Parents voice concerns to School Board

The Dolores School Board of Education met Tuesday night to discuss many things, ranging from the Gifted and Talented Program at the Dolores Schools to Middle School Football, but the majority of the time, board members listened to parents complain.

The evening started out with a parent telling the board that she was going to record the entire meeting after being requested to do so by her lawyer.

Teddy Bear Preschool Director Valiena Rosenkrance gave a presentation to school board members about the preschool.

Rosenkrance said about 68 students are enrolled at the school.

“We are packed. We can’t take even one more child,” she said.

Melanie Cook, Dolores Middle School math teacher and gifted and talented coordinator, talked to the board about the program that serves some of the students that are gifted at Dolores schools.

She noted that those students in Dolores appear to be doing well, better than the state average.

“When you look in general at GT kids, there is typically lower growth (in terms of test scores),” Cook said.

Becky Corburn, who teaches gifted and talented students at the Dolores Elementary School, said she likes to challenge the students with literature discussions, math problems and Latin lessons.

“If a kid comes in and scores 95 percent on a test, he shouldn’t have to sit through stuff he already knows or he will get bored and start poking his neighbors and get in trouble by high school,” Corburn said.

Also Tuesday, Dee Wyman, chair of the Strong Schools, Strong Community committee, charged with passing the 3C school bond, spoke to the audience gathered at the meeting.

“There are not a lot of schools in the state that have been given this opportunity,” she said.

Wyman said the committee was committed to used local workers to build the new school, within reason.

One parent said they were told the science building was state-of-the-art when it was built over 30 years ago.

Business Manager Karen Andrews said there is more oversight and better building standards now.

Dolores High School Principal Brandon Thurston told concerned parents Tuesday night that communication can “always get better,” regarding pink slips and football games.

Another parent was concerned about all those football players that didn’t get to play when the fifth quarter wasn’t played.

“The fifth quarter was always played. It never was a problem until this year,” he said.

The Athletics Director Rose Woods, said that the fifth quarters were scheduled to be played this year, but the other coaches didn’t want to play them.

Board members also discussed policies and how sometimes the handbook and board policies don’t always match. The handbook, Board Member Jon Kelly explained, is a summary of the very, thick book of board policies.

“The policy book is at least six-inches thick. If it fell off a roof it would kill a moose,” he joked.

Parents also told the board that in regard to the ten football players who were allegedly at a party with alcohol, and banned from playing the game at Centauri, were not given “due process.”

One parent said her son was on a list of those drinking at a party, but was never interviewed.

“It was an exhaustive investigation,” Principal Thurston said. “We had enough information.”

In the end, parents told the board they were upset that they were not contacted regarding the investigation and the decision to cancel the game because of the high number of football players that were allegedly at a party. The parents also said that other students were at the party and asked what their punishment was.

“When you put on the Dolores uniform, it’s a privilege, not a right,” said Kelly. “These kids learned a nasty lesson. When you are at a party and there is drinking, you need to leave.”

Another person was concerned that law enforcement was pulling kids out of class and interviewing them about the party and the parents weren’t notified.

Kelly told the parents that they would meet with law enforcement and talk about policies.

The board then went into closed session to discuss a personnel issue.

When the board came out of closed session, members voted 3 to 0, with board members Vangie McCoy and Deanna Truelsen abstaining, to suspend Girls Basketball Coach John McHenry until his pending felony charges are resolved. McHenry was arrested last week during the Roatcap Fire for allegedly hitting a Montezuma County Sheriff’s Deputy while trying to pass a roadblock and get to his horses.