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Mancos schools hire architect for campus improvements

District plans campus upgrades

Mancos school board members on Monday voted unanimously to hire a grant writer and an architect to pursue grants and assist with campus improvements.

The district will pursue a Colorado Department of Education Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) and Safe Routes to School grant, as well as a School Yard Initiative and Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. The district also will likely ask voters to approve a bond measure next year.

The park and outdoor recreation grant would be used to improve the athletic fields on campus. The School Yard Initiative grant would be used to build a new playground, and the Safe Routes To School grant would be used to create a new bus drop-off area.

School staff members will discuss the new playground design and campus master plan at a fundraiser dinner on Nov. 14 at the Mancos school cafeteria. A meal will begin at 5:30 p.m., and tickets for chili and a baked potato are $5. A presentation on the playground design will follow the meal at 6 p.m.

Grant writer Clara Martinez will help the district pursue BEST and School Yard Initiative grants. Board members approved a payment of $2,625 to Martinez for 35 hours of work on the two grant applications.

Board members also approved a contract with Humphries Poly Architects not to exceed $25,000 for professional services. The firm will help the district formulate and design a campus master plan that is in line with requirements of the BEST grant program.

Also at the meeting, board members discussed their dissatisfaction with recent activity from the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB). At the CASB delegate assembly this month, several proposed school finance reform measures failed to gain CASB support, meaning that the organization will not lobby state legislators to pass them. Those measures included one proposed by the Durango 9-R district, which addressed funding inequity between schools on the Front Range and the Western Slope.

Board member Pam Coppinger, who is Mancos liaison to the CASB delegate assembly, said the sentiment among CASB delegates was that the proposed finance measures were too small, and a complete overhaul of the state School Finance Act is needed. Coppinger agreed that comprehensive finance reform is necessary, but supporting smaller measures, such as the proposal from Durango, would start a conversation with legislators.

Board member Tim Hunter said there is no desire among state legislators to change the School Finance Act. Superintendent Brian Hanson pointed out that less than half of CASB districts sent a delegate to vote at the assembly. He said CASB leaders need to be more willing to take a stand on important issues.

“Do something to shake up the status quo,” Hanson said. “It’s not working.”

Also Monday, the board voted to hire the following staff members:

Kalyn Boyer as part-time assistant high school volleyball coach,Cory Cole as head high school girls basketball coach,Mallory Morgan as assistant middle school girls basketball coach,Allyson Ropes as halftime middle school cheerleading coach,Deano Valdez as assistant middle school wrestling coach, andAdriene Ratican as Mancos Early Learning Center Paraprofessional.The board also voted to accept Adilene Navarro’s resignation from the early learning center.