|School board revises activity eligibility policy|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00|
K-12 enrollment expected to
break the 200 mark for the
first time since 2007-2008
By Sheri Hink-Wagner
The Wauneta Breeze
The Wauneta-Palisade school board met Monday evening for their regular August meeting where they finalized details for the upcoming school year. School starts next Wednesday, Aug. 20.
One of the biggest decisions made was to revise the eligibility policy, which determines what makes a student eligible to participate in sports and extracurricular activities.
The new policy offers students more flexibility by giving them more time to improve grades before they become ineligible to participate.
Under the new policy students who are failing two or more subjects during a week will be placed on academic probation. Failing is considered grades below 70 percent. Students are still eligible to participate in activities for the first week of academic probation but they will become ineligible if they are failing two or more subjects for two consecutive weeks.
During the first week of academic probation students are required to spend 30 minutes of extra study time at school each day, either before school, over lunch or after school.
The downs list, which details which students are failing a subject, are turned in by teachers by 12:00 p.m. each Monday and determine the student’s eligibility/probationary status for the following week. Ineligibility periods are calculated from Tuesday to Tuesday.
The board also added a stipulation that ultimate eligibility for activities will be determined by the administration so students who may habitually be on the downs list, but who are actively working to improve their grades may still participate in activities.
The former eligibility policy had less leeway, it made students ineligible for activities if they were failing two or more subjects in a week.
WP Superintendent Randy Geier said the new policy offers a balance of supporting students and holding them accountable.
In addition to the student eligibility policy, school board members also completed the annual adoptions of the parent involvement/community relations policy and the student fees policy.
The parent involvement/community relations policy is a “cookie cutter” policy that is approved each year before school starts. It states that parents and community patrons may submit comments with the school superintendent and that comment forms are available in each of the school’s buildings.
The forms are intended to help resolve issues, arbitrate disputes, facilitate understanding, recognize achievements and commend success.
The student fees policy states that students who are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program and who can not afford supplies for school, such as shoes for athletics or wood for wood shop class, may request the items be purchased by the district. The school district will then maintain ownership of the project or items at the end of the semester.
Sale of property
School board members decided to accept bids on the sale of two lots. The first lot includes the old bus barn, a 30-foot by 50-foot building with electricity and water, and a small tract of land. The other is an empty 75-foot by 135-foot residential lot. Board members said they would maintain a 40-foot access to the practice field after the sale. Both are located near the current ag shop.
Board member John Jutten cautioned fellow board members on selling the property without having a plan in place for using the money earned. His sentiment was, “Once you sell it, you’ll never get it back.”
After discussion, board members agreed to put the property up for bids. If any bids are received they will decide if they really want to sell the property at that time.
Wage increase for non-certified staff
School board members voted to allow the superintendent to use his judgment when determining wage increases for non-certified (non-teaching) staff.
In the past, the board has set a maximum increase percentage (2.5 percent last year) and the superintendent could give raises at his discretion up to that amount.
This year, the board voted to give non- certified staff wage increases that are determined by merit and based on personal job evaluation at the discretion of the administration.
Board members wanted to offer raises that are commensurate with the job performed by non-certified staff and did not want to “tie the superintendent’s hands” by setting a maximum amount. The administration was asked to make sure any wage increases would fit into the school’s budget.
Palisade driveway project
The Palisade Attendance Center will gain a new driveway and student drop off area shortly after school starts. The board approved a $9,846 estimate from Baxter Concrete to complete the work.
Members stated the new driveway will provide additional student safety as well as eliminate street parking issues at the attendance center.
iPads for junior high
The board approved purchase of iPads for all students in junior high (seventh and eighth grades).
The administration feels the availability of iPads for junior high students will both help teachers and expand the current curriculum.
Members added they may consider purchasing iPads for fifth and sixth graders in the future.
School board members approved the firm of Bentley & Kisker PC as the school’s auditor for another year.
Board members also approve the extra duty assignments for teachers at the August meeting. The list includes athletic coaches, class and extracurricular activity sponsors.
Geier reported the new hallway carpet at the Wauneta Attendance Center will not be installed until after the school year begins due to a delay in the manufacture of the custom made carpet. Installation is expected to begin around Aug. 27 and the installer will make every effort to complete the installation when school is not in session.
He also reported that the transportation committee met last month to discuss the bus routes. He said the new bus route plans should shave considerable time off the routes. The new routes are still being finalized and will be released at a later date.
Geier told the board that Joseph Frecks has been designated as an assistant principal in addition to his teaching and athletic director duties. Frecks will serve as a backup for activities and discipline issues as well as serve as the administration designee if the superintendent is out of the building.
Geier also gave board members an update on the expected enrollment numbers for the 2014-2015 school year. He anticipates a K-12 enrollment of over 200 students for the first time since the 2007-2008 school year.
The Kindergarten class is expected to be at around 20 students, a good trade off for the 11 seniors who graduated in 2014.
The number of students choosing to opt in or out of the Wauneta-Palisade district was also discussed. Geier said the numbers approximately equal out.
Roger Reikofski told the board the diesel tank in Palisade is set to be removed on Wednesday, Aug. 13. It is his hope to find someone to haul it off the same date. The district has until December 31 to remove and dispose of the tank, but he would like to have it done before school starts.
Reikofski also provided the board with an update on the new playground in Palisade. The district received a $15,000 grant from the Hansen Foundation to purchase a new shade structure and the concrete work beneath the structure.
The Elementary Open House is set for Tuesday, Aug. 19 from 5:30 p.m. MT/6:30 p.m. CT until 7 p.m. MT/8 p.m. CT in Palisade. During the Open House the school will serve hamburgers, hotdogs, salads and chips. The Bronco PTO members are sponsoring an ice cream dessert bar during the event. Southwest Public Power will supply the paper goods and water for the event.
At the Open House students and their families will have an opportunity to meet their teachers and put school supplies away in their desks.
The next regular meeting of the Wauneta-Palisade School board is set for 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT on Monday, Sept. 8 in Wauneta. The public is welcome to attend school board meetings.