Meetings watch: Portales Municipal Schools Board of Education
January 12, 2017
The following were actions taken at the Portales Municipal Schools Board of Education meeting Monday in the L.C. Cozzens Administrative Offices Building:
• An informational report about how the Three Rivers Education Foundation works with Portales schools was presented to the board by Regional Director DeAnna Davis.
According to Davis, TREF provides services including mobile libraries, professional development, classroom book sets and tutoring through a grant called Building Communities that Support Children’s Reading.
“We want to help kids read well through school, home and community support. We think it needs to be a whole effort, so we’re trying to impact that,” she said.
The region of New Mexico that Davis serves — which includes Portales, Clovis, Texico and Floyd — saw 64 tutors working for $40 an hour in 2016. Each tutor had approximately three students from kindergarten to eighth grade, but she reported that pre-kindergarten and high school students would be tutored in 2017.
Tutors served 256 students in the last school semester, with 16 free libraries throughout the region and 76 classroom book sets checked out by teachers, according to Davis.
“Our goal is for more kids reading, and for more kids reading better,” she said.
• Board members approved a resolution to declare certain fixed assets obsolete and authorize auction, donation or disposal.
According to Superintendent Johnnie Cain, the list included nearly 20-year-old servers.
• Board members approved a fixed disposal list not requiring approval by the state auditor.
• Board members approved a resolution to submit budget adjustment requests.
According to Cain, the resolution, which has been submitted by the board for the past several years, allows Portales Municipal Schools to carry over money from budget changes between now and the end of the school year.
“What we’ve done in the past, over the last several years, is we do this, I approve those, then we bring them for ratification to the next board meeting for your approval at that time,” he said.
• Board members approved out-of-state travel for a special education award trip to the Science Spectrum in Lubbock.
“This is just an awards trip for those kiddos who have done well in the special ed department, and they take this trip annually,” Cain said.
• In his personnel report, Cain announced three new hires to the school district and one resignation.
Jaylynn Cook was hired as a math teacher at Portales Junior High School, Emily Roberts as a kindergarten teacher at Brown Early Childhood Center, and Alisa Garrett as a purchasing specialist at the PMS Central Office.
Portales High School health teacher Pam Lynn submitted her resignation, effective Jan. 31.
• Board members voted to reject an award of audit services to RPC CPAs for the 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 fiscal years.
The action resulted from board members’ concerns that a local business was not being tapped for audit services.
“I believe that we need to consider hiring firms from our local people. I don’t think there’s that much difference. I know that the points (on RPC’s evaluation) are quite a lot different, but I believe that I cannot vote in favor of an out-of-town firm,” board member Mary Lou Rowley said.
Board member Rod Savage agreed with Rowley.
“If we’re going to ask our local taxpayers to support us, then we should in turn try to let the taxpayers profit from our decisions,” he said.
Cain said that the district would send out another request for proposal, a process that it would have until March to complete.
• Board members approved 10 budget adjustment requests, including a $315,681 decrease in operational funding.
According to Finance Director Sarah Marquez, the decrease stemmed from a decision by the legislature that funding across public schools in New Mexico would be cut.
“They’re just going to reduce our SEG (state equalization guarantee) payments from here to the rest of the year,” she said.
• Board members approved the payment of bills and expenditures.
• After convening in executive session, board members voted to grant Cain a two-year contract for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
No changes were made to Cain’s current contract, according to Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Julie Miller.
— Compiled by Staff Writer Eamon Scarbrough