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Longtime Artesia Public Schools Board of Education member Margaret Aguilar, third from right, pauses for a photo during her final board meeting Monday, joined by, from left, APS Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton and members Jeff Bowman, Carolyn Shearman, Lowell Irby and David Conklin. (Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

The Artesia Public Schools Board of Education recognized outgoing member Margaret Aguilar Monday for her 25 years of service to the school board.

Aguilar was honored with a plaque and a pin, along with cake and finger foods, at the meeting.

“I have had a wonderful 25-plus years serving the kids of Artesia,” Aguilar said.

“She never forgot not one single kiddo,” said former APS superintendent Mike Phipps, who attended the meeting to wish Aguilar well.

In other business, the board received a report from business manager Janet Grice that included a $1,172,219.78 reduction to the district this year as a result of mandates from the state legislature’s special session in November, as well the current session, which includes a reduction in instructional materials and transportation, and an additional reduction of 3.5 percent in funding for the State Equalization Guarantee.

A progress report was also presented to the board by Dekker-Perich-Sabatini on the new administration building currently under construction. The anticipated completion date continues to be sometime in June or July.

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services John Ross Null received the board’s approval for a question to be included in the 2016-17 Quality of Education Survey as well as the adoption of the 2017-18 APS calendar.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps received the board’s approval to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment for the administration office and training center totaling $987,616.87 from AK Sales through a CES contract. The funds will be taken from the district’s HB33 account and will not affect operational dollars.

Phipps further sought the board’s approval to accept a work order from Dekker-Perich-Sabatini for design services to provide a design for enclosing the existing outdoor welding facility adjacent the Artesia High School ag building.

The total contract amount for the services would be $98,027.82. Phipps reported the funds for the design service and the construction project would be provided by a private donor and would not affect the operational account.

With several of the board members having difficulty understanding the entire scope of the project, a Special Open Board Meeting was set for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Administration Building for the purpose of clarifying the proposed project and the APS’ financial responsibility in it.

Superintendent Dr. Crit Caton reported the retirement of Monte Avery, vocational-agriculture and biology teacher and FFA advisor at AHS, effective at the end of the current school year; the resignations of Adrian Olivas, special-education teacher and coach at AHS and Jeremy Maupin, history teacher and coach at AHS; and the employment of Lillian Miller, ASL sign language/educational assistant at Zia Intermediate School, and Devny Olivas, first-grade teacher at Yeso Elementary.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the board of education will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, March 13, in the Lowell M. Irby Board Room at the Administration Building.