Ideas. Stories. Community.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School District

  • On Tuesday evening, the Montezuma-Cortez School District held a board meeting where parents and educators voiced concerns on staffing upheaval and a subsequent student protest. Though the latest conflict in the district wasn’t officially on the agenda, about 25 people showed up to the meeting. Jarrett Watkins, a teacher at the high school who spoke at the meeting, says many other educators and staff are afraid to openly discuss the concerns they have around the dismissal of their principal.
  • The Montezuma-Cortez School District will hold its next school board meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. It’s expected that the recent conflict around staff changes in the district will be discussed during the public comment portion of the meeting. On April 20, students at the high school held a walk out in response to the dismissal of the school principal by Superintendent Tom Burris. Staff and students allege that Burris has a history of mistreatment of students in the district. According to Jake Myers, who was in 7th grade at the time, in August of 1998, then-Vice Principal Burris instructed him to sit on a large bucket in the multipurpose fields until the end of the school day as punishment for being disruptive in a band class.
  • Last month, Montezuma-Cortez Middle School was named as one of the top schools for music in the United States for its commitment to music education. The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation selected only 78 elementary, middle or high schools in the entire country for their music merit award. The school was one of only two in Colorado that made the list. And Governor Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers’ ten-year plan to reduce property taxes cleared its first legislative committee Tuesday.
  • On Thursday morning, students walked out of Montezuma-Cortez High School in protest of the recent changes to administrators and staff. The principal of Montezuma-Cortez, Emily Moreland, was placed on administrative leave following a meeting with Superintendent Tom Burris on Tuesday afternoon. Another administrator, Assistant Principal Lauren White, who was also in the meeting, quit. It’s still unclear as to exactly why Moreland was put on administrative leave. But three current teachers at Montezuma-Cortez – who spoke with KSJD under the condition of anonymity in case of reprisals – say that the swift departure of Moreland and White ultimately occurred because of a larger pattern of disrespect and bullying from Burris.
  • On Thursday morning, about 30 students and several parents stood outside the high school and held signs, protesting the swift departures of two administrators. Some teachers at Montezuma-Cortez say that the two left, in part, because of a pattern of disrespect and bullying by Superintendent Tom Burris.
  • The housing markets are slowing in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. And the principal of Montezuma-Cortez High School is leaving his position after only a few weeks on the job.
  • Three wildland fires were ignited by lightning on Friday in Mesa Verde National Park. And the Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School District will be cracking down on student attendance and discipline this year.
  • Colorado lawmakers are unveiling another effort to help survivors of natural disasters like the Marshall and East Troublesome fires rebuild their homes. And the Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School District will continue without a superintendent, at least for now.
  • Many communities in Colorado are sounding the alarm over the high cost of housing but the state's lawmakers are advancing a bill they say will help. And the Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School Board named finalists for the district’s superintendent position this week.
  • A new report from the United Nations’ panel on climate change lays out a grim picture of the future that includes more shortages for the already-dry Colorado River basin. A republican bill in Utah banning pornographic materials in schools passed the state’s House on Tuesday. And, the Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School Board appointed Harry Tom Burrus as the district’s interim superintendent.