A non-action item discussing the future of the swimming pool was on the agenda at the Nov. 13 Patagonia High School and Elementary School Board meetings.
School Superintendent Rachel Hochheim wrote a letter to the school boards and to the Patagonia Town Council recommending closing the pool because the “overall cost of the long term maintenance and operation of the pool is beyond what I believe is appropriate use of school funds.”
During the call to public, Clare Bonelli, Jan Herron and Gary Brown spoke in favor of keeping the pool open. Bonelli said she knows that the pool may not be the best place for education dollars, but the community is willing to take on the challenge. Herron, also a member of the Library Board, said that if the pool closes it will be an issue for the library during the summer. She asked for more time to organize the community and to find out what needs to be done to keep it open before the board makes a decision.
All the board members present concurred that the pool is an important community asset and wanted to find a way to keep it open. Nancy McCoy asked what steps the board would need to take to move towards a solution. Cynthia Matus-Moriss said that the school is trying to investigate the agreement made with the town of Patagonia to see the terms of the original grant money that funded the pool. One board member commented that a recreational place is educational and hoped that the board could find a way to make the pool viable year round, rather than just in the summer.
The High School Board asked to have recommendations for the pool included as an action item on a future agenda and requested the community members present to share and gather input from the community in the meantime.
The business manager, Angelica Lucero, said that at present the school is in the red for pool maintenance and the board must make a decision soon on how to finance the pool.