GOSHEN COUNTY – Goshen County School District No. 1’s Board of Trustees convened at 7 p.m. for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 8. The meeting included a discussion on the district’s wrestling teams and several other items.
Chairman Mark Jespersen began by voicing the board’s condolences to the family of Crockett Herring.
The board unanimously voted to table the decision on whether or not to combine wrestling programs into one district team until their next regular meeting, on July 13.
Mark Bullington, who coaches wrestling at Lingle-Fort Laramie/Southeast (LFLSE), used the public forum to speak on the issue. Bullington said the board should take into consideration the goals for the programs, one being opportunities for students.
“This is about revitalizing the Torrington wrestling program at the cost of Southeast and Lingle,” he said.
Bullington was concerned about LFLSE losing their school identity and the potential for participation to drop. Student Representative Kyland Fuller later echoed this point.
Fuller said practices for combined programs feel different than practices with students from the same school. He felt some students from LFLSE would choose not to participate in a combined program.
“I don’t think we should sacrifice two programs for the good of one,” Bullington said.
Later, the board discussed the topic. Board Clerk Kerry Bullington said her biggest concern with combining all three schools into one program is opportunities being taken away from students at the smaller schools.
“Our focus here should be to increase opportunities, not decrease them,” Bullington said. She also stressed the importance of students connecting and building relationships with their coaches.
Vice-Chair Zachary Miller said he thought the board needed more information to make a decision. Miller said it appeared to him that coaches and administrators had one view and parents had another, at the recent public forum meeting.
“We have to look at this in a way that is factual,” Board Treasurer Carlos Saucedo said. He said it was important to focus mostly on the facts, instead of emotional arguments.
The board requested more information regarding the number of students in each high school program and the number of students in the junior wrestling program. Superintendent Ryan Kramer recommended a decision be made by the July meeting.
During public forum, Licensed Therapist Stephanie Fisher of Fisher Family Solutions
talked about mental health in Goshen County. She offered the board an opportunity to gain additional information about mental health.
“Mental health is bigger than suicide, but we needed to have some place to start,” Fisher said.
She promoted an opportunity for administrators and teachers to take part in a two-day suicide awareness training on June 29 and 30. Fisher said she wants to have another training during the school year.
Fisher asked the board to use her as a resource for info, trainings, paperwork and “whatever it is you need to make informed decisions.”
Jeremy Bay, executive director of Grace for 2 Brothers in Cheyenne shared peer-reviewed articles about mental health and suicide ideation.
“Keeping this silent is not the way to go about it,” Bay said. He also offered himself as a resource to the board.
Also in public forum, Marie Flanagan said the board had not taken action on some important issues. According to Flanagan, an incident had occurred involving an administrator in a bathroom with female students. Flanagan said she had not heard anything about an investigation into the matter, which allegedly happened in February.
“I don’t know if you guys heard about it, but if you didn’t, I would highly suggest you find out,” she said.
Flanagan encouraged the board to speak directly with students to see what is going on in the schools.
In other business, the board approved the superintendent’s salary at $139,150. The board also accepted resignations submitted by Lincoln Elementary Teacher Adele Riley, and Torrington Middle School (TMS) English Teacher Bryce Hespe.
The board approved offering one year only employment agreements to Jessica Martin as a social worker at TMS, Sherri Schultz as an academic interventionist at Lincoln Elementary and Holly Walter as an academic interventionist at Trail Elementary.
Also approved were offering teaching contracts to Cody Powell, as an elementary teacher at Southeast and to Mary Saland as a special education teacher at Torrington High School (THS). Offering an employment agreement to Gabe Bartlett as THS dean of students and activity director was approved.
The board approved accepting the retirement agreement submitted by Steve Law, art teacher at THS. They approved a request from Heather Milligan to rescind her resignation and approved offering her a one-year only teaching contract as an academic interventionist at TMS.
The board approved contracting with SHI for the district’s Microsoft licensing renewal for $26,016. The renewal of several student intervention programs was approved, including, Learning A-Z, Renaissance Learning, Read 180/System 44, Read Naturally, Achieve 3000, Pearson/AIMSWeb, Envision Math, IXL Learning, Learning Upgrade, Xello, IMSE, Edmentum 6-12, Edmentum K-5, PEBC and Learning.com, in the total amount of $294,816.13.
Also approved was a special education contract with Overtures for student residential services and day programming services. The board approved granting a right-of-way easement to Wyrulec on a Southeast Schools property.
The board voted on an extension to the district’s current special education contract with Banner Health for occupational therapy services, through July 31. The one-month extension was approved. Contracting with Brooke Carson LLC for autism and behavior consulting services was also approved.
Student representatives Bree Coxbill, Kyland Fuller and Tyne Stokes gave the board their thoughts on the registration process. Coxbill suggested giving students handouts to understand what classes they need to graduate and for scholarships. Fuller suggested advocating more for college classes. Stokes said she noticed seniors having trouble getting their schedule sorted out. Overall, the student representatives said registration went well.
Kramer updated the board on staffing, summer school and drug testing.
The board decided to hold a special meeting on Wednesday, June 30, at 6 p.m. Kramer said there would likely be contracts to approve and final bills to be paid.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 13 at 7 p.m.