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Re-2 receives grant, more donations

by Shane Clouse
LA VETA — The La Veta Board of Education (LVBOE) began its meeting on Monday, Nov. 26 with Superintendent Bree Lesser thanking the board for being “particularly committed” in attending all meetings possible.
The LVBOE has been undergoing a policy review with the final approval of the revised policy set for February 8, 2013.
The board then received a donation from the CO-OP Shop presented by LVBOE Director Analee Hickey. Hickey took the opportunity to thank her “frequent” customers, those who attended the auction at the end of the year, and both Paradise Coffee and Alys’ Restaurant for providing the refreshments for that auction. The auction raised $350 with a total donation of $550. Hickey said she would like to see the money go toward a greenhouse project, but would let the wellness committee decide how to use it.
The LVBOE was informed of the approval of a grant request sent to the Intragency Oversight Group (IOG) with offices at the Family Resource Center located in Walsenburg. Last year the IOG funded Re-2 through SB-1451 to assist in paying for an aide for the kindergartners’ classroom.
This year’s request, and subsequent approval, for $34,542.03 will assist in programs for the pre-school/ kindergartner Dinosaur Classroom Program, a social/emotional curriculum, and for an Early Childhood Parent Program, an interactive method engaging parents, children, and their teachers. The funds will also aide the middle/high school with the Check and Connect Program, which includes a mentor-to-monitor absences, tardiness, problem solving, and skill building.
The board also learned of the second anonymous donation received this year. Earlier this year the district received $50,000 to be spent in any way. The current substantial donation was received to be spent within the realm of professional development. When the Huerfano World Journal asked Superintendent Lessar the amount of the donation, she replied, “I cannot say at this time.”
Lessar went on to say the donation is to be used primarily for continuing education for the teachers, as well as for ensuring teachers feel supported. The teachers have been asked to put together a “wish list”. So far that list includes a document camera that works like a projector for any object and a trip for the elementary teachers to Colorado’s International Reading Conference. Because of budget cuts, the district has not been able to send their educators to this conference for the past three years.
In other news, the board heard of another volunteer. Susan Peirce, a retired educator with 32 years of experience, will volunteer 12 hours per week to help the elementary grades as a literacy coach. At this time the school uses the Basil method and will change over to a workshop model that began its implementation in 1998. It is believed Re-2 can achieve School of Excellence with this model. Hickey commented about the luck of the district, “It’s amazing we have all these people with all this talent donating their time.”
The LVBOE also heard an update from Facilities Manager Gaye Davis. The renovation of the playground is moving forward. Although the district did not receive a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GoCo), they have been encouraged by GoCo to reapply in March. The district does have $100,000 for the project and the equipment has been ordered.
The fire escape at the high school was a topic of discussion. Installed in the early 1980s, it is rusted and deteriorating.
The LVBOE approved moving forward with an application for an Energy and Impact Assistance Program (EIAP) grant. The EIAP has been dormant for the past couple of years to help the state balance the budget, but has been reinstated. The district will ask for monies to assist with the fire escape, drainage (water runs off the back parking lot and sits on the foundation of the buildings) and the bleachers.
The front row of the bleachers has been broken and shored up with weights from the weight room. For a better temporary fix, Wayne Smith, a local welder, will weld the front row while the floor in the gym is being refinished during the Christmas break.
The district has a surplus of books, desks, and other supplies and they want to retire the old blue truck used in the maintenance department as well. There is nothing in the policy book to determine how to get rid of the property. The district will consult with the Colorado Association of School Boards to see if there is a set policy.
The LVBOE will meet on December 11 to certify the mill levy for the next year, even if there are no changes to it. The public meeting will be at the school library at 5:45 pm before the K-4th grade Christmas concert.