Emery County school board starts new year
The December 2009 meeting of the Emery County School District Board of Education was held at San Rafael Junior High. Supt. Kirk Sitterud presented the Utah Consolidated Application for board approval.
He explained the plan is part of No Child Left Behind and includes the district's major goals for the coming year. It is based on data from state core tests as well as perceived needs with regard to other priority issues including school climate, English language learners, highly qualified teachers, etc.
The plan also includes budget details for several programs. Members of the board asked questions and Sitterud provided clarification. The board approved the plan.
Sitterud recommended to the board that the following individuals be approved for the positions indicated, beginning their responsibilities on the dates indicated: Alan Lemons-educational assistant, fifth grade, three hour at Cottonwood Elementary started Dec. 1, 2009; Pauline Jensen-educational assistant, resource, two hour at Ferron Elementary started Dec. 2, 2009.
The board approved the monthly meeting calendar for school board meetings in 2010.
Principal Garth Johnson thanked the board for their support of education in the district. He complimented all of the faculty and staff at his school and expressed appreciation to employees in the district who assist at San Rafael, including maintenance, transportation and technology. His faculty and staff have responded to many challenges this year and continue to do a great job. President Laurel Johansen thanked Principal Johnson for his enthusiasm and positive attitude.
Sitterud recognized the recent passing of former District teacher Joyce Larsen. He also commented on the upcoming budget environment. After recent conversations with College of Eastern Utah, the district is not anticipating cuts to vocational programs at Emery High that are funded through the Applied Technology College. Discussions with members of the Legislature have resulted in the district anticipating between a 3 percent and 7 percent reduction in state funding for the next fiscal year and it is still possible that a current year funding reduction may happen..
All of this is preliminary and the district will wait for the Legislative session to conclude before making any plans.
Jared Black, business administrator, reported that another item that will be discussed by the Legislature is that of making alterations to the pension plans offered by Utah Retirement Systems. Many possibilities have been discussed but nothing will be finalized prior to the Legislative session.
He then discussed two options for the purchases of buses this year. He will bring a bid to the January meeting for approval.
Corinne Dalton presented information about a potential trip to Denver for the agricultural program at Emery High School. She will work on finalizing plans.
The January 2010 meeting was held at Cottonwood Elementary School. Sitterud presented an award plaque to member Marie Johnson for 20 years of service as a board member.
The award was originally presented to Johnson at the Utah School Boards Association convention and she was one of less than a handful of board members statewide to receive the 20 year award this year. Other members of the Board congratulated Johnson on her years of service.
Sitterud presented a revision of policy JJIB-Interscholastic Athletics. Sitterud explained that the revision is intended to clarify that elementary students are not allowed to participate in secondary athletics unless board approval is given. For example, several years ago, a team from Green River needed sixth grade students to participate in order to field a full team and the board gave approval. The main policy revision is changing the word "compete" to "participate" to clarify that even practicing with secondary teams is not allowed. The board approved the change.
Sitterud recommended to the board that the following individuals be approved for the positions indicated; Jill Anderson-secondary resource teacher at San Rafael Junior High started Dec. 7, 2009; Marlene Fausett: student tracker tutor four hours a week, Canyon View Junior High, started Jan. 4.
Sitterud reviewed a memorandum of understanding for participation in the Federal Race to the Top program. The State Office of Education is preparing an application for Utah and if Emery School District wants to participate in the program if the state is awarded funding, the board needs to approve the memorandum.
He then discussed various aspects of the Race to the Top program, giving an overview of what it would mean to participate. Each state can apply for funding, but it is anticipated that only 6-10 states will receive the funding.
He recommended board approval of the memorandum. Members of the board asked questions to clarify aspects of the program and Sitterud responded to the questions. The board approved the memorandum. Sitterud explained that Mike Kava is requesting to take six students to the 3rd annual competition in Hobbs, N.M. from Feb. 2-6. Most fees would be paid for by CEU, however the group is doing some fundraising for the trip.
The automotive program has had excellent success at this competition in the past, even though it is a junior college level competition. The trip was approved.
Principal Jim Jones of Canyon View Junior High requested approval for an overnight trip for the junior high honor choir on Jan. 22-23. The trip would involve 10 students from San Rafael and eight from Canyon View. At least three adult chaperones would be attending, including two music instructors from the district. The trip is to participate in the honor choir competition at Cottonwood High School.
Black presented a proposal for the purchase of two school buses. Two options had been discussed in the prior month meeting and he recommended that the board approve the purchase of two of the 2007 engine buses. The quote this year came in at $117,148 per bus.
He explained that $3,000 per bus will be refunded because it is for delivery expenses and the district instead has employees pick up the buses and drive them to Emery County.
Principal Dennis Jones welcomed the board to Cottonwood Elementary School. He reported on several school improvement initiatives, emphasizing that improvement is an ongoing process at his school.
The school is emphasizing the use of data to assist individual students. The PTA has been a great help to the school, organizing an at-home reading program as well as the Reflections contest.
The student action team continues to operate, giving many students the opportunity to be assigned a teacher and help with any needs the teacher has, including tutoring younger students. Some members of the student action team were able to attend a training at BYU this year.
Principal Jones thanked and recognized his faculty and staff as well as the Board of Education for their continued support of Cottonwood Elementary.
Royd Hatt and other board members thanked Principal Jones for his report, noting his enthusiasm for school improvement.
Sitterud added that Principal Jones is the chair of the Elementary Language Arts committee and does a great job with this assignment.
Sitterud recognized the recent passing of former district teacher, administrator and board member Rue Ware.
He also recognized the passing of former Ferron Elementary secretary Sharon Jensen. He invited board members to attend the USBA Legislative Day on the Hill on Feb. 5.
He also reviewed the governor's budget recommendations and gave Board members a handout with information about the counselor to student ratio.
Black briefly reported on recent data about the group medical insurance plan.
The next school board meeting will be on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at Huntington Elementary.