School board looks to add student representatives

By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

On Aug. 11, the Archuleta School District Board of Education (BOE) approved moving forward with the addition of nonvoting student representatives to the board.

The suggestion came from Dr. Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, the district’s new superintendent, who explained that there could be one or two student representatives who would sit with the board during BOE meetings and become part of the process.

“In my past experience seeing students serve on the board as student representatives, they have the opportunity to make comments, which really gives us a nice, first, front-row seat into their perspective of what’s going well, what are they proud of, what kind of things are happening in their schools. It has been my experience that they’ve had incredible insight into policy discussions and how it affects them,” she said.

The other board members voiced their support for the idea, saying, “Absolutely,” “Yes,” and, “Fantastic idea.”

Board member Michael Moore noted that their perspectives would help a lot, and board president Bruce Dryburgh pointed out the students would have to do a fair amount of work going through things and preparing for the meetings.

Board member Dana Hayward noted the board should pay close attention to the selection process and added that the position should be advertised to students with both an incentive and opportunities.

LeBlanc-Esparza explained that, in previous districts where this program has been in place, there was a brief application process in which students applied, then the board interviewed them and made the choice.

Dryburgh suggested he would like to see more than just the top performers in the school apply, with LeBlanc-Esparza explaining that elsewhere there were about six to 12 applications each year.

In other business at the meeting:

• Hayward volunteered to take former board member Brooks Lindner’s seat on the board of the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

• The board heard the first reading of a number of policies, including a policy that amends the process for adopting new policies.

The new policy, if adopted upon second reading in September, would allow the board to approve policies after only one reading if no amendments are made.

• The board approved several policies upon second reading, including the graduation requirements for the district’s new alternative high school, San Juan Mountain School.

• The board approved a request from the Town of Pagosa Springs allowing the town to use a 10-foot-wide public utility easement along the northern boundary of the district’s high school property boundary (lots east of 8th Street).

That will be used to run three-phase power to the town’s new maintenance facility, Town Manger Andrea Phillips explained to the board, and the school district will be able to utilize the easement area.

The town’s existing easement area, Phillips explained, functions as a drainage ditch and has topographical challenges.

• Approved a resolution regarding instructional time and attendance, which will allow the district to count time spent working digitally.

This story was posted on August 25, 2020.