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Monticello School District Board Meeting, Track & Policy Changes

June 23rd, 2011 by

The Monticello School District Board held a meeting June 21 at 5:30 in the Monticello Intermediate School library.

Superintendent Bobby Harper opened the meeting by recognizing ten staff and faculty members retiring this year. This included assistant superintendent John Hoy, who recently accepted the position of assistant commissioner of the Arkansas Education Commission.

“I know that you all love the kids. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have been in it so long,” Harper said to those recognized.

Harper said Hoy is “the kind of guy who will talk to our kids one-on-one.” Harper said Hoy would be in a position to help many kids across the state.

“I am a strong believer God will take you where you need to be,” Hoy said.

The board then discussed several items on the agenda.

Resurfacing the track

The board passed a motion to seek bids for the resurfacing of the school track. Harper said the track has a lot of wear and tear, and that it should be resurfaced every six to eight years.

The district received four grants as part of joint-use agreements, including one for $10,000. The city of Monticello will pay for the electricity needed to operate the lights and other services at the track.

Student policy updates

Hoy outlined recommended changes to the student policy. Some changes will occur because of laws dealing with foster children. Foster children will be able to decide to stay in their current schools if custody changes.

A major change for students and parents will be how the district handles absences. Before, the district differentiated between excused and unexcused absences. With the start of the new school year, these two types of absences will only be considered absences, regardless of reason for absence. The district currently sets the limit of absences to 10 per school year. Hoy said this change in policy reflects recent state laws.

Hoy stressed the letter of law may need to evolve with time, and the policy allows for “unforeseen circumstances” regarding absences. Board member Lee Busby expressed concern over the number of absences, but Hoy said since the district sets the number of absences, it can be changed if it becomes a problem.

The board also discussed equal access for student organizations. State law mandates the same teacher or instructor cannot lead or supervise every meeting of an organization. State law also states student organization meetings cannot interrupt curriculum.

The board also discussed privacy of student records. Custodial parents must inform the district with a written court order if student records should not be given to non-custodial parents.

Cellphone usage policies also saw revision. The policy states students can only use cellphones during non-instructional time, and only before the first school bell and after the last school bell. Teachers may allow students to use smartphones for math problems and other such situations.

Hoy presented the policy changes to the board on a first-read basis and recommended the board pass the revisions so the district would have time to print the policies before the beginning of the new school year. The board passed the policy revisions.

Other topics discussed

The board also approved the continuation of the Student Activity Accident insurance policy, which covers all activities and students with $10,500 per year in coverage.

A bid of $60,047 was accepted by the board to replace all the outside doors of the high school and two doors inside at the high school gym.

The board also voted to get the carpet in the high school library replaced. Harper estimated the cost would be around $8,500.

The board rejected a bid of $64,000 to replace metal rails in the gym. The board will reopen bids for the project.

The board also accepted a motion to replace the gym seats for a bid of $21,896 pending the district auditor’s discretion.

The board will hold the next meeting on July 19.

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