School board considers random drug testing
The Emery County School Board met at Huntington Elementary on Nov. 7. Emery High Principal Larry Davis gave an update on the proposed random drug testing policy at Emery High. Emery High first introduced the idea in February. An opportunity was given for the students to ask questions about the policy. Parents were also invited to attend an informational meeting, which was well attended. A survey was taken with 91 percent in favor of drug testing and nine percent opposed.
Principal Davis has looked at several school district drug testing policies. He has been using the Davis School Distinct policy as a model for Emery High. The policy will be adjusted to meet the needs of Emery High.
The Emery County Sheriff's Office is fully supportive of the drug testing and has offered their lab to use. The test will be conducted by Four Corners Behavioral Health. The starting cost is $10 per test, but is expected to decrease once the final price is negotiated. There is a proposed increase in activity fees to help fund the testing program.
Principal Davis likes the Davis School District model because it tests athletes, drill team and cheerleaders. It could also be expanded to students who participate in nonathletic clubs, initially only athletes will be tested. Students privacy will also be protected. Students will be assigned a number and the tests will be conducted randomly on a weekly basis. It has not yet been determined how the students will be randomly selected. If a student test positive for a substance no criminal prosecution will take place. Disciplinary action will be handled in accordance with Utah High School Athletic Association policies that are already in place. Parents will also be notified if a test is positive. The primary purpose of the drug testing is a deterrent. Principal Davis said, we don't want to be in denial. We want to be proactive.
One of the board members asked if Green River High had been contacted to see if there was any interest in starting a testing program. If they are interested a district wide policy could be written. Principal Davis has not contacted them, but will contact Principal Nolan Johnson to gauge interest. The policy has been explained to the students and parental consent is required before the testing takes place. A public meeting is scheduled for Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. at Emery High in the little theater.
The school board made a motion to hire Troy Winters as the head soccer coach at Emery High. An interview is scheduled for Friday for the girl's golf coach. The district consolidation plan was approved.
The three year calender was discussed. In the 2015-2016 calender year the compensation day for parent teacher conference will be on March 29. This will add an additional day to spring break. For the 2016-2017 calender year the students will return from Christmas break on Jan. 3. Also in the 2016-2017 calender year school will start on a Monday.
The school board approved travel for the automotive program to go out of state for a competition. USU Eastern will pay for the travel. It is a college level competition. Emery and USU Eastern students typically place high in this event.
Huntington Elementary principal Garth Johnson gave his report. He said the Halloween walk was fun and was attended by many parents who showed up in costume. Dustin Service has been hired as the new custodian. He is doing a good job. The school set a goal to read one million minutes by the end of the school year. They have read more than 400,000 minutes. Milestone events are planned at 500,000 minutes and 750,000 minutes. When the school reaches one million minutes read Mr. Johnson will shave his head.
The school district is familiarizing teachers, staff members and administration with the educator/administration evaluation system.
It is set to be implemented next year. Some of the tasks are complex. In the 2016-2017 school year compensation will be tied to the surveys, which makes it competitive.
The State of Utah superintendant gave his state of education address on Nov. 19. It was broadcast as well as streamed online.