GCSD board tables superintendent’s contract

A. Marie Hamilton/Torrington Telegram Southeast High School’s (SHS) Sydney Moeller, Platte River School’s (PRS) Mason Wilkes and Lingle-Fort Laramie High School’s (LFL) Jordan Napier are sworn in as student board members at Goshen County School District (GCSD) first board meeting of 2023.

New student board members sworn in, making history with first-ever PRS student

GOSHEN COUNTY – Goshen County School District (GCSD) Board of Trustees voted to delay the contract renewal of GCSD Superintendent Ryan Kramer at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night, until its March meeting. The district also swore in its three youngest, newest student members of the board.

Prior to the first GCSD Board of Trustees meeting of the year getting underway, the district swore in Southeast High School’s (SHS) Sydney Moeller, Lingle-Fort Laramie High School’s (LFL) Jordan Napier and Platte River School’s (PRS) Mason Wilkes as student board members. A separate story about the students will be printed in a future edition of the Telegram; however, it’s a historical first for a student from PRS to be sworn-in as a student board member according to the superintendent.

After spending a considerable amount of time in negotiating changes to the agenda between board members and the chairman regarding consent agenda items and new business items, the board first voted 5-to-2 to postpone approving a contract for Kramer for the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years.

GCSD Treasurer Bob Peterson made a motion to table the contract extensions of Kramer until the board’s March meeting, it was seconded by GCSD Clerk Chris Alexander and GCSD Board Member Justin Hurley.

GCSD Chairman Michael Sussex and GCSD Vice Chair Sarah Chaires voted against tabling the superintendent’s contract vote, however, Peterson, Alexander, Hurley and GCSD Board Members Matthew Cushman and Wade Phipps voted to table the discussion and vote until the March meeting. GCSD Board Members Carlos Saucedo and Dylan Hager were not in attendance and did not vote in Tuesday’s meeting.

“Mr. Chairman, I make a motion that we table this until the March 7 meeting,” Peterson requested.

Alexander seconded the motion and there was no discussion during the discussion period between board members regarding tabling the superintendent’s new contract to the March 7 meeting.

The board met in executive session prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting to discuss personnel topics; however, no information from that meeting was given to the public or Telegram.

Still unknown about the contract is how much the Superintendent is being offered, what performance guidelines are expected and what assessment board members used in making their decisions.

Due to questions and concerns over two consent agenda items, Peterson and Alexander requested the district’s monthly bills and contract with Marzano Research LLC be pulled out to vote on separately.

Peterson requested the monthly bills to be pulled due to concerns and questions regarding some high dollar amounts of revenues and expenditures relating to the contract, construction, rebuilding and insurance pay-out of the Southeast High School Agriculture building and wanted clarification as to what these items were.

GCSD Business Manager Marcy Cates explained to Peterson and the board, these items listed as compensation for loss of capital assets was a partial payout from insurance for $784,516.75 of the $2,000,000 owed to the district in the pay-out.

Later in the meeting, board members unanimously voted to approve a change order submitted by Goshen County Construction LLC for an air compressor in the Southeast Agriculture shop for a total of $94,066, of which, $3,348 was funded by an insurance pay-out. The remaining $90,718 for the electrical service modifications was funded by the district’s major maintenance fund.

Alexander voiced concerns about the philosophy and business model of the group the district was requesting trustees to approve a contract for in the amount of $6,480 to perform an annual Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) grant audit. The request is stipulated by statute for the CLSD WY-BILT grant. This particular grant, called the Wyoming Believing in Literacy Together Grant, provided by WDE, is a grant the district received earlier in the year to help create programs targeted at literacy intervention programs in the district.

Marzano Research LLC is a Centennial, Colorado-based organization which states their goal is to strive for “racial equity,” “social justice,” and to “understand disparaging educational gaps” in the “midst of changing to standards-based teaching and learning.”

Alexander expressed concerns this group sought to bring in contentious agendas to GCSD such as, critical race theory (CRT) and other social/emotional learning (SEL) programs parents have previously expressed a condemnation over in recent board meetings.

Kramer had GCSD Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Data Management Jeff Fuller explain to Alexander and board members, the organization had a narrow scope in its contract to merely evaluate, study and report on the effectiveness of the literacy programs the district sought to implement in the last year under stipulations of the grant and statute. He further explained the district was not bringing in Marzano Research LLC to implement curriculum changes and reiterated the group would solely work with the district in determining if newly implemented literacy programs were being effective or not.

The board voted unanimously on both of these items to pass them.

Board members also unanimously accepted the resignation of GCSD School Psychologist Mary Smock to take effect at the end of the current 2022-2023 school year.

Before the superintendent’s monthly report, board members also unanimously voted to approve the updated Smart Start Plan in order to meet Federal ESSER compliance requirements as stipulated for review every six months in order to continue to receive the funding.

The district invites parents, guardians, students, teachers, administrators and community members to two input hearings for public comment regarding the proposed alternative calendar the district is seeking to implement in the 2023-2024 school year.

Although the district reviewed several different alternative school calendars, an email from the district says the discussion will be centered around a four-day school week.

Those meetings will take place on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 and Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 at the Torrington High School (THS) Auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. All residents are welcome to attend and give input.

Additionally, per a board vote in June 2022, due to district school closures and holidays, the March and April GCSD Board of Trustees meetings have been changed to Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 7 p.m. and April 4, 2023 at 7 p.m. at the Central Administration office. The February meeting will be held at its regularly scheduled date and time on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 at 7 p.m. at the Central Administration office.

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