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Linda Lattin performed her last two official duties as the president of the Archuleta School District 50 JT. Board of Education at Tuesday night’s meeting, swearing in Brooks Lindner and Bruce Dryburgh as the two newest members of the group, then asking that someone be nominated to take over as the new president.
“Madam President,” vice president Ken Fox spoke up, “I would nominate Greg Schick to be president of this board.” Ironically, Dryburgh seconded the motion and the rest of the board voted “Aye.”
Before a special board meeting on Oct. 29, Dryburgh accused the board of attempting to rush through last-minute decisions regarding the evaluation of interim superintendent Linda Reed. His fear turned out to be misplaced, but, at the end of the meeting, Dryburgh questioned the need for the board to go into executive session and accused the board of doing so illegally.
As the audience left the middle school library there was a heated exchange between Schick and Dryburgh, which seemed to indicate that if Dryburgh and Lindner were victorious over Tim Taylor and Dwight Hooton in the Nov. 5 election, future board meetings might be more contentious and less productive.
As it turned out, at least for this first meeting of the new board, those fears were not realized.
At this point, Lattin left her chair and moved into the audience while Schick took over her spot. The rest of the board members arranged themselves in alphabetical order. It was explained that, traditionally, whenever Lattin called on the board to cast their vote on an issue, each member took turns, in alphabetical order, saying either “Aye” or “Nay.” Therefore, it was easier to arrange the seating in that order.
“I want to thank the board members for having confidence in me to carry on as president,” Schick said, once everyone was settled into their new chairs. “I’ve got a tough role to fill. Linda did an awesome job, and I want to thank her again for her service to the board.
“I look forward to working together, emphasizing the positive things that are going on in Archuleta School District, identifying the issues we need to work on, and making plans on how to improve. I hope to run efficient, smooth meetings, much like Linda did. We will do our best, we will work together and we will accomplish a lot, so I look forward to working with all of you.”
The next order of business was to elect the remaining officers and fill the liaison positions for the various committees and boards the BOE is associated with.
Board member Joanne Irons nominated Fox to continue as the vice president. All approved.
Next, when Schick asked for nominations for secretary/treasurer, Fox joked that he wanted to get even by nominating Irons for that position. Again, everyone agreed with that motion.
As Schick moved on to ask for volunteers to work with the various ancillary committees, Dryburgh asked for an explanation of each group.
Reed then took a moment to describe the composition and work of each group — the District Review Committee (DRC), the District Advisory Committee (DAC), the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), and the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB).
Irons suggested the board hold off deciding who would act as liaison to each group until the two new members had a chance to attend some meetings and get a better feel for what each group did, but Dryburgh and Lindner both seemed comfortable making a decision based on Reed’s brief descriptions.
Because of his background as a lawyer, Dryburgh expressed interest in working with CASB. When Fox enthusiastically made a motion to appoint Dryburgh to that position, Dryburgh joked, “Now I’m wondering if I made a mistake.” Everyone laughed, but then assured Dryburgh he would enjoy the assignment.
This bit of levity seemed to erase the last bit of tension amongst the group, and the rest of the meeting, though it lasted until after 8:30, ran smoothly.
Lindner volunteered for the DRC, Irons asked to continue working with the BOCES, and Schick volunteered to continue his involvement with the DAC.
Before Schick led the board in tackling the rest of the agenda, Irons asked to take care of one more item of old business.
“We are going to have a dinner in December for the outgoing board members,” Irons explained. “I just feel it is important. Thank you, Linda. And thank you, Tim.”
A sudden rush of emotions threatened to prevent Irons from continuing.
“Sorry, I didn’t want to get emotional, but you spend a lot of time together, both in this boardroom and outside. Six years ago it was a very different board, but to work all these years together and to get to a point where we were designated as a ‘board of distinction’ on the state level couldn’t have been done if we didn’t work as hard as we did. You guys really made a difference. I promise that all the things we started the last two years will continue. I know you will come back to future meetings and be a part of them, so thank you for your years of service. I’d like to congratulate and celebrate you both.”
This sentiment earned a hardy round of applause from the audience.