Emery County students will return to the classroom on Aug. 25. Teachers will begin their year on Aug. 24 with the opening program. Steve Aldona will speak to the teachers, support staff and anyone wishing to attend on healthy living. He is a former instructor at Brigham Young University and now owns his own business. The opening program will begin at 8:45 a.m. The teachers will be welcomed back by school board member Sam Singleton. A benefits fair will also be presented this day for teachers and their families at the recreation center in Castle Dale from 11-2 p.m. Vendors will be set-up at the recreation center this day and lunch will be served.
Maintenance and repair work has been ongoing all summer in the local schools to ready for the first day of school. Major projects have included the paving and construction of a new road near Canyon View Junior High to allow better access to the school. The other project was the complete restoration of the Emery High track. Improvements were also made at the EHS baseball field where new bleachers were installed and sod was laid where it used to be dirt surrounding the bleachers and down the first base line side of the field.
Football will begin on Aug. 21 with a home game against Grand County on Friday night at 7 p.m. The first school board meeting of the new school year will be on Sept. 2 at Emery High at 7 p.m.
Board president Laurel Johansen will attend the convention for school board members where they detail legislative updates. Superintendent Kirk Sitterud predicted another difficult year upcoming in the legislature. Cuts are expected to be 15 percent. He thinks there will be changes in the state retirement in regards to new hires. New hires could be under a different system entirely. The rainy day fund is still there and legislators can tap into it if needed.
During the August school board meeting a number of policy revisions were approved. Three of those are new provisions as required by the state board of education rules. All teachers are required to have a background check at the time of their licensure as teachers. The new ruling will ensure that teachers undergo another background check at the time of their re-licensure which is every five years. Support staff is required to have a background check at the time of their hiring and will also need a background check every five years. The district is putting together a schedule to ensure these background checks are completed as needed.
It is also required by all employees if an arrest occurs for a sex offense, drug or alcohol offense or a violent act offense the employee must notify the superintendent or person in charge about this arrest immediately. It will be determined if it is job related and it will be determined if that person can return to work. In some cases a suspension will come into effect. Especially regarding a bus driver in the event of a drug or alcohol offense.
Other policies being revised included the staff leave and absences. Added to the policy was a statement on bereavement leave to attend the funeral of an uncle, aunt, nephew or niece. This would allow employees one day of leave and if additional time was needed for travel, the employee would need to take personal leave. This is an addition to the policy which states the allowances for leave in regards to deaths in the immediate family.
Other clarifications to this policy include a new hire is entitled to 10 days sick leave. If the employee starts after the employment period begins then the sick days will be pro-rated.
The policy GDCB was rescinded because it has been combined with the other staff leaves and absences on policy GCC-GDC.
Under GCBD/GDBD staff fringe benefits the district will pay 93.3 percent of monthly fee and the employee will pay 6.7 percent employee contribution. Under the staff sick leave payout any payouts will be deposited in the employee's 401k.
In regards to the health insurance waiver rules and guidelines, if an employee opts out of the insurance benefit because of other coverage, 50 percent of this benefit will be given as a monthly stipend. In the staff longevity benefit there will be a change in the wording to reflect the district is using the prime choice plan.
Superintendent Sitterud reported there are a number of vacancies in the educational assistants needed in the schools. Interviews are being conducted now to fill these positions. Amanda Frandsen was approved to be the drill team advisor and her assistant is Lacey Branson. The coaches list was approved. Carrie Guymon was approved as a half-day kindergarten teacher for Ferron. Jasa Norton will move back to Castle Dale for kindergarten. There will be three sessions of kindergarten at Huntington Elementary. There will be two sessions of kindergarten at Cleveland Elementary. Another teacher will be needed for kindergarten at Cleveland as LuAnn Jensen the current teacher at Cleveland for kindergarten is part-time. The possibility of a split of the first grade class at Bookcliff Elementary is being discussed because there are 29-30 in the class.
Business Administrator Jared Black reported the annual asbestos notification of asbestos containing materials in all the schools is out. These reports are included in plan books for each school and can be viewed at each school in the district.
The school board approved a contract for the renting of school buses to governmental entities. Anytime a school bus is rented it can't cost the school district anything. The fee for mileage is set at $3.50 per mile.
The board approved the rental of school buses for the Emery County marathon which will take place on Sept. 12. The buses will transport 300-400 people from the Huntington city park to the Swinging Bridge in the Swell. Those running the full marathon begin running at the park and then are transported back after reaching the bridge.
Superintendent Sitterud reported there will be substitute teacher training with Ralph Worthen. Haz-Mat training will also be held and the new teacher training is scheduled for Aug. 19-20.