By Will Bublitz
During a busy Monday, Feb. 17 meeting, the Genoa-Hugo Board of Education toured the school construction project, approved a new school calendar and administrative contracts, rejected an out-of-state trip for students and learned the Pirates will not be fielding a baseball team this spring.
The board met earlier than normal for their monthly meeting at 4:30 p.m. to take the construction tour led by Steve Chambers of Nunn Construction and Quentin Rockwell, the owner’s representative.
During that tour, the board members saw that progress that has been made to construct the school’s New South and New North additions. They also viewed the interior renovations to the auditorium, as well as the new kitchen and library.
Rockwell reported the project is still scheduled for competition in August 2014, with closeout occurring in the months following the start of school for the Fall 2014 semester.
Also in his report, Rockwell said Elite Environmental will be replacing Monarch as the asbestos abatement contractor for the remainder of the project. He explained Elite was one of the project’s initial bidders and can be depended upon to finish the removal of the remaining asbestos from the old school building.
The next phase of the asbestos abatement project begins March 3 in the locker rooms, gymnasium, mechanical mezzanine and band room. The work will be completed by the end of March.
Discussing the construction project’s finances, Rockwell said that current payments approved for the project totaled $4,022,7474 or about 27 percent of its$14,926,023 budget.
“We’re spending as much of the budgeted amount as we can,” he said. “We’re projecting ahead conservatively. Overall, our financials are in good shape.”
The ongoing Genoa-Hugo School construction project is pushing back the starting date for school next fall. In approving the 2014-15 School Calendar at Monday’s meeting, the board set August 20 as the first day of school.
“We will be starting a week later than we normally would,” Superintendent Frank Reeves said. “We’ll be starting school on August 20 instead of August 13. It will give us more time for the construction and move-in. We will pick up the extra days on Fridays once again.”
After a 20-minute executive session, the board emerged to unanimously approve the administrative contracts for Reeves and Principal Shari Humphrey for the 2014-15 school year. They were also given a three-percent raise in salary.
The board was anything but unanimous on the request for an out-of-state senior trip by the Class of 2015. In a 3-2 vote, the board rejected the request.
The seven students of the Class of 2015, who are high school juniors this school year, wanted to take a four-day trip in May 2015 to Texas to visit the city of San Antonio and the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Two adult sponsors would have accompanied them on the “Senior Sneak” trip.
After some discussion, the majority of the board decided against the proposed Texas trip because it was beyond the 300-mile limit set for “Senior Sneak” trips by the board in 2006. Board members Julia Boger and Robert Kraxberger voted in favor of the proposed trip.
At its January meeting, the board approved the elimination of the “Senior Sneak” class trips as a school-sponsored event starting in 2018. However, the board made clear that its decision Monday was based solely upon the Class of 2015’s proposed out-of-state travel.
In a disappointing announcement for Pirate baseball players and sports fans, Reeves announced a Genoa-Hugo baseball season would not be held this year. He explained the season cancellation is due to a lack of enough players to field a team.
“We thought that there would be five or six baseball players coming from Flagler to play on our team, but we got word there was only one,” Reeves said. “With that Flagler player, we had a total of six kids which is not enough to play.”
Reeves explained that Athletic Director Kenny Book had contacted the Limon Public School’s athletic department which said it would welcome any Genoa-Hugo students who wanted to play on the Badger baseball team this spring. Three Pirate baseball players Jake McClendon, Joe Stephen and Cody Hurtado are planning to accept that offer.
The Pirate baseball team began last season with a total of 11 players. Due to injuries and other causes, some games had to be forfeited due to a lack of enough players.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board accepted the resignation of Michelle Schafer-Valko as the school’s AgEd teacher and FFA sponsor. In a letter to the board, she expressed her sadness at resigning, but explained she was doing it because she is moving to South Dakota to continue her education at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Her resignation becomes effective at the end of the current school year.
Also receiving the board’s approval was the resignations of Vicki Duran and Connie McHone as the school’s Cheer Sponsors.
In addition to everything else on its plate Monday, the board listened to a number of reports including one by Sharla Book on the school’s 21st Century Grant program. She talked about the after-school and additional classes that are offered to students.
In her report, Principal Shari Humphrey talked about the Read Act that requires a reading assessment of all K-3 students and the development of intervention plans to help those students identified with reading deficiencies. She also discussed the TCAP testing schedules, and talked about the successes achieved by the school’s Speech and Knowledge Bowl teams.
In his superintendent’s report, Reeves said he plans to present the school staff’s salary schedules for the board’s approval at its March meeting.
Reeves also gave the board an update on legislative action concerning education including the ongoing debates over the amount of required state testing. He said Colorado school districts currently spend a total of 60 days a year in preparing for, conducting and evaluating the state’s mandated tests.