Highlights From Los Alamos School Board Meeting Aug. 10

As part of the K6+ program, students took a field trip to the Demo Garden to learn about pollination. Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

All five members of the Los Alamos School Board met in person Tuesday, Aug. 10 in the School Board Room for a regular meeting, also broadcast via Zoom.

President Melanie Colgan opened the meeting by recognizing “LAPS staff, community members and our own Christine Bernstein who helped with the K6+ program”.

The program, which ran June 1-21, provided students with core instruction in the mornings and more than 100 enrichment programs in the afternoons. Approximately 80 percent of elementary students attended on a regular basis.

The Board then approved a supplemental lease agreement and resolution for Pueblo Complex. The site is currently leased by the Department of Energy. The supplemental agreement provides for repairs and modifications to the IT room for the cooling and ventilation of the equipment.

“We take our responsibility as the landlord and owner of the property to keep the HVAC in working order,” LAPS Board Vice President Ellen Specter said.

The Board then heard from Los Alamos County Housing Program Manager Margaret Ambrosino on the Request for Proposal for the North Mesa Housing project. The School Board had previously approved the Memorandum of Agreement between LAPS and Los Alamos County in March 2021. 

Ambrosino pointed out that the RFP will result in a master plan for affordable and workforce housing and recurring revenue while also taking into consideration infrastructure costs, traffic impact analysis, recreational needs and environmental impacts.

Board Secretary Bernstein raised concerns regarding sustainability and how we maintain the development as affordable housing.

The Board approved a motion to direct the county to move forward with the RFP.

Interim Superintendent Jennifer Guy updated the Board on the district’s Aug. 12 return to school. School staff have been preparing for the return of students to the classrooms, focusing on social and emotional safety, physical safety and academic safety. She also discussed the latest COVID-19 Toolkit shared with school districts by the New Mexico Public Education Department which offers guidelines on school re-entry. 

After much discussion regarding the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in the county as well as the state, the Board voted 4-1 to implement a universal indoor masking policy for all grades as a temporary preventative measure. Masks are not required outdoors.

Speaking not only as a board member but parent and nurse, Colgan said, “Our number one goal this year is to keep our kids in school. It is best to start with masking from the get go.”

The board finished the meeting by filling several vacant board committee assignments. President Colgan agreed to serve on the Student Liaison Application Review and Budget and Finance committees. She will be joined by Bernstein. Colgan also joined Specter on the Bond and HB33 committee. New Board Member Erin Green filled vacancies on the Native American Parent Advisory Committee and the Equity Council.

The Board met Saturday with Dr. Steve Joel from the superintendent search firm McPherson & Jacobson LLC for a training session. The next School Board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26 in the School Board Room on Trinity Drive.

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