The failed mill levy ballot measure was on everyone’s mind Tuesday night at the monthly meeting of the Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 School Board.
However, the newest development in the district is its improved accreditation status, which was celebrated and discussed at the meeting.
“We have two ways to celebrate: One is with the community; but also what do we want to do that is special for the staff in our industry because this is a very large accomplishment,” Superintendent Lori Haukeness, said.
Board President Jack Schuenemeyer added that he felt a “cloud” had hung above the board for their eight years on “turnaround” accreditation status, and that cloud has lifted.
“This is a really significant achievement, and it didn’t happen by accident,” he said.
“It happened because of a lot of work by a lot of people.”
The board unanimously passed a resolution to sell the retired Montezuma-Cortez High School property to the city of Cortez for $354,000.
Haukeness reported that the building is scheduled to be fully abated by spring 2018.
The board also approved a resolution to sell the Calkins property to Calkins Redevelopment, being represented by a third party, the County of Montezuma, a Colorado housing authority.
The resolution was passed unanimously to sell the property for $265,000.
The board unanimously passed a capital reserve resolution in the amount of $10,937 to replace half the blinds at Mesa Elementary after a state fire inspection.
“They had actual curtains that they have made, and they were deemed a fire hazard,” Haukeness told the board. “They were being very thoughtful, knowing that our capital reserve was being drawn down, to go with the amount that they truly need when in reality all the blinds need replaced.”
The board celebrated achievements by students in the district, including the Marching Panthers’ placement at state competitions and the high school and middle school students’ participation at a concert at Fort Lewis College. Schuenemeyer also praised the middle school’s play “Into the Woods, Jr.” and the high school’s “Noises Off.”
Schuenemeyer said that he did not hear one actor or actress mess up a line throughout the performance of “Noises Off.” “It wasn’t a first-class high school play; it was a first-class play, period,” he said.
The board also recognized the retirement of School District D Director Eric Whyte by presenting him with a plaque.
“We have top-notch people, and they do several different jobs with the board,” Whyte said. “I wish you all much success. I will miss this, but not that much,” he added to applause and laughter.
Director of Human Resources Dan Porter reported “four or five” district resignations.
“It continues to be an issue for us,” Porter said. “The latest we had was yesterday. She called me crying and said she had lost her babysitter and can’t afford to pay for one and that it was cheaper for her to stay home than to keep working.”
Porter also said the district has “great” substitutes getting emergency licensing to fill positions.
Board members also held a lengthy discussion about the district plans in light of the failed mill levy, how it might campaign for revenue and what it might cut from its school programs.
“I think right now we have education at the forefront in the community. We just need to keep it there,” Haukeness said.