Board Meeting in Review – January 20, 2020

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Board of Education officers for 2020 were elected as follows:

President – Gary Schuette

Vice President – Chris Blackledge

Secretary – Joe Childs

Treasurer – Leon Densmore

Superintendent Denney and the Board of Education were happy to honor the Junior Medal of Honor recipients for November and December, as well as fall athletic award winners.  Also, certificates of appreciation and small gifts were given to board members in honor of January being School Board Recognition Month.

The high school student council announced this year’s Snowfest court:

Freshmen – Andrew Carpenter and Alayssa Murine

Sophomores – Gavin Gumper and Lilly Wooster

Juniors – Drew Jordan and Hallie Cain

Senior Girls – Abigail Beneke, Kenadee Krage, Cayla Uphaus, Hayley Major, and Lauren Polly

Senior Boys – Trent Finegan, Dillon Diamond, Rhett Laketa, Bryce Sanders, and Mitchell Sauber

During the public comment portion of the meeting, four elementary teachers expressed to the board how critical the need is for a social worker at the elementary.  A community member questioned the board president about his role as president and how it might be affected if he were elected Sheriff.

The second reading of NEOLA policies Vol. 34, No. 1 – Tobacco Policies, Vol. 34 No. 2 – School Administrator Evaluation, and the Special Update – October 2019 were approved.

Superintendent Denney updated the board on the progress of the bond project.  We should have the final set of blueprints before revisions to send out to bid by the middle of next month.  The code requirements and the impact they will have on the overall project budget are still being sorted out.  For instance, to be in compliance with current code, we will have to install a sprinkler system and new bathrooms.  The sinking fund should be able to address some of the added costs.  Some bond projects should start in the summer.

Superintendent Denney presented the quarterly updates of the Board Goals #1 and #2.  These updates include assessment of ways to reduce the achievement gap for At-Risk, Title I, and special education students, which will entail exploring At-Risk interventions, and an additional RTI teacher for the remainder of this school year; continuing School Improvement meetings; exploring new curriculum/programming and professional development; partnering with JCISD to expand the substitute teacher pool; new contracts with all groups; encouraging community involvement through groups such as the PTA, Music Boosters, Athletic Boosters, and Unity Horton events; expansion of diversion programs for all students; bond project; utilizing Technology Bond funds; finding new social work partnerships; and energy savings programs.

The board discussed the current partnership with Lifeways, who provides us with a school social worker at the elementary level.  Since there is no social worker at the elementary at this time, the board felt it is imperative to find someone to fill that role as soon as possible.  There has been too much turnover in the social workers Lifeways has provided to us in the past.  They discussed at length three possible solutions to this situation:  A social worker hired by the district, continuation with the Lifeways partnership until the end of the school year, or exploring the possibility of partnering with Jackson Counseling for Well Being.  The board approved severing the partnership with Lifeways and gave the Superintendent the authorization to negotiate with Jackson Counseling for Well Being to provide a social worker for the elementary, as well as an additional social worker for the middle school/high school building.  At the end of the school year, this partnership will be reevaluated.

Superintendent Denney reported to the board members on the following:

  • Thank you to the board for their service to our district.
  • Will be happy to get some good social workers in place in our buildings, as stability is needed in those roles.
  • Second semester is up and running!

The Board of Education members commented on the following:

  • It was nice to start the meeting on a positive note with the students’ recognitions of a job well done, at the elementary level as well as high school athletes.
  • Good discussion regarding the need for school social workers.
  • Thank you to the building principals and teachers for the job they do.
  • The board is proud of the community and school district.

The board went into closed session at 8:30 p.m. to discuss the HHEA contract and non-union salaries.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:13 p.m.


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