School Board considers drug testing policy

The Grand Canyon School Board took a first look at mostly routine policies and were asked to contemplate the possibility of implementing one for random drug testing of students.

"We want to look at a random drug testing policy," said Superintendent Sheila Breen. "You as a board can decide if you want to do this or not."

She provided some draft language for the Board to use as a starting point.

"I checked with a bunch of districts and a lot of people don't have a policy," she said. "We can talk about it again next month."

Head of School Becky Crumbo said that without a policy in place, their options are limited even if they know students are using substances illegally.

"Currently if people tell me that kids are taking drugs, there is nothing we can do about it. No thing. Absolutely zero," she said.

The Board also took a first look at a policy to provide six paid, undesignated leave days for staff contracted for 30 hours or more per week. Breen said that it will affect four classroom aides. It won't apply to part-time maintenance workers who may put in more than 30 hours a week but aren't contracted for that amount.

School Business Manager Lee Metheny said that aide salaries are between $9 and $10 an hour.

ELGA development

The Sanitary District will study the district's newly-acquired land in Tusayan and make recommendations for infrastructure development. The Board also accepted a $50,000 donation for development of the land from Stilo Corp.

Bonds

Breen reported that paperwork has started for the issuing of bonds to cover the cost of paying back the Xanterra tax judgment of more than $1 million. That judgment was paid by the county last year and repayment is due from the school district this year. Taxpayers were seeking legislation that would have enabled the county to structure a

10-year payback plan but the bill stalled in the state legislature.

The sale of the bonds will raise the funds to pay the county back and give property owners 10 years to meet the obligation.

Breen said interest should be around 5 percent.

Attorney Fred Rosenfeld wrote to the state Loan Commissioner asking that they move forward with the bond sale rather than wait to see what the legislature will do when it goes back in session in January.

Under the estimated payback schedule, the district will be paying the $1.25 million obligation through 2019 with a total payback amount of about $1.55 million.

The bond payback will add $2.78 to the secondary tax rate for the first year. That will climb to $3.75 more on the rate partway through the life of the bonds, then drop to about $1.30 for the last six years.

For the first few years of payback, the secondary tax rate will climb. For the final six years, the that rate will increase about $1.30.

Academics

Interim notices, mostly for students with averages below 70 percent, went out to parents in early September. Eight went out for middle school and 39 went out for high school. Crumbo said two thirds of those went to ninth-graders, with more than half of the 23-member freshman class receiving at least one warning.

"They have some smelling the coffee to do," she said.

Tutoring is being offered but as of last week, students weren't taking advantage of it.

Meetings

The Board voted to return regular meetings to the second Tuesday. Last year, they'd changed the schedule to the third Tuesday to coincide with that month's financial reporting. A scheduling commitment forced the return.

Resource officer

Crumbo said that a new school resource officer is in training with the park and will receive specific SRO training. After that, he will be detailed to the school for the next two years. A grant from Toyota is funding the assignment.

"He will be assigned to us," she said. "This is different from Ronnie (Gibson)."

Discovery

Crumbo said that while she couldn't access last year's focus referral report, the 20 so far since the first of the year represent a drop over the same time frame last year.

She said that part of that is due to changes that aim to keep conflict resolution and discussion at the classroom level.

"It's no longer really coming to us to solve," she said. "What we would do is solve our problem with the student, but not the teacher's problem with the student."

Enrollment

Crumbo reported that as of the first week of September, enrollment was 296, with 132 elementary students, 74 in middle school and 90 in high school. Since the report was compiled two new 10th graders enrolled, she said.

AD report

Athletic Director Dan Lopez reported that if Grand Canyon is represented at an athletic meeting in Phoenix in April, they will be able to resume the high school soccer program in the 2009-2010 school year.

The varsity girls regional volleyball tournament will be hosted here on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Lopez said the team is working hard to be able to qualify.

He said he is working on guidelines for overnight travel for coaches, as well as for job descriptions.

Personnel

The Board approved an extra duty contract for Cyndi Moreno to serve as Title VII/Johnson O'Malley Coordinator, overseeing funding for Native American education.

Out-of-state travel was authorized for four teachers to attend IB training - Karen Weber, Katie Buttram, Amy McBroom and Mike Byers.

Spending

The Board approved payroll vouchers in the amounts of $89,470.13 and $93,821.53. They also authorized an accounts payable voucher for $33,298.22.

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