EVANSTON — Multiple items were discussed during a lengthy meeting of the Uinta County School District No. 1 board of trustees on Tuesday, Sept. 5. In addition to assessment results, professional learning communities and curriculum, trustees focused on policy adoption and board goals.
The board continued work on the alcohol and controlled substance testing policy, voting to approve the first reading. The community use of school facilities policy was subject to more discussion prior to voting.
Following the previous board meeting and discussion about the need to increase community facility use fees, district CFO John Williams developed a rate calculator to determine the actual costs associated with building use. Based on those numbers, Superintendent Ryan Thomas said, “No one could afford our facilities if we charged the actual rate.” However, Thomas added, “The goal was never to price community members out; the goal is to get a reasonable amount out of use.”
The updated community facility use policy includes verification of liability insurance or a waiver of district liability, submission of a detailed plan of the event and demonstration of adequate supervision, a plan for cleanup and a minimum deposit of $50, in addition to the fee increases. Following discussion, the policy was approved on first reading.
Trustees were asked to consider a request from Lincoln-Uinta Child Development Association to lease the Kirlin Building for two months until their new space at the Uinta BOCES No. 1 building is move-in ready. Thomas explained that the lease should not impact district transportation or any other district functions, and the lease was approved.
Board goals for 2017-18 were also on the agenda. Thomas initiated a discussion with the trustees about what goals they would like to set for the board. Trustee David Bennett said he would like to see the board pursue a reduction in size from nine to seven members by the 2018 election.
Bennett said, “It’s basically a sell job on my part.” He said that he’s been on other boards in different school districts and they all had smaller boards. Bennett said he felt it would be easier to communicate with only seven members, and added “we usually have only six or seven people here anyway.”
Trustee Kay Fackrell said he felt any discussion about reducing the size of the board should be broad and include the community, and that he wasn’t sure that a board of seven would adequately address the needs of the district. Trustees Jami Brackin and Tammy Walker said they would like additional background information on how the size of the board was set at nine and the size of other districts in Wyoming.
Bennett said that another issue he would like to see the board tackle is that of concealed carry of firearms by teachers in district schools. He said he feels this is a safety issue. Brackin said that she would like to look at safety overall and not just the concealed carry component.
Other board goals included finding more opportunities for board training and pursuing options for concurrent enrollment courses for high school students. Trustee Cassie Torres said that she has had the opportunity to attend conferences; however, she would like to pursue other forms of training that do not require travel. Thomas said the Wyoming School Board Association may be offering webinars in the future that could help with board training.
Evanston High School principal Merle Lester said he has been in talks with staff at BOCES regarding concurrent enrollment courses and the need to hire individuals able to teach courses at that level. Lester said there are more advanced placement classes being offered this year at the high school.
Assistant superintendent Doug Rigby said he prefers concurrent enrollment courses because students get college credit for those classes whereas with AP classes students only get college credit if they score high enough on AP testing. Thomas said that Wyoming PTSB has very stringent requirements regarding teaching concurrent enrollment classes that make it difficult to find qualified staff.
Thomas said issues raised during the board goals discussion can be placed on future agendas for continued discussion.