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Superintendent Lessar struck speechless by sizeable donation

by Shane Clouse
LA VETA — The RE-2 La Veta School District Board meeting started with a presentation by four of Mrs. Ortivez’s students. Jose Aguirre, Kalynn Palmer, Cassie Bleu, and Olivia Krinsky who presented a slide show depicting the 5th and 6th grade field trip to the Carlsbad Caverns.
For each picture in the slides, the students described what the board was seeing. They were able to give the board scientific explanations regarding the cave’s features. The kids thanked the board for the opportunity to, “make memories that will last a lifetime.” Ortivez praised the students by saying, “we have the greatest kids in Colorado.” She went on to say that the kids were quieter than most of the adults there.
The board then heard from Gaye Davis who presented a plan to revamp the playground. The intention is to get the kids off Garland Street and into the playground. The plan was put together by school architect Don Spencer had valuable input from elementary teachers as well as some high school students.
The plan for the playground includes climbing blocks, a basketball court, and a soccer field. With some of the current equipment set to be removed this summer, Davis said, “We fit every concern, need and grade level.” The approximate $350,000 price tag is to be paid for by grants that are due to be turned in within the next two months.
Superintendent Bree Lessar announced the district has received a donation in the amount of $50,000.
The anonymous donor said that she was so impressed with the performance of the schools, she felt compelled to donate. The school regularly receives donations, but not of this magnitude. Lessar said she is never at a loss for words, but when she looked at the donation, she was “speechless.” There will be future discussions about where to spend the money.
In other news, the board accepted the resignation of music teacher Jacqueline Danzig with great regret and best wishes.
The board also heard an update on the bat situation. Lessar has been keeping watch to see if the bats have moved back into the school.
Although a few bats have nested on the sides of the building, there has been no breach into the school’s attic.
The Division of Wildlife Officer Kevin Madler has been assisting with wildlife mitigation. With the school being the largest producer of trash in La Veta, bear issues will be a concern.
The board then heard an update on the issue of Garland street. Lessar and Davis have met with the town board to discuss the different suggestions. The board is expecting a favorable review from CDOT and will hold a special meeting on May 31 to confer with the town board.
An update was given regarding the big white bus that is affectionately called “The Spirit.” The 2007 Bluebird has a CAT motor in it that has a catalytic converter that should burn the diesel cleaner. At times the bus must pull over to let the motor burn the excess diesel. This causes the cab of the bus to heat up and the students must exit the bus. The bus still has two years left on the warranty and the district has been working with the dealer to find an acceptable solution.
The board took action and approved the motion to change the school code to include the sixth grade in the junior high classes. The sixth grade already has the option to join the junior high athletics.
At the next meetin on June 11, the school board will discuss the upcoming budget. In the past several years, the district has had to cut their budget until they have little left to cut. Even with the sizeable donation they just received, the preliminary budget is expected to be about $85,000 below what is needed. This means that one or two elective programs are in danger of being cut.