School Board Meeting Update
The Española School Board met Thursday night for their regularly scheduled Board meeting. Community members and teachers were on hand to welcome new lead teachers in various schools throughout the District. Superintendent Bobbie Guiterrez noted that unlike School District’s of comparable size with more than 20 teacher vacancies, Española Public Schools were only short 8 teachers at this point in the year. Guiterrez expressed her concern and noted that arrangements were being made to access additional resources to fill these positions. After weeks of discussion and some confusion regarding why the minimum wage of all District hourly employees wasn’t raised last year, the Board officially approved salary increases to $10 an hour.
(Jon Petersen addresses the Board – VDP Photo)
San Juan Elementary PAC Vice President Jon Petersen was in attendance once again to discuss structural problems with San Juan Elementary. During previous meetings, Petersen was very vocal about a lack of capital improvement projects to the Elementary and the unbearable learning conditions students were forced to deal with on a daily basis. Petersen expressed concern, “I don’t want it crumbling around my children. You’re holding our kids back by keeping a campus that is falling down around them.” Although Petersen noted some repairs had been done, the large bulk of the complaints he sent in over a year ago had yet to be addressed. Facilities Manager Adan Cordova explained that the roof was causing a bulk of the issues cited by Petersen. He went on to explain that the roof would need to be completely replaced in parts and they are working getting bids to present at a future School Board meeting. School Board Vice President Lucas Fresquez and Member Ruben Archuleta again expressed frustration with the lack of response to Petersen’s claims and ordered staff to do some research on improvements to the Elementary and respond to each of Petersen’s maintenance requests.
Guiterrez was excited to introduce the new head teacher at Velarde Elementary School, Philip Seamus and asked the Board to honor the request of current Velarde parents to meet with the Board and discuss future plans for Velarde and get feedback from new parents who are unaware of the backstory behind the school’s potential closing. The Board agreed to sit down with parents during a Special Board meeting soon and would do that prior to refilling for closure.
Guiterrez was excited to announce that thanks to the new Pre-K, enrollment numbers were up this school year and that the portables had been delivered and Freshman would return to Española Valley High School on Tuesday. Guiterrez was happy to report that all staff in the administration office have had background checks and that the District has already submitted the appropriate policies’ to the State to prove compliance with new requests.