Student safety subject of Rangely school board meeting

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

RANGELY | Tuesday the Rangely School board heard from a parent concerned about student assaults. Before the public input board president Kurt Douglas reminded the audience that it was not a time for discussion.
Aaron Peacock, parent of four, voiced concerns about student safety. He said that the schools have done a “pretty decent” job dealing with student bullying, but he feels that there are children being, “assaulted on a daily basis” with only hollow explanations, if any, from school staff. Peacock described “secret word drills” to handle problem students having outbursts, flinging chairs and spit, distracting from education. “There is a real problem in our elementary school,” he said.
Superintendent Matt Scoggins suggested a policy totally removing student use of cell phones in school buildings. Current policy leaves the decision up to individual teachers.
“It feels like it just gets in the way,” he said. The board expressed support for the ban. Board member Joyce Key said it would be important to make sure that no matter when parents call the school they are able to get someone in the office to answer.
Scoggins talked about school safety. He said that classroom doors are always locked, allowing teachers to pull the door shut if there’s an emergency. They are currently having conversations with the town and sheriff’s office about what else they can do, including hiring a school resource officer, which Scoggins expects would cost the district about $42,000 annually after funding from the town and county. The district is pursuing an alert system separate from the intercom notifying of a lockdown type emergency.
Key brought up internet safety and keeping students off unapproved websites including YouTube. Scoggins said they recently changed internet filters and they are “making every effort to limit what students have access to.”
Key requested a new regular agenda item “Good of the Order” allowing board members and attendees the opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification.
Scoggins presented some preliminary budget items saying the district had moved towards a model of larger class sizes with more paraprofessionals this year, which Key said was not working. Some funds will be lost next year as the bond is payed off, but they will also get more mil levy override funding, however Scoggins said it would be less than they’d hoped for as property valuations went down. They are expecting around $190,000 from the recreation district levy, down from previous years. Insurance expenses are expected to rise more than 18 percent.
The district is working on completing their Unified Improvement Plan, which includes strategies for improvement which are required by the state.
Parkview Elementary Principal Kruger told the board that the CNCC men’s basketball team came to encourage kids to perform well on CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success) standardized tests, which students are in their second week of taking.
Junior/Senior High Principal Crandal Mergelman presented the February and March Students of the Month: Rylee Boydstun, Katelyn Brown, Kaylee Mecham and Jonathan Pennell. Awards were presented by the Elks Club and Rangely Police Department.
At the end of the meeting the board went into executive session to discuss the superintendent’s annual evaluation.