ALAMOSA School Board members are frustrated and struggling in their oversight role at a time when it’s looking to make one of the district’s biggest historical changes – planning for a four-day school week – and as it evaluates and negotiates a new contract for its superintendent.

The school board called a special meeting for Jan. 16 to work through its own self-evaluation and a process to evaluate Superintendent Diana Jones. It also had on its agenda a decision to move up contract negotiations with its teachers union by two weeks to help with the planning and anticipated transition to a four-day week.

The meeting instead was an airing of frustrations and grievances, including leadership from San Luis Valley BOCES showing up to voice complaints about the lack of support it gets from the Alamosa School Board member assigned to be on its board.

In the end the school board decided to table the item with its teachers union and will take up the Jones evaluation and negotiations with the union Thursday, Jan.19, and set another special meeting for Jan. 23.

“Since taking the seat in December of 2021 and being sworn into this role, we have tackled some tough and at times even polarizing topics,” school board member Justin Rilling said during the meeting.



“Everything from COVID to staff day increases, alt ed, security officers and continuing to move forward on a four-day school week. My frustrations have been building for quite some time and it’s been obvious to me in the last several months from multiple different people that I believe everybody is feeling these frustrations.”

Rilling is one of four school board members serving in their first term, while three others have been on the board more than four years. He’s been pushing for an evaluation of the school board itself to help it work through its own challenges. The board is led by Heidi Richardson, also in her first term. Other board members are Alan Colvin, Amanda Wilkinson, Michael Mumper, Gloria Solis and April Gonzales.

“I’ve called for the board self-eval, restructuring, reorganization, what have you because I’m tired of the way this board looks. I’m calling for a more cohesive and one-unit team to the board,” Rilling said.

From board orientation to executive-session personnel matters and the big move to four days, board members are finding themselves struggling to work as a group to support Jones and the work of the school district.

Mumper and Colvin tied the frustrations to the board meeting agenda and a feeling of being pushed into a corner, at times, to make decisions.

“I think the board meetings have been the source of much of the frustration. We all came to the board with things that we cared about and wanted to move forward. I don’t think any of us are satisfied with the progress we’ve made moving those things forward. I certainly haven’t felt that way,” said Mumper.

“I think a part of that is because the agenda is so filled with one-time, you gotta do this, you gotta do this, but we don’t have items that reoccur. Academic achievement. How are we doing on academic achievement? Not just every quarter, but what’s our plan and how is that plan going and giving us a sense of progress from meeting to meeting would be helpful.”

For her part, Jones is finishing her initial two-year contract after working through the COVID pandemic and all of its educational challenges since her arrival from Oklahoma. In the first Colorado Department of Education performance ratings since the COVID period, Alamosa shows a mixed bag of individual school performance.

While Alamosa High under Principal Andy Lavier has succeeded in meeting state performance standards and essentially has a passing grade as measured by Colorado, the school district as a whole is officially Accredited with Improvement Plan: Low Participation and Not on Performance Watch. Its higher grades in the elementary school and its middle school performance are where the state is calling for improvements. 

In her two years, Jones, and Assistant Superintendent Luis Murillo who works hand-in-hand with the superintendent, pushed through a strategic action plan that emphasizes school safety, academic achievement and family engagement, and they supported a new master agreement with the teachers union in its quest for higher base pay.

The school district also has revamped its alternative education and Alamosa Online School post-COVID; hired new security personnel; relocated its administrative offices to make room for the alternative education school; launched weekly podcasts in English and Spanish to expand its community outreach; and recently was awarded a major grant through the Colorado Education Initiative to begin plans for a family engagement center on Alamosa’s southside and to support its work with families whose students remain at-risk for under performance.

“You have an awesome team and we’re putting in a lot of hours,” Transportation Director Scott Honeycutt told the school board. “When we’re tasked with job after job after job, and we’re still having to do the day-to-day running of the school district, I’m asking for a little understanding and cooperation and help. We are pulling as hard as we can.”

It wasn’t unanimous among school board members to move ahead with planning for a four-day week. School Board Member Gloria Solis opposed the decision and continues to express concern and a wish for more parent meetings for discussion.

Others, like Mumper, worry that the upcoming negotiation with the Alamosa Teachers Association will all but bake in the four-day week and leave the school board with little further discussion and only a symbolic final vote at the end.

At its meeting slated for Jan. 19, the Alamosa School Board will tackle these topics again. They understand they have work to do.