grading scale are hot topics
Bus service and grades were the dominant topics of discussion at the September meeting of the school board, which was held Monday, Sept. 20.
Two more families from outside the district, who already send their children to Prairie schools, requested bus service to their homes. Currently both families are transporting their children to the nearest current bus stop.
Superintendent Stan Kress said he researched the legalities and found that the only legal requirement is that to send a bus into another district, the other district needs to agree to allow that to be done.
With that in mind he came up with an agreement form that would need to be signed by the other district before anything further can be discussed.
The board passed a motion to have the requesting families get the agreement signed first then have Kress, Dave Remacle and Dave Snodgrass see what can be worked out once that is done and report back to the board.
Remacle reported that transportation costs would not be reimbursed by the state for any travel beyond district boundaries to pick up students. Running the costs, at about 3-4 miles out side the district you run into the transportation costs becoming more than what the district gets for having the extra student.
Kress said there are about 15-16 students living outside the district that are attending Prairie schools.
The other major topic of discussion was a request by some faculty and parents about the grading scale. The district policy is that 94-100 is an A, 87-93 is a B, and on down. A request was made to go with the more standard 90-100 is an A, 80-89 is a B, 70-79 is a C and 60-69 is a D. Concerns were expressed about getting a 60 and still passing. From the other side scoring an 80 and having it be only a C- grade was a concern. Another concern was scholarship competition and the weight grade point average has on college admittance and job searching. Kress pointed out that no matter what the grading scale is the individual teachers can still make it as tough or easy as they feel to achieve the grades. High School principal Mike Bundy said that at the high school it’s really more about credits than grades. Credits are what you need for graduation.
Several years ago this topic came before the board and at that time the board decided to stick with the current policy because they felt a change would be seen as relaxing the standards.
Board members were asked to get some input and they will discuss this further at the next meeting.
Enrollment numbers were released showing that the district is down 4 students from last year in September. With 434 total students compared to 438 last year.
The high school is up 4 at 157 compared to 153 last year. The middle school is down 4 at 137 compared to 141 last year and the elementary school is also down 4 students at 140 this year compared to 144 last year.
Currently the largest class is the junior class with 47 students while the second grade has the fewest at 23.
A quit-claim deed was approved for the old Ferdinand School. The district had sold that property some 30 years ago but a deed dispute came up and the legal descriptions still showed the district owning some of that property, even though they thought it had all been sold.
A suggested move of the safety bus stop for downtown area children was approved. It had been at the west end of the Nuxoll Shell lot and has now been moved to the rear of the old Olive’s Auto Parts building. Snodgrass felt that the Y intersection of Main and Front Streets just saw too much traffic, not to mention the variety of methods drivers use to make a left turn from Front onto Main.
The district has decided to offer the driver’s education car up for bids. They used a rental for the last driver’s training session because the district’s car was felt to be getting too old to use and has been a maintenance problem.
The board approved the full list of extracurricular assignment hires. A late addition was adding a C team volleyball coach. With 34 players out an extra coach was justified. Marlene Forsmann, who previously coached the JV team for several years, was recommended and approved.
The Child Internet Protection Act was discussed and technology coordinator Rene’ Forsmann noted that they are doing all they can to ensure that children can’t access inappropriate content. They’ve just added another protection program to what they already have. Kress noted that they still aren’t perfect though. Some enterprising students are still able to work their way around all the safeguards.
Phase II of the Technology Plan was approved. This is basically the budgeting phase where last year’s actual budget and the proposed budget for the coming year are laid out. Once this is submitted the district will receive the second half of their technology funds for the year.
The Annual Yearly Progress report was presented by Kress. He noted that Prairie schools all passed with no problems and showed the board members, with the list of schools that didn’t make the standards, that this is not an easy thing to do.
In administrative reports, Bundy had a projector hooked up to his laptop which was connected to the Internet and took the board through a demonstration of the district’s website. He showed them what is currently there and what they’d like to have there. Currently there are email links for all the faculty and administrators. It is hoped to have the teachers’ class assignments so parents can look up what their child is supposed to be working on.
There are also links to scholarship search sites as well as to the state’s site, which gives information on all the school districts in the state. Currently just the high school is online but it is hoped to be able to add the elementary and middle schools. The site can be found at http://www.sd242.k12.id.us.
Forsmann reported that September is a heavy testing month. They completed the Idaho Reading Indicator last week and start ISAT (Idaho Standards and Achievement Test) testing this week.
She said the open house went very well with about 92% attendance.
Kress reported on the board’s Idaho School Board Association resolutions. They were given “do not pass” recommendation by the ISBA legislative committee. They can withdraw or take it to the full convention. The resolution was to move the convention up to October so that they could have state political candidates provide their input and receive feedback from ISBA members before the elections. The convention this year is scheduled the week after the elections and board chairman John Nida says at that time they get little to no interest from the legislators.
The board adjourned to an executive session at 9:20 p.m.
The next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, October 18 at 7 p.m.