Cindy Looper, Jnl Linsacum appointed to Moffat County Board of Education | CraigDailyPress.com

Cindy Looper, Jnl Linsacum appointed to Moffat County Board of Education

Moffat County Board of Education President Jo Ann Baxter and Superintendent David Ulrich welcome two newly appointed board members on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Sasha Nelson/staff

CRAIG — The Moffat County School District Board of Education appointed two at-large members during its Jan 24 meeting, giving the board a full slate of directors for the first time since November 2017.

Retired school administrator Jnl Linsacum was appointed first through a motion made by board Vice President Jobeth Tupa, seconded by board Secretary Dr. Elise Sullivan, and unanimously approved by board President Jo Ann Baxter, Treasurer Chip McIntyre, and member Chris Thome.

Business owner Cindy Looper was appointed to the second vacancy on a motion made by Tupa, seconded by Thome, and approved by the remaining board members.

Before making the appointments — and during a workshop held prior to the business meeting — the board interviewed Looper, Linsacum, and Kirstie McPherson, asking each candidate a series of questions.

Many of the answers were similar. Linsacum emphasized her years of experience as a school administrator, and Looper noted her experience as a parent of two graduates.

“I want to thank the candidates for spending time with us this evening. I welcome our two new board members,” said Baxter. To McPherson, she added, “I hope you will keep us in mind as you move forward on your future path.”

New members will begin their duties at the February school board meeting.

Before taking action to appoint new members, the board considered a draft 2019-20 academic calendar during its workshop, adjourned for a short dinner break, then convened for the regular meeting.

During public comment, Trish Snyder, parent education coordinator for Connections4Kids, invited board members to attend a preview night for the Little Things Art Show, set for 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Center of Craig. From Feb. 6 through the Feb. 9 Downtown Art Walk, the work of 300 young artists — children representing the school district, Moffat County Christian Academy, Eagle’s Nest Preschool, and the Shared School — will be on display. The top 20 artists have their work matted, framed, and featured on a calendar.

“It is an amazing show to see the creativity of our kiddos in the community,” Snyder said.

During his monthly report, Superintendent David Ulrich spoke about the decision to keep schools open Jan. 18, when a winter storm caused widespread power outages for customers of Yampa Valley Electric Association.

“If we don’t believe we can get our kids here safely, we’ll have a snow day. It was close … but we came to the conclusion that we could get our kids to school safely,” he said, adding that two-thirds of students attended class.

“We know those kids were in a warm, safe place. They were supervised, and they received a warm meal for lunch that they might not have received otherwise,” Ulrich said. “I think by the end of the day, the decisions we made were validated.”

He offered his appreciation to district staff who faced the challenge of “getting ready in the dark, digging out a car, and they got here too.”

The district is moving forward with plans to vacate the Yampa Building, and the move is expected to occur before the start of the 2019-20 school year to provide school maintenance staff time to create office space in the former East Elementary School.

The board has already received interest from a group interested in developing a cultural arts center in the building, but Ulrich said he also expects to bring a formal proposal forward from a new company interested in acquiring the building to develop a comprehensive treatment program for substance abuse disorder.

“Each is aware of the other suitor. Both parties are kept up to date,” Ulrich said.

Director of Curriculum Zach Allen reported that elementary school students have already achieved two of three benchmarks in testing through Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, or DIBELS.

He attributed the progress to the hard work of staff, aided by an early literacy grant which, along with board support, has afforded the Wonders Reading Program and teacher training.

“Our kids are performing at levels we have not seen before,” he said.

Ulrich expressed pride in the work being done, noting that, “ultimately, there is a kid at every single one of those scores. It is hard work to teach reading well, and our teachers are doing it.”

The board also unanimously approved the following agenda items:

• A consent agenda to approve previous meeting minutes, financial reports, and personnel recommendations

• First reading policies about the rules of order, security and access to buildings, drug and alcohol testing for bus drivers, secret societies and gang activity, and the use of physical intervention and restraint

• Second and final reading on policies addressing safe schools, agenda, financial administration, bidding procedures, communicable diseases, staff health, support staff recruiting/hiring, equivalence of services, student organizations, open forum, and administering medications to students

• Amended the budget to adjust for increased revenues and lower-than-expected expenses

An executive session lasting about an hour, pursuant to section 24-6-402(4)(b) of the Colorado Revised Statue, was held to allow the board to receive legal advice on a pending matter. No decisions were made following the session.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.