Superintendent’s fate still unknown

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The fate of Tumcumcari School Superintendent William Reents – who was placed June 6 on paid administrative leave – was expected to be learned at Monday night’s regular meeting of the Tucumcari Board of Education. But the personnel item was pulled from the agenda.

The board was scheduled to go into a closed executive session to discuss the superintendent’s position, but then pulled the item from the agenda. The board did hold a closed session and then came back to adjourn.

Meanwhile, in earlier business before the board, members voiced consternation over a lack of science and math classes and instructors to teach those classes.

When looking at the proposed curriculum, board member Al Mitchell, Jr. expressed frustration that the same issues have come up before the board in previous years – after it has approved the budget – and just several months before school starts.

“Twenty-five percent of our juniors don’t have any math classes,” said Mitchell.

Board member A.J. Williams said she was concerned because the high school does not offer second year chemistry or physics.

“Future pharmacists need more chemistry,” she said.
“We are forcing our students not to pursue careers in science and math,” Williams said.

Because many students, from elementary through high school, are not passing these subjects, many require remediation in math and science, board members noted.

In other matters before the board, members of the Tucumcari Rotary showed their support for the upcoming 14th annual Rotary-sponsored air show and asked the board to designate Wednesday, Oct. 4, as an excused absence day for students to attend.

Some board members, however, expressed concern that the proposal would shorten an already short four-week schedule.

Rotary president Bill Cantrell, was one of several Rotarians, who spoke in favor of the proposal. “It is important for the community. All of our other fundraisers support this,” he said.

Cantrell also said the fees that the school children pay are important to the success of the event and that the Rotary, in turn, supports school. After last year’s event, for example, the Rotary purchased band instruments.

“Some of our kids don’t have the brightest horizons,” he said, “This may be the one thing, that when they are facing that fork in the road that will cause them to take the high road.”

Past Rotary president and veterinarian Darrell Farmer related the story of one teen who was picked from the audience to help prepare the parachute of military show jumper. The experience caught the boy’s imagination and the teen, who was in trouble at home and often cut classes, went on to become a jump master, Farmer said.

Board member Doug Powers asked if it wouldn’t be appropriate for students to take a half day.

Kirksey said students often lose two days of regular class time because air show performers come to the school the day prior to the event. “My observation is that there are assemblies the day before … and that it’s difficult for a student to be on task.

“It’s my feeling that 50 percent never make it and see it as a goof-off day.”

The decision for the proposed holiday is up to the school’s superintendent and no decision was made at the meeting.