School Board postpones drug testing policy discussion

Topic will be addressed again in November

No one issue dominated the agenda at the October School Board last week with a discussion on the weightiest - a drug testing policy for students - postponed until November.

School Superintendent Sheila Breen asked to postpone the agenda item, saying she had just received a packet of information on Flagstaff's policy.

"I don't feel like I understand all the options well enough to make any recommendations, but I would like to have them to you by November," she said.

Saying she supported a policy, Board President Clarinda Vail asked Breen about who she envisioned would pay for the tests.

"If we write this so that we only do it when we suspect somebody under a reasonable suspicion standard, we will be paying for that," Breen said. "If we say to a student, 'you're out of here and you can't come back until we have a drug test or alcohol screening,' then the student would pay for that."

She added that random testing for students in extra curricular activities would be more cost effective than testing all students as a requirement to participate.

Leave policy

The Board did a first reading of a policy that would give some part-time classroom aides six days of paid, undesignated leave. Per the Board's request at the September meeting, School Business Manager Lee Metheny provided figures showing the cost would be about $2,000.

"The issue is if you want to do it from a policy standpoint," Metheny said. "The money for the five aides is almost negligible."

They will vote on adopting the policy at their November meeting.

Booster Club

Breen said that she had a conversation with Booster Club President Greg Walker about rebuilding the organization to attract more parents to help support high school sports. They plan a public meeting later this month to talk about the club, its goals and its future.

"They want to bring people in who have kids involved in athletics so that it's not the same people doing all the work," she said.

Policy priorities

The Board selected the issues they thought should be legislative priorities for the Arizona School Board Association, choosing from a list of dozens divided into seven categories. Eight of the 10 they chose were related in some way to funding, including restructuring the school finance formula, bolstering teacher salaries, advocating for full funding of programs including vo-tech and English Language Learner initiatives and protection from paying large back-tax settlements.

Spending

The Board approved payroll vouchers in the amounts of $97,499.22, $100,424.11 and $116,188.94. They approved accounts payable vouchers in the amounts of $3,888.31, $49,626.34, $43,350.88, $1,500 and $63,639.30.

Personnel

A request by teacher Kathlin Goodrich for a semester leave of absence to prepare for her wedding died for lack of a second. Both Head of School Becky Crumbo and Breen supported the leave saying they had worked out the logistics to cover for the absence and that it wouldn't require hiring an extra teacher. Goodrich said that she would continue as PYP coordinator for no salary but in exchange for not having to move out of her house.

Vail said that she had reservations but was willing to move forward. However, neither Suzette Streit nor Chuck Wahler offered a second, saying they believed she should work for the semester as contracted.

"I tend to want to be accommodating but when you signed your contract, you knew what your year would be like," Streit said. "I'm having a hard time with this request."

The Board approved the following extra duty contracts: Cynthia Sauve - Outdoor Education Coordinator, Elizabeth Davis - Prevention Coordinator and half-time Discovery Coordinator, Betty Hultin - halftime Discovery Coordinator, Cyndi Moreno - Community Liaison, Ginny Donley - Middle School Basketball Girls Assistant Coach and David Kruchoski - Elementary Student Activity Committee Sponsor. Also approved were half-time Odyssey of the Mind coaching contracts for Amy McBroom, Brad Houston, Laura Kelso, Wendy Horner and Kay Bordwell.

They also approved Joshua Kelso as a substitute teacher pending certification and fingerprint clearance. Richard Bell was hired as a part-time maintenance contractor.

Maintenance Director Andrew Aldaz said that he would be primarily painting and working at the crosswalk.

Bonds

Breen said that the bond issue was moving forward and that if no one else bids to purchase them at a lower interest rate, they expect Coconino County would buy them at 5 percent.

The issue of more than $1 million is to cover the cost of a property tax judgment to Xanterra. The school district owes that money to the county, which paid Grand Canyon's share of the judgment along with its own.

Discovery

Crumbo reported on trends in disciplinary Focus referrals. She said that in the middle school, issues included lying, pushing, disrupting class, texting during class, "mean girl" behavior, extreme horseplay and misuse of a computer.

In the high school, referrals included for disrupting class, foul language, insubordination, fighting, lying and being unprepared.

Travel

The Board approved the following out-of-state travel: Cynthia Grandberg to Adolescent Literature Workshop in San Antonio, Texas; Wendy Horner to PYP Coordinator training in Baltimore, Md.; Becky Crumbo to PYP Head of School training in Baltimore, Md.; and David Kruchoski to Exhibition Training in Baltimore, Md.

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