The Grand Canyon School Board went through a light agenda at their January meeting, taking care of annual housekeeping and mostly hearing reports.
School Transportation Director Andrew Aldaz said that due to an incident on the bus to Woodland Ranch, they are looking at installing video cameras on the buses.
"We tried video cameras and the problems kind of went away," he said.
While a bus monitor would help, he said that it was hard to find volunteers, especially with the addition of the Valle routes.
"I feel like it's a privilege to ride the bus and I think it should be looked at that way. I wouldn't cut them a whole lot of slack," Board member Suzette Streit said.
Two buses also broke down and had to be towed to Flagstaff, one at the South Entrance Station and the other on the highway on the way to Flagstaff.
School Superintendent Sheila Breen provided the board with a copy of a letter she wrote in support of a Park Service project to remove asbestos and replace the roof at the old garage at the bottom of Boulder Street. The district will decide what to do with the interior.
She also shared a letter to the executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association expressing concern about computerized scheduling that could put games during the
week, cutting into instructional time. She said the impact would be especially hard on Grand Canyon and Ash Fork, both of which are in the same conference and have four-day weeks. The letter supports allowing 1A and 2A schools to set their own schedules.
On a recommendation by Breen, the board voted to stop accepting Title III funding. She said that the $5,000 they received for English as a Second Language instruction came with so many requirements it wasn't worth it.
"It costs more to comply with the requirements if you accept the money," she said.
The board approved payroll vouchers in the amounts of $96,448.24 and $107,926.57. They approved accounts payable vouchers for $25,534.53, $59,089.47 and $19,248.06. The general election cost the district almost $4,700.
School Business Manager Lee Metheny said that work sessions would begin in the next month or two for the 2009-2010 budget. He expects it to be a tough process.
"We don't have a good feeling about next year's budget," he said. "We're not going to have a ton of cash to carry over from this year to next year."
He noted that Tusayan's property taxes are the third highest in the state.
Breen reported that if Coconino County bids on the judgment bonds being issued by the district to cover its debt to the county, they are seeking a payback period of five years rather than 10. Under the revised schedule, property owners would see steeper property tax rates but save around $235,000 in interest
She also presented language that will go forward in the state legislature to require multi-year tax judgments be paid out of counties' general funds with any budget increase being spread among all of the county's residents rather than just those within a taxing district.
IB Middle Years Program Coordinator Katie Buttram presented the board with a three-year strategic plan to prepare for the MYP re-authorization visit in 2010.
She said the document will be posted online where members of the community can provide input.
"It will be a living document," she said.
"To have three years mapped out in anything is impressive," said Vail.
Head of School Becky Crumbo said that report cards were delayed due to the early dismissal and snow day that cancelled finals just before Christmas break, as well as working bugs out of the Power School software system.
Crumbo thanked the board for their patience while the library was being reorganized. She said it reopened "with a type-A person" and was "on a good track."
The board dispatched with annual housekeeping matters in a special meeting prior to the regular session. Clarinda Vail will continue as board president and Chuck Wahler was re-elected as clerk. They agreed to keep the meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.
They also approved keeping the same format for the agenda and retaining the same official and unofficial posting places. Official sites are bulletin boards outside the school district office, inside the Grand Canyon Post Office, outside the Tusayan General Store and outside the Canyon Village general store. Unofficial sites are bulletin boards inside Canyon Village general store and at the Xanterra general offices, Xanterra personnel office, NPS mailroom and Squire Inn.
Finally, the board approved appointment of the school superintendent as the district's Chief Administrative Officer. Vail started to move that the board appoint Breen by name but she reminded them that this would be in force when a new superintendent comes on board at the start of next school year.
The board presented a plaque to former member Emmons Berry, thanking him for his three years of service to the district.
Vail presented a first-place certificate from the Arizona School Board Association to seventh-grader Blythe Sweeney McBroom for "Snow Day," the top color photo in the organization's annual Jack Peterson Student Photo Contest.