Board divided over policy issues

schoolThe Stark County School board had two mixed votes over policy issues during their regular board meeting this past Monday.  Several student handbook changes were made and approved by a six to one vote, with Bob Groter the single nay vote.  
The discussion of changing the high school handbook language regarding extracurricular programs led to the split vote.  The new policy states that, “in a case where conduct by a player or team participant is so egregious or insubordinate that in the determination of the head coach, that participant’s continued membership on the team or club would cause a debilitating effect on the program, the coach may immediately suspend or dismiss the participant from the team.” 
“I have a problem with giving a coach too much power,” said Groter.  The original policy outlines five specific actions by students that will cause an immediate dismissal from the extra-curricular activity.  
Other changes in the handbook combine the Junior High and High School handbooks into one, as the majority of the policies are the same. Differences between the two schools will have their own section.
Graduation requirements have been changed from requiring 28 credits to graduate to 26 credits to graduate.
“This affects the elective required to graduate,” explained High School Principal Mike Domico. “It won’t affect the core requirements for graduation. It enables those students who are struggling a chance to retake core curriculum subjects and graduate.”  The change from the eight-block system to the eight periods a day does not give all students enough leeway to meet the credit requirements.
Elementary handbook changes were also approved.  Two of the more significant changes were the transportation of prescription drugs for students.
“Parents will have to directly transport medicine to the school and not send it with the child on the bus or other school transportation,” said elementary principal Renee Wallace.
The other change will be to help control visitor access at the beginning of the school day.  Parents will be allowed to walk their kindergarten or pre-schooler to their classroom for the first two weeks of school.  After that time the child will walk to the classroom on their own.
“It’s very chaotic at the beginning of the school day,” said Wallace. “The children’s safety is most important. I know the parents will understand.”
Anther policy change that received a split vote of four to three was to allow a parent to have their child attend Stark County for a half day and be home-schooled for the other half.
“We currently have a student attending a half-day,” said Superintendent Jerry Klooster.  “But the request for this student was past the deadline of May 1.”  
“I would like more information about the student,” said board member Dave Turner. “So that I can judge what is in the best interest of the student, to allow this or not.”
“We have deadlines for a reason,” interjected school board president Marty Cantwell. “If we make an exception then everyone will expect an exception.”
The final motion was to not allow the student to attend half-days with board members Cantwell, Knobloch, Turnbull and Rewerts voting yea and Turner, Groter and Rumbold voting nay.
After executive session the board hired Jade Noard as the head boys basketball coach for the coming season. The also approved the hiring of Deb Ford and Missy Smith as Junior High Summer School teachers and  Taul Noard as high school mathematics teacher and accept the resignation of Cheryl Daum as Junior High Cheerleading sponsor.
The board also approved a resolution to enter into a new five year superintendent’s contract creating a pay freeze for the 2010-2011 school year.  Subsequent years will be based on a percentage of the highest paid teacher in the district.  The board moved to amend the terms of the elementary principal’s contract, enacting a pay freeze for the 2010-2011 school year. The contract will run until July of 2012.
A board retreat was scheduled for Wednesday, July 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the State Bank of Toulon’s basement with Dr. Harold Ford to serve as moderator.
The board approved bids for bread, milk, waste removal and Rebel Reporter issues.  The bread bid was awarded to Interstate Brands of Davenports, the milk bids to Swiss Valley Farms and the waste removal bid to Waste Management.  They were the same vendors the district had last year and the amounts were slightly increased from last year.  The Rebel Reporter bid was given to the Prairie Shopper for $985 per issue.  This is different from the bid last year from the Stark County News for $938.85.  The new bid from the Stark County News was significantly higher due to mailing costs and included a five issue option for the year.
The board approved a resolution to adopt the prevailing wage.  This resolution is required by law every year.
The board also approved the property/casualty and workman’s comp insurance bid with Leezer Agency and Unland Companies.  The board went with Selective’s policy for an amount just above $104,000 a year.
Early dismissal days for the first two weeks of school were approved by the board. School will dismiss at 2 p.m. until  August 27.  
The next regular board meeting will be on July 19.

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