As students head back to school, Deputy Superintendent Phil Warner addressed board members as to where the district stood, during the Aug. 23 regular meeting of the South-Western City Schools Board of Education.
Warner reported that the new school season will have added around 64 teachers and 17 administrators. For ongoing support to the fresh hires some of the new teachers have been assigned mentors and monthly training retreats have been prepared for the incoming administrators.
Additionally, there was a reorganization and adjustment of the district’s custodial staff in concern to new buildings. The district was happy to report that all summer facility projects had been successful and fell under budget.
One of the goals the district was hoping to achieve was the reduction in traveling time for bus routes.
"I believe we’ve accomplished that," Warner said then added that all the buses have been already approved by the State Highway Patrol.
The transportation department was able to cut down on bus travel by streamlining routes, cutting back the amount of times one bus travels down any given street, making staffing adjustments, and by installing shuttle routes with high school buses.
Also, Warner said letters were sent out to alert parents that junior and senior students will no longer be included since most of them are now able to drive said Warner. However, for those without vehicles or if an upperclassmen’s vehicle situation changes, they can opt in by contacting the transportation department.
Due to Senate Bill 1, which requires the board of education to pass a policy to initiate policies and guidelines towards peanut allergies, a committee of parents, nurses, food service workers, transportation, and administration was appointed in February to create staff awareness of the possibly health and allergy risks associated with the sharing of food on school property.
"There are not a lot of youngsters that fall under this category, but it’s following state guidelines," Warner said.
Warner said this will definitely impact the allowance of food in the classroom, following a question by board member Jo Ellen Myers about how this policy would affect things like classroom birthday parties. Warner answered that any foods or snacks distributed within a classroom or after-school activity for such events such as a birthday party would first need to be pre-approved by the principal.
Similarly in topic, Warner went on and said they are forming a committee to discuss Senate Bill 210, concerning healthy behaviors. This bill will establish a standard for foods and control what is sold at school sponsored events.
A resolution was passed by the board in connection to Senate Bill 210, which waivers the Body Mass Index Screening Program that would require each student in kindergarten, third grade, fifth grade, and ninth grade to be screened for body mass index and weight status prior to May 1 of that year.
Warner wrapped up his report on the opening of school to the board by announcing that the new Parent Assist Modular now allows parents to check their children’s report cards, class schedule, tardy slips, and attendance amongst other things on line.
"Rational behind it is to work more closely with parents," Warner said.
Every building in the district has now been installed with a visitor ID system that can work in a wide spectrum of practical purposes, from printing substitute teacher/visitor badges to various slips and passes.
Pay-to-participate came up briefly nearing adjournment by board member Cathy Johnson.
According to Johnson, many student athletes are still unable to pay for their equipment and fees, therefore will not be able to play. Johnson took the opportunity to strongly encourage donations to assist students who cannot produce the funds to participate in school sports.
Board president Randy Reisling said that he is interested in hearing a report on the affect those fees connected to pay-to-participate are currently having on the district.
Johnson added that residents who are willing to donate can visit www.successbeyondtheclassroom.org where such organizations can verify the students with the greatest needs.