The Mancos School District Re-6 hopes to improve its working relationship with Pueblo Community College and smooth the concurrent enrollment process for district students.
The first Mancos school board meeting of the 2019-20 school year kicked off with a visit from the new PCC dean, who was invited by board director Tim Hunter. Samuel “Sam” Dosumu introduced himself, and then listened to concerns and comments by staff – particularly regarding costs and scheduling conflicts for Mancos students.
“I want you to hear from our staff, why I say we’ve had problems in those areas,” Hunter said. He added that PCC has a responsibility to take care of local high school students.
“That college was put together from monies from all school districts,” he said. “We built that school.”
PCC Southwest is along U.S. Highway 160 between Cortez and Mancos and primarily serves Montezuma, Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata and San Juan counties.
Dosumu officially began his new job July 1. He recently retired as the associate vice chancellor of academic affairs for the Maricopa County Community College District in Arizona.
Earlier, he served as an instructor at Front Range Community College and has held leadership positions at San Juan College, Hawkeye Community College in Iowa, and Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College in North Carolina.
At the Aug. 20 meeting, Dosumu emphasized his experience in Arizona and at San Juan College in Farmington. He also spoke of his desire to grow the concurrent enrollment program, which allows local students to take classes at the community college.
“My goal is to really expand that and do more of that,” Dosumu said. “And at the same time, for PCC to be a bridge for a lot of kids, going from high school to university.”
Tiffany Aspromonte, an academic adviser for the secondary school, voiced some issues that she has seen students have with PCC programming.
A major concern is the high cost of courses and materials, she said, and that students can accrue fees for services they can’t use, such as recreation.
Re-6 will pay students’ tuition if they meet certain guidelines, Aspromonte said.
“But if they chose to take more than what we pay for, then they’re paying the extra tuition plus the fees out of pocket,” she said. “And especially for your technical trades – those are great programs and we need those, because you are the only place close that offers them. However, it is a fraction of the cost for our students to go to Farmington.”
She also noted that lapsed communication has sometimes led to students enrolling in a class and then finding out that it was canceled – PCC starts a few weeks later than Mancos.
“We’re stuck scrambling to put a student back on campus,” Aspromonte said.
Also on the scheduling front, Superintendent Brian Hanson pointed out that because of the small size of the school district, Mancos students don’t always have the same time flexibility as those in Cortez.
“If I’ve got an Algebra 2 kid, and one Algebra 2 teacher, and one period a day, that’s what they have to take,” Hanson said.
There isn’t an easy solution, he said, but he suggested that the two school systems collaborate on schedules before classes begin.
Dosumu said he would like to continue the conversation and that this is a good time to discuss future scheduling, since PCC plans out their classes a year in advance.