School board honors teachers at recent meeting
The Emery School board recently recognized two teachers from Huntington Elementary. Marie Johnson presented the award to Claron Durrant. Durrant has announced his plan to retire at the end of the current school year. Johnson commended Durrant for his 41 years of dedicated service as a teacher, including 31 years of service to the Emery County School District. She also noted that Durrant stepped in as the acting Principal at Huntington Elementary for nearly a year and provided outstanding leadership during this time. Johnson commented on his outstanding abilities as a teacher and his ability to help students succeed.
Board President Laurel Johansen presented an award to Jody Carter and commended her for the work she does for the students in her classroom. Carter has taught for 11 years and has also taken on some administrative duties when it is necessary for the principal to be absent from the school. Carter was also recognized for her abilities as a teacher and the success she has experienced in helping students to achieve.
Supt. Kirk Sitterud referred the board to a report from Business Administrator Jared Black concerning the leasing of the district's water shares. It was explained that the only change in the water share status was the use of two shares of water from the Cottonwood Creek for the new building construction home in Castle Dale. Everything else remained the same as the previous year. It is the recommendation of both the superintendent and the business administrator that the shares be leased in the same manner as they have been in the last several years.
LuAnn Sorenson, district preschool teacher, reported to the board on the preschool program in the school district. She gave each board member a copy of a brochure that outlines the district program and explains the goals and services provided to those children that are eligible for participation.
She indicated that there are currently programs housed at Ferron Elementary School, Cottonwood Elementary School, Cleveland Elementary School and Book Cliff Elementary School. Students from Huntington are bused to Cleveland Elementary and students from Castle Dale are bused to Cottonwood Elementary. Services are provided primarily to preschool age children who live in Title One school boundaries and to children with specialized needs under Special Education.
There are also a number of tuition students who participate as allowed by law. The board members expressed appreciation to Sorenson and to all of the para-educators and support staff that work in this important program.
Principal Tom Baltzer was excused from the meeting due to a job-related assignment out of town.
Baltzer had prepared a written report for each board member to review. Johansen expressed appreciation for the written report and noted Baltzer's efforts on behalf of the students at Huntington Elementary School.
Supt. Sitterud reported to the board concerning a copy of a resolution that the Juab School District Board adopted and would like all school boards in Region 12 to adopt concerning reducing the amount of time students are out of school for basketball games. The resolution would require that the region not play games until at least 5 p.m. beginning with the 2010-2011 season.
The superintendent asked that the board review the resolution and also allow him time to talk with other superintendents in the region about the issue. He would also like to make sure the Emery High School principal and coaches are aware of the resolution and have an opportunity to provide him with feedback.
The superintendent reported on several bills being presented for the Legislature to consider during its current session. He indicated that the Executive Appropriations Committee has asked all state agencies to submit a proposed plan to cut an additional 4 percent from the current year's budget and to start plans for a 3-5 percent cut for 2011.
The general feeling is that the Legislature will use "rainy-day" funds for part of the cuts, but that we could see some additional cuts on the current budget and on the 2011 budget as well.
The March meeting of the Emery County School District Board of Education was held at Cleveland Elementary School. Supt. Sitterud recommended to the board that the following individuals be approved for the positions indicated: Delaina Pizzuto: bus aide, Castle Valley Center bus transportation; Andrea Larsen: assistant track coach-Emery High; Nikki Withers: assistant track coach; Emery High; Dave Hrienson: assistant baseball coach Emery High; Jill Weber: educational assistant, three hour Castle Dale Elementary; Royd Hatt: track coach, Green River High.
Supt. Sitterud presented the following policy revisions to the Board, recommending that each revision be approved as presented:
JIC: student conduct - this is the former bullying policy which now is a new policy that stands by itself. This revision outlines conduct that is prohibited by law and references State law to help schools work with students who are habitually disruptive. JK: student discipline - trimmed down to eliminate lengthy wording and now includes the current State law on student discipline, including reasons for suspension and expulsion.
The next item was the appointment of negotiation team members for upcoming meetings. Board President Johansen appointed herself and Johnson to the licensed team and Royd Hatt and Nanette Tanner to the classified team.
Business Administrator Black will participate on both teams. She also extended authority to Supt. Sitterud to appoint district office personnel to chair negotiations meetings.
Black requested that one board member be appointed as a representative on the district buildings committee. This committee will begin the process of developing a long term plan for the renovation and construction of school buildings. Hatt indicated his interest and volunteered for the appointment. Sam Singleton motioned to appoint Hatt as the board representative on the buildings committee. Other members of the board indicated their interest in being involved in buildings planning and President Johansen requested that Black notify all board members when meetings are being scheduled so that they can attend when possible.
Black presented a list of proposed capital projects to be completed in 2010, either through a bidding process or by the Maintenance Department. Members asked various questions to clarify the purpose of some of the projects. Johnson also recommended that a couple of projects at Canyon View Junior High may work as Eagle Scout projects. Black indicated that he would pass this information on to the school.
Jeneane Warren, Child Nutrition Director, reported to the board on the progress of her programs. She gave each board member a copy of a financial summary from the summer lunch program in 2009. She plans to run the program again and expects it to grow each year.
She is also looking to partner with local libraries during the summer to encourage participation in both reading and summer lunch. She also gave board members a copy of the February report for school breakfast and lunch at each school in the district. President Johansen recognizes Warren for the amazing job she does and for the time and effort she puts into making these programs work successfully.
Principal Ed Clark was invited to report on Cleveland Elementary School. Clark thanked the school board for their support and expressed his excitement that Cleveland Elementary was named a 2009 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
Vicki Rasmussen and Principal Clark were able to travel to Washington D.C. in November to accept the award and had a great experience rubbing shoulders with administrators and teachers from other schools throughout the country. Clark also briefly discussed CTE programs in the district. There is a potential that the district will lose some funding through CEU that has been used for vocational programs, and if so, we will need to look at how to replace that funding.
Of note is that the automotive team placed second in the recent competition in New Mexico which includes several junior colleges. The team and Mike Kava should be congratulated.
President Johansen thanked Principal Clark for his report and indicated how proud the Board of Education is about what has been accomplished at Cleveland Elementary.
The superintendent reported on several bills being discussed in the Legislative session.
He indicated that House Bill 4, which has passed, will cost the district almost $70,000 in current year funding. This was the result of a reallocation of funds, most of which ended up going to larger districts in the state. The bill passed before districts even knew about it, so there was little that could be done.
Bills impacting the State retirement system are progressing and would result in a two-tiered system.
One tier for current employees would change very little. The second tier would be for employees hired after July 1, 2011 and would give these employees a choice between a defined contribution plan or a hybrid plan.
The details of these plans are yet to be finalized. Black indicated that the district recently completed an IRS audit on income tax reports and received only a couple of minor, immaterial findings which will be addressed.