TOMBSTONE — Whetstone resident Stephanie Fuller was sworn in as Tombstone Unified School District’s newest board member on Wednesday prior to the start of the district’s board meeting.
Fuller was appointed to the position by Cochise County Superintendent of Schools Jacqui Clay following the recent death of longtime board member Mike Hayhurst.
Fuller has been following different board decisions and district policies in recent years and has attended past board meetings. After her swearing-in Wednesday by TUSD governing board vice president Keith Guin, Fuller said she looks forward to serving on the board and joining the other four members.
“I have a real heart for kids and their education,” Fuller said. “I like what I have seen with Tombstone Unified School District and I’m excited about being a part of the district’s continued growth.”
In other news, the school board was presented with a districtwide update from Tombstone High School Principal David Thursby on behalf of Superintendent Robert Devere, who was attending an out-of-town conference.
In his report, Devere touched on enrollment, COVID, construction projects and status of the sale of the old Tombstone High School.
“We have an overall loss of about 25 students from this same time in 2019,” Thursby noted.
Walter J Meyer School has experienced growth in its student enrollment, Tombstone High School has held steady and Huachuca City School has seen a decrease in enrollment.
On the hot topic of COVID, cases have been present in all three of the district’s schools. Devere reported that Huachuca City School and Tombstone High School had the highest number of cases, while Walter J. Meyer recently experienced its first case.
“Our sports teams have been impacted by COVID with game cancellations for Huachuca City School football and volleyball,” Devere stated in his report. “This Friday’s Tombstone High School football game against San Carlos has been canceled due to COVID cases on the San Carlos team.”
Devere also provided a brief overview of construction projects throughout the district, many of which are funded through the state School Facilities Board.
A campus-wide weatherization project at Walter J. Meyer is winding down “with the final punch walk scheduled” in the next couple of weeks. The district received approval for the design phase of the school’s gymnasium floor repair. In addition, Walter J. Meyer will be undergoing renovations, with all bidding for the work now closed.
A similar weatherization project at Huachuca City school is continuing. The metal siding on the gym has been replaced and a new air conditioning system will soon be installed. While new, weather efficient windows have been installed across the campus, contractors are still waiting for replacement doors. Painting throughout the campus is nearly completed.
The district is working its way through an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant process to secure funding for fields at Tombstone High School, as well as an agriculture and welding facility.
And finally, sale of the old Tombstone High School building on Fremont Street is moving forward, with a closing date in the near future.
“The contract calls for the closing to be within 60 days of the acceptance of the inspection, which happened last Thursday (Sept. 2),” Devere said in the report. He added that the buyer would prefer to move much faster.
Thursby said the first month of school went quickly, with students settling into their classes and starting extra-curricular activities.
“This week we met with our juniors to explain the results of their AZMerit scores from last year, and to tell them about an academy we are setting up for them,” Thursby said. The academy is designed to prepare the juniors for the ACT test, a standardized test for college admissions juniors take in the spring. The academy will start in a few weeks and will be held after school every Tuesday and Thursday until the ACT test is administered, said Thursby, who added there is a lot of student interest in the program.
Student council is making plans for the high school homecoming game on Oct. 22, with this year marking the school’s centennial celebration. The event is expected to draw a large number of alumni from all over the state and country.
Members of the high school’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America buttered up the board members with baked items created by the school’s advanced culinary students.
Twenty FCCLA members are working together to raise money for an Alaskan cruise in June. The students are selling concessions at games and catering special events, with hopes of raising $30,000 for the cruise. In the event that COVID prevents the cruise from happening, the students have a road trip planned.
FCCLA sponsor and culinary teacher Wendy West said the students are determined to raise the money they need for the excursion.
The next TUSD board meeting is Oct. 13 at the Huachuca City School library. Meetings start at 5:30 p.m.