Dolores School Board discusses mediation

Athletic director resigns after closed-session meeting

A much smaller group attended the Dolores School Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, when compared to previous meetings.

A few parents voiced concern that the mediator brought in by the school district to help solve some ongoing problems, wouldn't be able to see everyone who had concerns.

Superintendent Scott Cooper said the mediation sessions are starting Friday and that the mediator is working with some of the larger groups now, such as the Booster Club and the Student/Parent Coalition.

Over about six months, parents have been concerned about eligibility, lack of communication, athletic schedules and much more.

The mediator, Cooper said, will help them solve these problems, that at times have drawn over 100 parents into the board room during meetings.

"If five parents are wanting to talk about eligibility, then maybe we can combine that into one concern," Cooper said. " We need to move together for the benefit of our kids."

When finished, Cooper said the mediation plan will be a public document.

President Allan Thayer said he was concerned that individuals can't meet with the mediator and directed Cooper to allow them to do so.

"It has been my understanding that individuals that have had an ongoing problem need to be addressed as well." Thayer said. "Some stuff is kind of sensitive and can't be discussed in a group setting."

Others felt that they would feel safer talking to a mediator without having to first contact the district office, for fear of retaliation. Cooper told those parents that it is OK for them to contact individual board members.

A time line for when the mediation plan would be finished is unknown at this time, Cooper said.

Cooper also told the audience that out-of-district parents were allowed to attend.

At the end of the meeting, Cooper said he wanted to "Clarify misleading statements in the paper."

"No student athletes have lost their amateur status," he said, recalling a statement made by Monica Plewe in public comment two weeks ago during an emotional meeting in which she said she was pulling all of her children out of the school district.

Plewe also mentioned she felt her kids were not welcome at the schools.

"She is fully welcome and her kids are welcome to stay," Cooper said. "She is making a choice, she is not happy with some of the decisions that have been made here and she has chosen to move her kids to Cortez."

Plewe was not at the meeting to defend Cooper's statements.

Cooper also said that the survey given out two weeks ago that asked people their opinion of the board and the superintendent was not dismissed.

"It wasn't completely dismissed, but it was hastily done," Cooper said.

The survey showed unfavorable results for both the superintendent and the school board's performance.

"There is a lot of criticism and there was a lot to consider, we are reflecting on that," Cooper said.

At 8:18 p.m., the board of education went into closed session with Brandon Thurston and Rose Woods, nearly two hours later, the board voted to accept the resignation of Woods, who began earlier this year as the athletics director/vice principal and the high school and middle school.

She said on Wednesday that she will finish out the year.