Meeker School Board approves goals for superintendent; policies

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Meeker | At their regular September meeting, the Meeker Board of Education (BOE) approved a revised set of 2016-2017 goals for Superintendent Chris Selle, now into his second year on the job. The three areas approved are student learning, communication and public relations. To meet the goal of improved student learning measurements, Selle is to better align writing and health curriculum, K-12; improve teacher opportunities for vertical curriculum alignment/professional development; and provide the board with annual assessment data. To meet the goal of maintaining good communication with school district staff, Selle is to continue his weekly email updates to all the board members and staff; conduct a biannual survey of staff; and ensure that district staff are involved in making decisions that directly impact them. In order to increase communications which will improve public relations, Selle is to continue his monthly columns for the Herald Times; be present for most home extracurricular activities; seek public engagement in school events; and seek public involvement to establish a common district vision through forums about school finance, facilities master planning and other strategic effort. In other matters, the board approved policy updates/revisions on second reading. These will be considered on third and final reading at the board’s Oct. 18 meeting. Included in these are policies that guide purchasing/purchasing authority; prohibit possession or being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other controlled substances including marijuana except for properly documented medical marijuana (MMJ) use; describe the conditions and procedures for the administration of MMJ; and general public conduct on school district property. With regard to the purchasing policy, the board added that the district “will use local vendors to the greatest extent possible.” The public conduct policy prohibits behavior that obstructs, disrupts or interferes with district operations including the unlawful possession of a deadly weapon on school property and in buildings, as well as the use of profanity or verbally abusive language. The addition of MMJ procedures and parameters flows from new state law requiring school districts to allow for the administration of MMJ by a primary caregiver on school grounds, on school buses or at school-sponsored events. Districts are expected to establish their own rules to guide implementation of this law. A new policy covers fees for use of district facilities, establishing two categories of users (community-sponsored non-profits vs. commercial, private, church non-profits and for-profit groups and individuals) having fees varying from $10 to $150 per hour for everything from gymnasiums, classrooms and the auditorium to the football field and track, with and without the use of lights. The county, chamber of commerce and town economic development consultant, Better City, has been leading the effort to build support and interest for their recommendations which include the Center for Outdoor Adventure in Meeker. Primary in that effort is getting taxing districts to express support for the potential of Tax Increment Funding (TIF). Such funding, through an urban renewal authority to be formed by the town and county, involves providing tax supported guarantees to private investors over a period of time, maybe 10 years, through increased valuations resulting from the development supported by taxing districts giving up the increased tax revenues on the affected properties for that period of time. The board discussed this issue last month, and authorized Selle to write Better City expressing support for economic development stating that the district recognizes that a stronger local economy is important for local families and better schools. However, Selle stopped short of endorsing the proposal or the TIF financing stating that the board needs to know more about specific plans and provisions of any TIF agreement. He indicated the district looks forward to further work on development planning with the town and county. Selle has since expressed his perception that the board was not likely to be a participant in the TIF process based on the board’s discussion Sept. 20. Barone Middle School (BMS) Principal Jim Hanks emphasized the value statement that has been adopted at the school which begins as follows: “At BMS, we believe in respect and responsibility for all, from all.” Their statement expands on how this creed affects a school member’s academic behavior as well as their interaction with their peers. The BMS statement concludes with, “We take care of each other, we respect our reputation and that of our school, and we work hard to get better at whatever we do. All BMS expectations apply to all areas of LIFE.”