and required policy on school meal payments was tabled until the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 8. The proposed policy would encourage parents to prepay for their students’ meals, but if their account ran short of funds, their student would be allowed to eat from the school’s regular menu. At the end of a year, the unpaid balance could be sent to collections.
During discussion of the proposed policy on administering medical marijuana, Hanson clarified that only parents and guardians would administer the marijuana to students, and that no marijuana would be stored on campus.
BOCES update reveals potential move to CortezBoard director Boe Hawkins, giving an update on San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services, announced that the board is considering moving to Cortez from its office in Dolores.
The BOCES office, which serves students with disabilities in Dolores, Dove Creek, Cortez and Mancos, is looking at Cortez in part to cut costs and travel time. A work session is planned to consider its options for selling or leasing the Dolores office on Sixth Street.
Board approves $96,000 in tech spendingThe five-member board voted unanimously on recommendations to:
Purchase 115 new Chromebooks for students ($41,200), 19 new laptops for K-12 staff ($19,900), three new photo copiers for staff ($35,000) and a cleaner for the new carpet ($2,944), using capital reserves.The Chromebook purchase brings students to a “one-to-one” basis, Hanson said.
Approve the updated substitute list and middle school basketball and Knowledge Bowl coaches.Approve on first reading the new proposed policies and regulations, excluding a policy on school meal payments, which has been tabled for discussion on Oct. 8; and a regulation for staff conduct, which was removed.The meeting adjourned at 8:56 p.m.
Presentation of a financial audit was scheduled for the Oct. 8 meeting.
The following meeting was scheduled for Nov. 19.