by Gretchen Orr
WALSENBURG— The RE-1 Board of Education met in a marathon session Tuesday night, with four executive sessions and numerous action items on the agenda.
After the first executive session, on a vote of 6-1, the school board decided to expel 19 year old Jonathan Guerrero, for the remainder of the 2013 school year. The board will provide Guerrero with an alternative program, which if completed successfully, will allow Guerrero to graduate with a high school diploma. The expulsion means he is also prohibited from school events and grounds.
The board also met in executive session with regard to another student issue, which is still pending resolution. No further information was revealed.
The third and fourth sessions dealt with the renewal of principal contracts for the next year. In unanimous decisions, the board renewed the contracts of Peakview principal Pat McDonald and and JMHS principal George Purnell for the 2013-2014 school year.
Several students were recognized for recent accomplishments, both athletic and academic. John Mall wrestlers, Lorenzo Trujillo, John Paul Vigil, Jacob Pino, their head coach, Josh Vialpando, and volunteer coaches Eric Vialpando and Gino Trujillo, were recognized for their trip to the state wrestling tournament.
The board also acknowledged Ashley Garcia who represented John Mall in the 50 member Arkansas Valley Honor Band for her flute playing and Victoria Garcia who sang with the 70 member Arkansas Valley Honor Choir. Both young women are freshman and told the board they received their music weeks in advance and rehearsed diligently to try out. Once chosen, they spent over eight hours in preparation for a one hour performance. JMHS band director Elizabeth Brown and Christina Gonzales, a volunteer who accompanied the students, were also acknowledged.
Theresa McCain with Gardner School reported the school had been busy with their older students reading to their reading buddies and to their PALS. “PALS” is a program where community volunteers come into the schools to read to students, and to be read to by students. In celebration of Dr. Seuss, the younger students made and wore their Lorax hats while the older kids read Dr. Suess books to them.
McCain also reported, in celebration of 100 days of school, the 1st and 2nd graders wrote stories on what they will be doing when they are 100 years old. Finally, McCain reported she is concerned about the junior high wrestlers who are missing academic time to participate in tournaments.
High school principal George Purnell reported on the Voices of the Past program held at the school last week and was pleased about the community involvement. He thanked everyone who worked so hard to make it a huge success. Parent teacher conferences are March 15th from 10 am to 6 pm. Purnell also reported art teacher, Laurel Fulton is requesting permission to take 15 students on an overnight trip for the Arts Jubilee on April 9-10 at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwill OK, which is a four hour trip. The students will take their art projects for critique and possible cash prizes earning awards for excellence. The art program and students will pay their own expense. The board approved the trip.
Pat McDonald also reported on TCAP which will take two weeks to complete. He also talked about Title I and possible funding cutbacks in the program, depending on federal cutbacks.
In other action items, the board gave conditional approval for the head track coach, depending on who will accept the position. The board also accepted, with regret, the resignations of teachers Cheree Philpy and Brooke Remmert.
The final piece of information in the 4 hour meeting included appointing the DAAC committee to the 1338 (staff and principal evaluation) committee and adding Joseph Harmes to the substitute custodian list.