School Board discusses budget, drug test policy

The Grand Canyon School Board set a date for a community meeting to discuss a drug testing policy for students at Grand Canyon School. It will be on Wednesday, April 29, from 6-7 p.m. at the school.

As they discussed it at their meeting last week, as a starting point, they agreed that the Seligman policy would apply best to Grand Canyon, calling for random testing as a condition to participate in extracurricular activities. While they talked about minor changes, like beginning testing for sixth graders rather than seventh, they didn't discuss it in depth.

"I recommend that we not make a lot of changes until the meeting," said Grand Canyon School Superintendent Sheila Breen. "That way we get everyone's input at the same time."

Board member Suzette Streit suggested inviting someone from Seligman. Athletic Director Dan Lopez said he would talk to his cousin, who develop their policy.

Responding to a question from Board President Clarinda Vail, Head of School Becky Crumbo clarified that it would be extracurricular activities, and not classes like band that require some participation after school.

Board member Al Montoya said that he was concerned about student privacy, even with an assurance that results won't be reported to law enforcement.

"As a recruiter in the military, I know how much I could get into in the schools when I checked on kids' records. That's what concerns me," he said.

"We can build in some protections," said Breen.

RIF Letters

The board approved a request to issue notices to all non-continuing teachers that layoffs could be possible, something that is required by April 15. They will go out to all teachers.

"I'm requesting permission to issue these notices so in case we have to reduce staff, we've met legal time lines," said Breen "They'll all get one and I'll let them know that chances are, they're going to be back."

One teacher won't be rehired for certification issues, she said.

Middle school baseball

Coach Dan Lopez reported that they won't be able to pull together a middle school baseball season as they'd hoped.

"You know in 'Field of Dreams,' they said 'build it and they will come?' Well in our program, 'build it and they all left," he said.

Other schools pulled out of six games because of budget cuts. Lopez said he hopes they can still go to a tournament in Monument Valley.

While Lopez said he didn't want any of the stipend for the head coach position, Vail suggested pro-rating the amount if the team does manage to get some playing time.

On Breen's recommendation, the board voted to establish the middle school coaching position.

Lock down drill

Crumbo reported on the March 5 lockdown drill, in which they practiced a response to an active shooter.

"I had a lot to learn. So did the teachers," she said. "The drill itself was flawless. Everything was fine once we actually had the drill. Going up to that, we had a lot of 'I forgot' T's to cross."

They are incorporating what they learned into a written policy and plan another drill later this year.

Maintenance Director Andrew Aldaz said that the maintenance staff will benefit from more training on how the emergency door locks work.

Testing

Crumbo reported that the high school took AIMS reading and writing tests on Feb. 24-25, with makeups on March 3-4. They will take the AIMS math test on April 1 with a makeup on April 7. The AIMS science test will be on April 2.

Grades three-eight will take AIMS/DPA on March 31, and on April 6, 8, 13 and 15. Grades two-nine take the TerraNova on April 7-8.

Judgment bonds

Breen reported that the State Loan Commission will meet on March 16, clearing the way for the district to sell judgment bonds. The county is interested in buying them for a five-year term, which, said Breen, will add $3 to the tax rate but save on interest in the long run. The funds are to pay off a debt of more than $1 million to the county.

At the same time, the district is pursuing legislation that would allow the county to carry that debt for up to 10 years at a low interest rate.

"If the legislation passes, you'll have a choice which way you want to go," she said.

Audit report

Metheny reported a clean audit for last year, with no findings and no deficiency memo for the board to sign.

"That's the first time in a couple of years," he said.

Upcoming events

Crumbo said that the National Junior Honor Society and National Honor Society inductions will be on April 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Thunderbird Room.

Enrollment

As of the 100th day, enrollment was 135 for elementary school, 75 for middle school and 82 for high school for a total of 292.

Crumbo said that enrollment in CAVIAT also more than doubled, between 60-62. This year, the district got $18,000 for the program; next year, they expect at least $40,000.

"But we are spending more money in that program," Metheny noted.

Transportation

Aldaz reported that they were working on installing video cameras on the buses.

Finances

The board approved payroll vouchers in the amounts of $95,282.76 and $107,456.66. They also approved a single accounts payable voucher for $29,763.43.

"When you get to vouchers you'll notice that we are trying to slow down the spending."

"I don't think I've ever seen only three vouchers," said Vail.

Field trip

The board approved out of state travel to Disneyland for the high school and for student council advisor George Haughton. The trip is planned for Thursday, May 21-Saturday, May 23.

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