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RISD board to consider bond sale

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The Roswell Independent School District board of education will consider authorizing the sale of $7 million in general obligation bonds when it meets Tuesday.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Administrative and Educational Services Complex, 300 N. Kentucky Ave.

Only board members and a small number of support staff will be in attendance due to the state’s health order. The meeting will be livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel.

Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting should contact the superintendent’s office by 4 p.m. Monday at 575-627-2511. Those wishing to speak will receive a phone call during the meeting and will be allowed three minutes to speak.

Also on the agenda will be an executive session for limited personnel matters including a request for appeal of an administrator’s grievance. Superintendent Mike Gottlieb said he could not provide more information on the grievance because it is a personnel matter, but a possible vote on the appeal is scheduled following the executive session.

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Board members will also review and discuss applicants for the superintendent position in executive session.

The $7 million in general obligation bonds would be issued from the $14 million approved by voters in February 2019, Chad Cole, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said.

Cole said the district was originally set to sell the bonds almost a year ago but canceled the sale.

“We were going to sell the remaining $7 million back in March, and of course we know what happened,” he said of the effect of the oil industry and the pandemic on the markets.

“It’s critically important that we obtain the lowest interest rate knowing that these things are funded by our taxpayers and voter-approved,” he said.

“Interest rates just that particular week that we were scheduled for the sale, it just went nuts,” he said.

The bonds are intended for remodeling or building new facilities, purchasing computers or providing matching funds for capital outlay projects. It’s likely the funds from this sale will at least partially help fund the Mesa Middle School construction and renovation, Cole said.

The district revealed plans for Mesa in August that include adding a second gymnasium and a classroom wing with renovations of the existing structure. Bids were expected then to go out in late fall with groundbreaking in December or January, but the pandemic has delayed plans, Cole said.

“With COVID and the changing requirements, it hasn’t just impacted the school district, it’s impacted a lot of our contractors. Our design team, they’ve had some personnel (who) have been struck with some of this so it has really put a damper on some of our timelines. It’s extended out, but they are finishing up,” Cole said.

Cole said bids should go out by March.

The district is also beginning the design process for Nancy Lopez Elementary School. Plans are to have the Mesa project finished for the start of the 2022-23 school year with Nancy Lopez starting right after. With the two schools located in close proximity, students from the elementary school would have classes in a wing of Mesa until construction on the elementary school is complete.

Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include the following:

• Consideration of accepting a $29,600 teacher recruitment grant. 

• Second readings of policies regarding tobacco use, advertising and student wellness.

• Consideration of approval of the annual preventive maintenance and safety plans.

• Recognition of Roswell High School students whose “Alien Arm” project was a winner in the Governor’s STEM Challenge in December.

• Recognition of performance by coaches and administrators in the Achieve Excellence program, which supports early career teachers who work to improve student outcomes. Coaches Leticia Benitez, Cynthia Masterson, Tami Stone, Luci Evans and Jori Flom will be recognized, as will administrators Kathy Adams, Breezy Gutierrez, Lucie Hall, Haley Maldanado, Brittany Griffin and Laura Lucero.

• Information items include a possible state requirement to train staff to recognize warning signs of student suicide and provide prevention programs; demonstrations of student competency; a discussion on first-semester student attendance; professional development updates; an update on a homeless student program; and assessment updates.

• Reports from the superintendent and other administrators on finance, contracts, COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and a presentation of awards.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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