By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
USD No. 480 showed Monday evening that it will be moving in a new direction. With the election of Reid Petty as board president and Tammy Sutherland-Abbott as vice president, the board confirmed change is coming.
Petty replaces two-year president Dan Diepenbrock following a vote of four to two, with Jim Jury absent. Diepenbrock and board member Nick Hatcher voted for Diepenbrock to retain his seat at the head of the table. However, board members Petty, Sutherland-Abbott, Cheryl Louderback and Stacy Johnson voted in favor of Petty.
“I’m honored to take over as president of the school board, and I appreciate the confidence of my fellow board members,” Petty said. “I have already talked with new vice president Tammy Sutherland-Abbott, and we have agreed to work together in visiting the schools and making the teachers and staff feel appreciated for all they do.”
Sutherland-Abbott is also looking forward to new and better things for USD 480.
“The way that I think about this, everyone of us – from the custodians to the people in the cafeteria to the teachers and administrators – have some part of touching each student’s life, therefore making us one piece of a huge puzzle,” Sutherland-Abbott said. “When it comes together, and we all do what is right, it is going to make an awesome picture.”
Sutherland-Abbott believes the fact that the district as a whole met AYP last year, is a step in the right direction for the 2010-11 year. Petty agreed.
“I really feel the district made great academic strides this past year by meeting AYP as a district for the first time in several years,” Petty said. “I look forward to that hopefully continuing.”
In other business, the board elected to retain the High Plains Daily Leader as the official newspaper of the school district.
Bids by both the High Plains Daily Leader and the Southwest Times were submitted for board consideration. For legal publications, the High Plains Daily Leader intends to charge the district $2 per column inch and 35 cents per line. The Southwest Times quoted a price of $2.25 per column inch and 28 cents per line.
“The Southwest Times would love the privilege of being the official newspaper of the board,” Southwest Times Publisher James Gutzmer said. “We know budgets of school boards are tight and there is increasing pressure from the state to cut costs, part of that is using taxpayer money correctly. The bid process is there for a reason, and as a taxpayer, I think it should be respected. For that reason, I would suggest that you take the lower bid.”
High Plains Daily Leader Publisher Earl Watt took his turn at the podium with only a few words for the board.
“I appreciate the opportunity to bid with you again this year,” Watt said. “I appreciate Mr. Gutzmer asking you to accept our bid.”
Petty asked Watt and Gutzmer to explain why they both felt they had the lowest bid.
“I don’t have the lowest bid,” Gutzmer responded.
Following the approval of six board members, with Jim Jury absent, the High Plains Daily Leader remained the official publication of USD 480.