by Mary Pat Haddock
During its April meeting, the Ridgway school board discussed using email addresses provided by the school district for board communications. Board member Steve Larivee said, “I’m not comfortable with that.” Board member Julie Wesseling responded, “I kind of like it.” Board chair Jeff Synowic asserted, “The pros are that it’s all centralized under the district’s umbrella so they are custodian of the emails.”
Board member Bart Skalla commented, “So, if somebody pulled the sunshine law stuff then we can just transfer it (the emails) over (to the entity requesting to view the public record.) So let’s do it for board members who want but those who don’t can opt out.”
Synowic offered to ask the Ouray school district, which has district addresses for board members, how that process works for them. Skalla responded, “At least two Ouray board members don’t use their district address for contact.” The board agreed to still check in with the neighboring district.
The board heard from architect John Baskfield about his recommendations for the elementary school remodel. His recommendations included changing the parking lot traffic flow to allow students to get out of passenger side doors on the curbside of the building, installing new front doors with ballistic glass, creating a security vestibule, covering windows with security film which would slow down someone attempting to break through a window, adding a security camera and installing air conditioning, which would allow exterior doors to stay closed. Teachers currently have to prop open doors during the warm months to keep classrooms at a reasonable temperature.
Larivee responded to Baskfield’s presentation, saying, “Let’s move forward with the whole project and do it right the first time.” Skalla said he liked everything except the security camera, saying he didn’t “like the idea of it at the elementary school.” He also objected to the $3,000 cost of the camera which he does not believe would act as a deterrent to anyone wishing to inflict harm. The board agreed to drop the security camera from the project but go ahead with the rest of the remodel. Remodeling plans were presented to parents at Tuesday evening’s roundtable discussion. All parents in attendance supported the remodel plans.
In other matters, the board voted to reinstate insurance benefits for the district’s food workers, who lost their insurance during a 2011 budget cut. Synowic resigned as chair and Wesseling moved to appoint Roger Sagal the new chair, a motion which was unanimously seconded.
Skalla called Sagal a “brilliant school board member” and foresaw that after November’s election Sagal will be the only board member still in office. Skalla encouraged Sagal to rotate the chair position, citing studies that show rotation on business boards leads to higher levels of “cohesion and performance.” Synowic agreed that two years was “too long” and it was a “good idea to rotate.” Wesseling resigned as vice chair and Synowic was appointed to the position to aid in Sagal’s transition.