policy changes generate interest
Three proposed changes in policy drew interest from several patrons at the July meeting of the school board Monday, July 21.
In particular the attendance policy and the drug and alcohol testing policy drew interest. The proposed attendance policy adds a way to make up excessive absences so that the student doesn’t lose credit for a class and have to retake it. According to state law once 9 absences are exceeded for a class in a semester, which amounts to 10% of class days, credit is lost. This policy would add the possibility of making up an absence through attending Saturday class sessions or through summer school. They would receive a No Credit grade until the days are made up. The policy also provides for notification of parents on the 5th and 9th absences.
Those in attendance were in favor of the drug and alcohol testing policy but the concern was that the random drawings for those tested were truly random so that kids don’t get the feeling of being “picked on.” Another concern was “why just the athletes?” The reason is that athletes, unlike the general student population, sign a contract at the start of the season to follow training rules and there are court precedents allowing the testing of athletes while there are also court precedents ruling against random testing of the general student population. The principal is allowed probable suspicion though. If he or she sees a student they feel might be intoxicated at school they can do a saliva or breathalyzer test on them.
Another concern expressed was that tests be for alcohol, tobacco and drugs each time. If you test for one, you need to test for all since the athletes have signed a contract stating they would refrain from using any of them.
The other proposed policy was for Credit Recovery and there were no comments from the public on that policy. This was considered the second reading on all three policies and final action will be at the next meeting, which was moved up from August 18 to August 11 so that the policies, especially the drug and alcohol one, could be in place prior to the coaches meetings for fall sports.
In other action the board approved the crisis policy, which had been discussed at previous meetings.
They also had to reapprove their contract with CompuNet as they hadn’t specifically named CompuNet in their previous resolution. This was legal bookkeeping requested by their lawyer.
Roy Schumacher and Bill Hill were sworn in for their new terms on the board. Schumacher was then re-elected as chairman of the board. Kelli Bruner was re-elected as vice-chairman.
Meeting dates and times will remain the third Monday at 7 p.m. except for next month’s meeting.
Hot lunch prices were raised. Lunch prices will now be $1.40 at the Elementary School, $150 at the Middle School, $1.75 at the high school for a 10 cent increase at each building and $3.00 for adults, a 25 cent increase.
Bus rental rates were increased to $3.50 per mile from $2.25 per mile.
Per diem rates were kept the same for meals but increased from 36 cents per mile to 50½ cents per mile for someone using their own vehicle for school business.
Facility use rates were discussed with the board members feeling the current rates were too low. They asked superintendent Gary Blaz and clerk/treasurer Denise Uhlenkott to research the actual costs and present that at the next board meeting.
Resignations were approved for Alica Holthaus and for Dustin Behler from his basketball coaching positions.
Jeff Martin was then approved for hire for the 7th grade girls and JV girls basketball positions previously held by Behler.
In administrative reports Blaz reported they are putting new carpet and vinyl corkboards in the halls at the elementary and that NICI work parties did a great job of painting in several of the classrooms.
He reported that as part of the wellness program they are establishing a fitness room in what has been one of the basement storerooms.
He is doing heating assessments on the buildings and will report on those at the next meeting.
He also reported the summer lunch program is going over very well with 50-60 served each day in Cottonwood and 20 or so each day at Ferdinand.
Todd Shumway reported They are doing some carpeting and painting in the band room and that the gym floor has been refinished. Refinishing the gym floor ended their open gyms for the summer and they are looking at setting something up at the football field.
The new computer lab is also coming along well.
Volleyball practice starts August 15 and football on August 18.
He also presented a class schedule to the board and commented on several new course offerings. Including clothing/sewing, PC service, digital photography, web page design, geology, drama, interior design and criminal justice.
He also attended the Idaho Law Enforcement Drug and Alcohol Conference and reported it’s scary what’s going on out there – what’s going on with Myspace and Facebook. We’re not as isolated as you might think.
Rene’ Forsmann reported the new scoreclock has been installed at the Middle School gym and that Ferdinand took the old one to put in the gym there.
New band instructor Mr. Eynan has cleaned up the music room and is installing a wireless sound system for the gym.
There is a lot of cleaning up being done and the gym floor is being refinished this week.
She also reported Rusty Lorentz has been doing a great job patching the roof and is plugging up several holes.
She said the fall ISAT testing is being dropped as is the 9th grade ISAT due mostly to lack of funding at the state level.
The board adjourned to an executive session at 9:35 p.m. The next regular meeting has been moved up a week and will be on Monday, August 11 at 7 p.m.