School board chooses final labor board member

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis school board filled out the district’s labor management board, choosing former CMS teacher and administrator Lonnie Leslie.

Two members had already been chosen for the board — former interim superintendent G.C. Ross and railroad union member Larry Coker. The board would moderate procedural difference between teachers unions and management.

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said no decision was reached between the administration and the National Educators Association on the last appointee, so one nominee from each side was presented — Leslie for the administration, and John Olivarez, a retired budget analyst and fleet manager at Cannon Air Force Base.

Board Vice President Mark Lansford asked Ross and Coker if they would have any problem working with either one, and if diversity should be an aim in selecting board members.

Ross and Coker answered they’d have no problem with either choice, with Ross saying, “Our interest is what’s best for the kids.” On diversity, Ross said the board would be diverse through educational, professional and personal backgrounds no matter who was picked. Coker said Olivarez being Hispanic might bring a perspective he couldn’t.

“We thought both of the gentlemen were good candidates,” Coker said, “so we brought it to the board to decide.”

Board President Lora Harlan said the appointment duty fell on her, but she wanted the matter treated like a regular action item in order to get all possible input.

Board member Terry Martin said the board would be in excellent shape no matter who was selected, but moved to pick Leslie based on his experience as an educator and administrator.

The vote was 3-1, with Harlan, Martin and Max Best voting in favor. Lansford voted no, and board member Lola Bryant abstained, arguing she couldn’t make an educated decision without a chance to meet Olivarez.

This is a supplemental report on Tuesday’s Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education meeting:
• The board accepted a pair of gifts.
The first was a shed from Triangle Ace, which will be used at an athletic field as a ticket office to protect workers from the elements. The building was offered at a previous meeting, but the offer was tabled until board member Terry Martin could inspect it. He said the building was fine, and any work needed could be handled by the school’s athletic department.
The second was a donation of a Steinway grand piano, valued at $85,000, from the Joe B. and Charlyne Sisler Foundation. Charlyne Sisler died May 24.
There was a $300 estimated cost to move the piano from the Sisler home to the Clovis High choir building.
• A proposal from thinkSMART was approved for $67,787 for educational specifications planning services for a new elementary and middle school.
• The board approved fleet service and activity transportation agreements with Adair Inc., of Clovis.
• A bid of $22,500 from Nick Griego and Sons Construction was approved for a walking track at Mesa Elementary. Board President Lora Harlan asked if the track would be open to the public. Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley said there was no reason it shouldn’t be.
The track will be paid for through previously acquired grants, Shirley said.