2017-09-21 / Inside Education

Cupp passes away unexpectedly

Sports/Education Editor

Jim Cupp Jim Cupp Mariposa County has lost an enthusiastic supporter of education.

District 2 school board member Jim Cupp passed away last Thursday, Sept. 14, it was announced at the board meeting for the Mariposa County Unified School District.

Cupp was elected to the school board in the November 2016 general election.

Superintendent Robin Hopper said Cupp had been in the hospital for nearly 10 days before passing away.

“He’d been very ill,” Hopper said.

A moment of silence was held in honor of Cupp.

“Jim’s wife Corinne wanted to express to us how much he enjoyed being on the board, although his time was short,” Hopper said. “He’d come full circle in his service, because he was a teacher, an administrator and now a board member. He was really enjoying that role.”

Hopper told the Gazette the board will need to have a provisional appointment to fill the void in the school board. A provisional appointment is a temporary appointment to a continuing position, intended later to be converted to a non-temporary appointment.

Kiwanis member Marina Fisher donated a $200 check to the school district at last week’s board meeting. 
Photo by Matt Johnson Kiwanis member Marina Fisher donated a $200 check to the school district at last week’s board meeting. Photo by Matt Johnson More details will be available as the situation progresses.

Vehicle received from Probation Department

The Mariposa County Probation Department donated a 2011 Ford Fusion to the school district.

It will be used to provide transportation for personnel assisting at-risk youth, primarily in the northern part of the County.

“We as a community, whether it’s the sheriff’s office, human services, all the departments in the county, recognize that without a strong commitment to our youth, we don’t have a healthy community,” said Pete Judy, Chief Probation Officer for Mariposa


The vehicle, known as PD-15, has been underutilized by the probation department. The Fusion is significantly smaller than other law enforcement vehicles and wasn’t ideal for its situation.

Judy said “we saw an opportunity” to “support more services” in some capacity on the northern part of the County.

The probation department has grant funding available to purchase a full-size replacement vehicle for PD-15 so it will not impact the department negatively.

“We do recognize we’re in this together and by us working together, we can solve problems that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” Judy said. “For that, the board is happy to donate this particular vehicle.”

New telephone system approved

A new Voice Over Internet Protocal (VOIP) telephone system will be installed district-wide.

The board also approved the purchase of a TRIP LITE battery backup system for use during electrical outages. Because the VOIP system relies on the operation of the school’s servers, the battery backup system will ensure that phones remain active in the event of a power failure.

The total cost for both projects is $82,010.20, which will be funded by bond proceeds.

Weight room update, gym floor to be cleaned

Asbestos abatement in rooms 70/72 at Mariposa County High School is now complete.

“We are all clear,” said Charlotte Kelsey, facilities director for MCUSD.

The rooms, which are part of one building structure, are in the process of being converted into a new weight room for the school, which should be finished soon.

The project is funded by donations and the district’s fund 40 (capital outlay fund).

Also at MCHS, the gymnasium floor at will be cleaned soon, MCHS principal Celeste Azevedo said.

“We couldn’t clean it in the summer, but we are going to clean it before we go into basketball season, because right now it is very slippery, and cleaning it will help,” Azevedo said.

The floor is playable, but there have been issues with “dead spots.” A gym modernization plan will address that issue eventually.

Finally, Kelsey said she has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “get a lot of documentation together” for reimbursement for issues due to flooding last winter.

Kelsey said it will be “quite a bit of money,” possibly up to $100,000 of reimbursement.

In other education news...

• Marina Fisher, manager of the Mariposa Farmers Market and the vice president of the Mariposa Kiwanis Club, presented a check for $200 to the school board on behalf of Kiwanis.

The money will go toward children affected by the Detwiler Fire, particularly to provide food for them.

“When the Detwiler Fire happened, we sat down as a unit and were trying to figure out what we could do,” said Fisher. “I wish we could do more. Perhaps we can later.”

• In Mariposa Elementary School principal Erin Vereschagin’s board report, it was noted the school’s recent breakfast fundraiser raised $500 for Detwiler Fire victims. The school’s Parent Club will keep the funds in an account and they will be used as needs arise.

• A new marquee was installed at Greeley Hill Elementary on Aug. 16, it was noted in the board packet report.

• Grant money will be used to purchase four new stoves and a refrigerator at the alternative education campus on Silva Road, it was noted in the board packet report. It will enable the school to incorporate nutrition, meal design and food preparation into its elective program.

• Board member Wayne Forsythe said the Mariposa County Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction raised over $125,000 for students that will use the money for scholarships and other needs.

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