Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two for June

The school board had two meetings in June.  Our regular meeting was held June 15th, and a special meeting was held the next evening, on June 16th.  Rick Ueberroth was not in attendance at either meeting.

At our regular meeting, we had several guests in attendance but no one spoke during the "Hearing of the Public" portion.  Board President Mona Dyke presented Melinda Albring with a commendation for her EMIS Professional Award.

We went into executive session before any other official business that night, to discuss employee employment.  Upon our return, all items in the consent agenda were passed with the exception of two things that the board had only received that evening and wanted more time to review before taking a vote.  These were the final appropriations for fiscal year 09/10 and the temporary appropriations for 10/11, required by law.

Under the recommendations of the treasurer, the board voted to keep student fees and cafe' charges at the same level as last year.  A job description for "Fiscal Secretary" was submitted for our consideration, but since we had only received it that evening, we decided to address it at the Wednesday meeting. 

The board approved agreements with the WGTE Educational Resource Center at the 'standard level' of fees for next school year.  We also approved the agreement with Healthcare Process Consulting, Inc. for next year as well as the maintenance agreement with SimplexGrinnell for the fire alarm systems at all buildings.

The board also approved a resolution for collaboration between the district, NWOESC and the Family First Council for a Family and Civic Engagement team in keeping with board policy.

A discussion on setting the graduation date for next year was held.  We talked about holding graduation on a Friday evening (like this year) versus on a Saturday afternoon, and the pros and cons of each option.  Kris Oberheim suggested taking a look at setting it on the weekend following Memorial Day weekend, and we decided to have the seniors' parents take a quick survey to learn their preference.  The survey taken for the 2010 graduation date had ended up being almost evenly divided between holding it on Friday night versus Saturday, because of the holiday.  Mr. Gfell will send out the survey by email, and we will make a decision at our July meeting on the matter.

A short discussion was held with principal Angie Lutz concerning Extended Day services proposed for before and after school care of children.  We have the space in our current buildings and would incur no additional cost for preparing them for use by such a program.  The board does not find it appropriate to have these services unless they are completely paid for by a grant or can be completely self-funded through fees collected.  If we can begin with at least a "break-even" financial situation, it could work.  Mrs. Lutz has visited similar operations in our area, and many are able to turn a tidy profit.  We will find out in July whether 21st Century grant money will be available to us for this purpose, and will decide whether to move forward at that time.

Next, we talked about whether or not to bring back class advisors in the high school.  Currently, we have a Student Council Advisor, but the district has not had class advisors for many years.  These positions are outlined in the SEA contract and include a 4% supplemental salary to those who hold the positions.  It was presented as a positive method with which to raise morale and school spirit, should we implement them.  The board decided that a more detailed list of job responsibilities should be prepared by high school administration with the SEA for our July meeting, so that all are on the same page and level of understanding of exactly what these advisors would be expected to do.

Committee reports were given on strategic planning, Board Docs, and random drug testing for extracurricular activity participants. 

Superintendent Paulette Baz told everyone that the problem at the new track continues - there is water leaking underneath and causing the problem, but we haven't been able to discover where the water is coming from.  We won't repair the track until the underlying issue can be determined and addressed first.

This meeting adjourned around 9 o'clock.  

Our Wednesday night special meeting was called to discuss Mona's idea about forming a financial advisory committee, and we also addressed the two appropriation items that were moved from Tuesday night's  meeting.  We had only one guest that evening. (and she wasn't taking anybody's picture with her phone . . . )

In preparation for our discussion, other school districts were asked whether they had a community-based financial advisory group and a handful provided written material on the particulars of their group. 

In general, what we agreed was that this group would be a Superintendent's committee, made up of community members with financial aptitude and interest in working in an advisory capacity to the Board.  It would not be a decision-making unit, but would offer recommendations and suggestions on financial matters with impact on our district.  We wanted its members to be 5, and a few people have already expressed an interest in participating.  Contact will be made with them soon, to verify whether they remain interested.   

The team would also be advantageous in community support of things related to our school district.  Sometimes people get upset about things that they honestly just don't understand or have limited knowledge about.  This advisory team could help the community gain further knowledge about school finances, and that is always a good thing.

The final appropriations for 2009/10 were approved, as were the temporary appropriations for 2010/11.

The job description for a Fiscal Secretary was presented for our consideration.  Treasurer Cheryl Swisher explained in greater detail some of the scope of her vision for the position.  The board made a modification to the job description, to have it be a "4 to 8 hours per day" position and then gave our approval.  Cheryl asked permission to post the job, and a majority of members granted it (no formal vote was taken).

The board then went into executive session for the treasurer's evaluation.  When we returned, the board voted to grant the treasurer a 3% increase to her salary and added 5 vacation days, to bring her in line with other administrative positions of our district.

This special meeting ended shortly after 9 o'clock.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thanks, Rick!

Many are aware that a beautification process for Swanton is being headed up by Rick Kazmierczak, and that part of it includes school grounds.

I was not able to help on June 5th when Phase I was implemented as I had family issues to deal with - but I hope you have time to take a drive by the high school to see what was done that morning (before the rain hit!).  Volunteers did a lot of work that day, and the results look great!

Phase II and III will come later - no doubt just as good as the first!  Many thanks to Rick Kaz for his vision and hard work in helping to bring this together, as well as to all the men and women who volunteered their time to make it happen.