The Dolores School District Re-4A on April 12 met in executive session with Superintendent Scott Cooper, then unanimously accepted the resignation of athletic director and football coach Chris Trusler.
Kaari Milligin, Trusler’s assistant, volunteered to head up an athletic committee of seven to nine members to manage the district’s athletics department.
The board also viewed a presentation of the school’s “project-based” learning,” heard a school security report from Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin and revisited the question of ending Cooper’s contract.
A standing room-only crowd of about 100 parents, residents and students gathered in the Dolores High School Commons for the board meeting, in which Trusler’s resignation was high on the agenda.
About halfway through the meeting, board member Deanna Truelsen moved to enter executive session to discuss “personnel matters,” then amended her motion to include Cooper.
The crowd responded with cheers and applause when the announcement was made.
After about 45 minutes, the board exited executive session, and board President Dee Prock requested that a committee be formed to handle sports “in light of the resignation of our AD.”
She also said that some recommendations were made in the meeting with Cooper, but that board members could not comment on executive sessions.
When audience members asked about Cooper’s potential dismissal or resignation, he responded, “No comment.”
When asked by The Journal about Trusler’s resignation, Cooper responded that it was for the term of his contract, which expires at the end of the year.
When asked whether Trusler would work at the school until then, Cooper again responded, “No comment.”
Other board businessAt the beginning of the meeting, students and teachers gave presentations to celebrate achievements in “project-based” learning. Students in second grade through high school gave presentations, and teachers gave a presentation citing learning achievements and higher graduation rates. The executive session followed a somewhat heated and confusing discussion about the district’s status in the Colorado High School Activities Association, the governing body of high school sports in the state. That question was largely unanswered Thursday. Several speakers claimed that the district had withdrawn from CHSAA. Cooper said that he couldn’t recall making such a decision, and the board members denied knowing about one. But on Friday, Bert Borgmann, assistant commissioner of CHSAA, told The Journal that the district is still a member of CHSAA. According to Borgmann, only the football program has been classified under an “independent status.”Nowlin gave the Student Resource Officer report for the district, noting that there have been eight Safe-to-Tell reports since the beginning of April. He asked parents to monitor their students’ social media for cyber bullying.Some members of the audience voiced concern about a reported investigation into the school-based health clinic.
Cooper said that he has been in contact with District Attorney Will Furse, and was informed that there is “absolutely no investigation going on.”
The board plans to discuss the health clinic at next month’s meeting.
“We have been told we are going to get a report on that from Sheriff Nowlin, and that it will be discussed at the next meeting in May,” Prock said. “We have not received any information as board members specifically, besides the concept that there is an investigation.”
Audience members also asked about the possible termination of Cooper’s contract, motioned by Casey McClellan during March’s meeting. The motion died on the floor at that meeting after not receiving a second.“Tonight we had an executive session with the board and the superintendent, and that is something that I cannot discuss in public,” Prock said.
The board passed other action items as a consent agenda. It included approving the hiring of custodian Roberto Torres-Baca, substitute custodians Kenzie Myers and Renamae John, middle school language arts teacher Erica Rhinehart and middle school math teacher Caitlin Houser. The board also approved an additional math position for the secondary school.The board approved the resignation of high school special education teacher Patrick Priest, secondary SPED Para Monica Michel and fourth-grade teacher Desirae Bellairs.The school board adjourned the meeting at 9:06 p.m. Its next monthly meeting is May 10.