Solid review for Carson City superintendent Richard Stokes
Despite a first year wrought with challenges, Superintendent Richard Stokes received a glowing review Tuesday from the Carson City School Board.
His performance was determined to be “very satisfactory, bordering on superior.”
“Thank you very much for your dedication,” said board president Norm Scoggin. “I think our community and our students are in your debt.”
Stokes, who took over as superintendent in July 2008, said he appreciated the board’s support.
“Thanks to the board for your vote of confidence,” he said. “Please know, too, that I value your feedback. I look forward to working with you in the year to come.”
In his inaugural year, Stokes was faced with historic budget cuts coupled with declining enrollment.
Initial proposals to either close one of the city’s six elementary schools or standardize the district’s calendar by changing the only year-round school to a traditional nine-month schedule drew some ire from the public and staff members.
In the end, $7.2 million was cut from the budget, eliminating eight teachers, eight teacher aides, five custodians, a clerk, a library media technician and an auto service worker.
Other cuts included $1.8 million in budget surpluses from previous years, $1.7 million in cuts to instructional spending for principals, $550,000 by postponing the purchase of new textbooks and $550,000 through reductions in utility and maintenance costs.
Stokes moved to Carson City with his wife, Keli, and four children from Hawthorne in 2001 to take the position of associate superintendent of education.
He replaced former superintendent Dr. Mary Pierczynski, who served in that position for seven years.
Trustees are expected to bring to the next board meeting a list of goals for Stokes to meet in the upcoming year.
In other action:
• The board approved an agreement to allow the Carson City Cultural Commission to build a 2,160-square-foot greenhouse at Carson High School.
Organizer Karen Abowd said the greenhouse will have the capacity to grow 4,500 pounds of fruits and vegetables as well as other plants.
Abowd said grants are available to pay students for fresh-cut flowers. It also will provide fresh produce to the culinary arts program as well as to low-income families in the community.
The flowers grown will be used in the Downtown Consortium’s project of placing flower baskets outside downtown businesses.
• Board members also approved a motion to use the $500 awarded them as the state’s school board of the year to fund the board’s annual American Citizen Essay Contest.