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Re-1 School District looks at getting bank loan

by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG- Tuesday evening was the first time newly-hired Superintendant Michael Doyle sat in “the Big Chair” and made his recommendations to the Re-1 School Board.

    Doyle told the Board that they needed to come up with $250,000 to $500,000 fairly quickly to be used as matching money for various grants, pertaining to the new athletic field.

    Re-1 Grant Writer Gaye Davis has several grants lined up to continue work on the project, but without matching funds from the school district, they will expire in August.

    Doyle wanted the approval of the Board to pursue getting a “short-term bridge loan” from a regional bank, up to $500,000.

    This amount would get the field done, but not the entire sports complex, which will cost upwards of $1.5 million dollars.  That amount was left for some future fund-raising effort.

    Doyle stressed that if the loan is given, it could be used as a line of credit, and may not even need to be used, depending on how grant funding goes; or conversely, they might need all of it.

    The hope that USAPartners will come through with funding, to whom the School District gave $50,000 as seed money to generate grants for the sports complex, is growing dim.  The Board has repeatedly extended a drop deadline with the company, as they always seem to be on the verge of landing grant money.  However, since the final, final drop deadline of August 1 was announced, there has been no word from USAP.

    “It’s been my experience that you’re going to have a hard time getting your money back,” Doyle told the Board.  “You mean probably just flushed $50,000 away?” asked Board member Erin Jerant.  “Probably yes,” Doyle replied. 

    In other Board business,  the Board did not accept Doyle’s first recommendation of Adam Vigil as the High School football coach, but unanimously accepted his second choice of Ken Berger.  All other coaching recommendations were accepted.  Interviews for an Athletic Director will take place this Monday.

    The Board accepted the resignations of Chuck Smithey (see related article, page 6) and Rodney Smith, and approved the hiring of two teachers.  Patricia Martinez was also re-hired as Peakview Principal.