School board establishes labor board

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education on Tuesday resurrected a local labor management relations board.

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the board would serve as a go-between between a union and the district.

The board will be made up of three people, Seidenwurm said. One member would be a nomination by the superintendent, one would be a nominee from a labor organization and those two members would choose the third.

Andres Becerra, National Education Association consultant for the southeast region of New Mexico, asked the board not be resurrected.

Becerra said having a local board is an expensive mistake because there is a state level management relations board and its services are free to the district.

Becerra said costs for a local board would come from training, travel and per diem costs for the members and attorney fees.

“We feel that district funds could be better spent in classrooms,” Becerra said.

Lora Harlan, school board president, said many of the fees associated with the creation of the board are a moot point.

“If a case arose that needed a board’s attention, even the state board, we would need to pay an attorney,” she said. “We believe the benefits of having a local board outweigh the risks.”

Harlan said a local board would be more in tune with the needs of the local student. A local board would also mean that issues could be resolved in a timely fashion, Harlan said, and the teachers wouldn’t need to be away from their jobs.

The board appointed G.C. Ross as the superintendent’s nominee and Larry Cocker with the railroad worker’s union as the labor nominee.

In other business the board:

• Recognized Wayne Anderson as the New Mexico School Board Association 2009 Excellence for Student Achievement Award recipient. Anderson worked in the music department of the district for 35 years and retired, effective the end of the school year.

• Recognized Andy Ford as the volunteer of the year. Ford has volunteered at Zia Elementary School for the past nine years. He spearheaded the school’s recycling program.

• Recognized Family Career and Community Leaders of America students for achievements at the state competition and their plans to compete at the national level in Nashville, Tenn., July 12-16.

• Recognized the Board of Education scholarship recipients. Clovis High School seniors Omar Sosa and Brooke Switzer received $600 scholarships, which are funded through the board’s salaries.

• Approved a name change from the CHS Freshman Campus to the CHS Freshman Academy.

• Approved a remodel of the CHS Freshman Academy’s cafeteria.

• Approved the lease agreement with Our Lady of Guadalupe for use for Choices Alternative School.

• Approved an increase of basic life insurance coverage. School Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said that for $32,000 the district could double life insurance on all employees from $25,000 to $50,000.