"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dec. 14, 2010 Board Meeting and Jan. 4, 2011 Superintendent's Meeting

Board Meeting: 12/14/2010

For information on the Work Session that occurred prior to the Board Meeting, please read part1 and part2.

Public Comments:
One woman came to comment on the $2M bonus given to all district employees.  She wanted to make sure that everyone knew that she has been pleased and supportive of the schools and the school district, but she felt she needed to make a comment ever since she found out about the bonus.  Her concerns were:
  • If there was money left over (1.5%) at the end of the fiscal year, why wasn't it saved for a rainy day fund?  It bothers her that everyone else is cutting back and this money was spent in difficult times.
  • Basics need to be taught.  How many teachers or aids could have been hired?
  • She sees some extravagant spending.  She likes extra-curricular activities, but, for example, drama productions--which she very much enjoys--have elaborate costumes and back drops.  They do an excellent job, but she would like more focus on the basics. 
  • The basics must come first. Taxpayers are happy to pay for basics but not for "extras".
  • Overall, why was $2M used in these tough times?
A group from Greenwood Elementary appeared to thank Board Member, Tim Osborn for his service and his work with them.

Recognition of Out-going Board Members:
Each out-going board member and their families were recognized and given a small gift.  They got time to share their thoughts.  I especially appreciated the comments of my predecessor, Chrissy Hanneman.  She said that a mayor in Hawaii used to say that a prophet said,  "When you are serving your fellow man, you are serving God."  She said she really felt that was what serving on the board was about...serving others.  She felt her family was benefitted in many intangible ways, despite the time required from her. She said this, specifically, to me, and I really appreciated it. 

Personally, I would like to thank Chrissy, Donna, and Tim for their years of service--the time, the energy, and the personal sacrifice.  I have big shoes to fill. 

Education Jobs Program:
This is the money that the Feds gave to the state and the school districts.  There needs to be specific approval of the use of the money by Board Action.

ACT Pilot Program:
The State is going to cover the cost of the ACT test for all students (juniors) this year ($33/student).  They will also pay $8 or $10 fee for the PLAN test (10th grade) and the Explore test (9th grade).  The goal is that by encouraging more students to take the ACT, we hope to increase the number of students who pursue a post-secondary education and vocational training.  ACT Prep classes are offered at all High Schools (during the day and after shool options).  It is hoped that the state will continue to implement this program in subsequent years as well. 

Claims and Routine Business Items:
The Claims were approved by the Board, as were the routine business items.  These items are available on the ASD Board Website several days prior to a board meeting.  They can be downloaded and reviewed by the public.  The most difficult thing for me is the claims report.  The one from December is over 300 pages long.  There is a set of summary pages, and then all of the detail.  I would certainly appreciate any help in reviewing this information.  The Routine Business Items have been discussed in prior Work Sessions and Board Meetings (in the Discussion Items part of the Board Meeting).  

Closed Session:
We then held a closed session.  I found it interesting that the closed session beginning and ending times were noted, and an audio recording of all but the personnel/student issues was kept.  I assume this is due to state statute.

Committee Discussion:
After the closed session, we discussed the proposed committee assignments.  These assignments will be voted on at the Jan. 11, 2010 Board Meeting. 

End of Board Meeting for 12/14/2010

This Week:

1/4/2011: Superintendent's Meeting
Today, I attended my first Superintendent's Meeting at Suncrest Elementary in Orem.  Three Board Members meet once a week (on a rotating basis) with the Superintendent at one of the district schools.  We get information about the current goings-on of the district and items of interest.  Then we recognize an outstanding team from the school, as recommended by the principal, and take a tour of the school.  I think it is good for getting to know the principals, some of the staff, and the individual schools. 

In discussing the Bond, I would like to outline the procedure for what items will be included in the bond. 
1. Principals and maintenance staff determine what items they are recommending for inclusion in the bond.
2. The principals also meet with the PTA's and SCC's to get information from them on school needs.
3. The principals then meet with the district staff members about these items.
4. The staff, including the Bond Committee, put together a proposal.
5. This proposal is then sent back to the PTA's and SCC's for more feedback.

Oath of Office: 1/4/2011
Tonight, I will be taking the Oath of Office, along with my fellow, newly-elected board members.

Orem City Council Meeting: 1/5/2011
The Board meets with the Orem City Council about once every other month. This is scheduled for tomorrow.  I will write up what I can in a future blog post.

USBA State Convention: 1/6-8/2011
This convention takes place at the Little America Hotel, in Salt Lake City.  It is starts Thursday evening, and goes through Saturday, afternoon.  I will write up my experiences in an upcoming post.

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