School district discusses future improvements
The April meeting of the Emery County School District Board of Education was held at Cleveland Elementary School. Business Administrator Jared Black briefly reported on the progress of capital projects the district will be completing over the next few months. Major projects include the track resurfacing at Emery High, a new lunchroom floor at Ferron Elementary, asbestos abatement at Cottonwood Elementary and Ferron Elementary, and fixing the heating and cooling systems at Green River High.
The members of the board considered the warrants and minutes for the February Board meeting, and financial reports from February 2009. The warrants, minutes and financial reports were approved as presented.
Superintendent Kirk Sitterud recommended to the Board that the following individuals be approved Tom Guymon, assistant track coach at Emery High; Kaylynn Cornett as drill team advisor at Emery High; and Brianna Robinson, cheerleader advisor at Canyon View Junior High.
Sitterud presented a request for unpaid leave on behalf of Schaly Ungerman, a preschool assistant at Cleveland Elementary. Sitterud explained that she is requesting unpaid leave from March 10 to the end of the school year for family reasons. She does not qualify for Family Medical Leave. Board member Nanette Tanner asked about what happens to the position in the meantime and Sitterud responded that a substitute would be used. The leave was approved.
Sitterud presented one policy revision to the board: Electronic Device Use by Employees. Sitterud explained that the revision of GBEE would match our policy to the recent rule change by the State Board of Education, allowing for the "appropriate use of two-way radios" when a school bus is moving. This type of communication is often necessary in the transportation department, especially when route changes, schedule delays and emergency notifications need to be made. The action was approved.
Black, business administrator, presented a service agreement for board approval which would allow the district to participate in a PrimeTrust plan through the Precision Retirement Group. Black explained that this plan would allow the district to pay longevity and retirement payouts into either a 401(k) or a tax-free medical trust account. The determination of which account the money goes into is made based on an interview the employee has with a representative from Precision Retirement. The medical trust option would provide tax-free money for medical expenses during retirement, which should be a tremendous benefit to many of the district's employees. The action was approved.
Black presented a quit claim deed for board approval. If approved, he explained that it would deed 3.36 acres of land near Canyon View Junior High to Huntington City so that a road can be built on it. The road would then be owned and maintained by the city. This is the road that would provide a new access route to the school. Members of the board reviewed maps of the proposed project. Marie Johnson then made a motion to approve the quit claim deed and authorize Black to sign it on behalf of the board.
The next item of business was the appointment of negotiation team members for upcoming meetings. Board President Laurel Johansen appointed herself and Johnson to the classified team and Sam Singleton and Tanner to the licensed team. Black will participate on both teams. She also extended authority to Superintendent Sitterud to appoint district office personnel to chair negotiations meetings.
Principal Ed Clark of Cleveland Elementary was invited to present an update of Cleveland Elementary School to the Board. Clark thanked the board for coming to Cleveland Elementary. The school is in consideration for a No Child Left Behind national award and was recently named a Gold Medal School of the Month in Utah. The school has experienced a 17 percent increase in enrollment from a year ago and that trend should continue into next year, when the projected enrollment is 184.
Principal Clark also recognized the quality teachers and staff working at Cleveland Elementary. Principal Clark also reported on some of the vocational programs in the district. Novell scholarships were recently awarded to three Emery High students. Only six scholarships are given statewide, so having three go to Emery High is impressive.
Other vocational awards recently received in the District include: Nikki Carter as the State Imaging Technology winner, the automotive program placing second at a competition in New Mexico, and Jesse Malan representing Utah at the National Range Management Competition. Clark expressed some concern over vocational funding next year, noting that we will know more in the upcoming days and weeks. President Johansen and other members of the board thanked Principal Clark for his work. President Johansen noted the standard of excellence at Cleveland Elementary.
Sitterud reported on budgetary cuts for the school district. Final numbers have not yet been received, but it does look like there is a cut of 17 percent in ongoing money. Much of that will be backfilled with one-time funds, but it is still looking like a 7-8 percent overall cut for next year, with a strong possibility of further cuts a year from now.