With another Crookston High School music trip to Disneyworld in Florida on tap for this spring, Superintendent Chris Bates at Monday's school board meeting said it's time to formulate an updated, clear-cut, coherent and concise student eligibility policy for those choir, orchestra or marching band students planning to go on the trip that takes place every four years. He suggests the policy be no lengthier than two pages.
"There are some questions, and it appears there is not the same level of understanding across the board," Bates said in the wake of a policy brainstorming session with CHS Music Department staff.
There have been some sporadic issues over the years when it's come to certain students being declared eligible for the trip when maybe their academic performance or behavior has raised red flags. Bates suggested Monday that the policy require that students going on the trip have passing grades in all courses from the first semester as well as the third quarter. Students with "excessive unexcused absences" will also jeopardize their eligibility for the trip.
Nearly 160 students are on track to go on this spring's trip. Bates said it's his belief that four students are facing potential eligibility issues, but, he added, that number could be reduced to one by the end of the week if some incomplete assignments are completed.
"Clearly, we're getting people's attention that academics need to be taken care of," he said.
Bates said he'd like the policy to be ready for the board's consideration at its next meeting on Feb. 11. "The Music Department has bills to pay and people to sign up, so we need to get this finished," he said. "It'll be good to get some official direction established that we can all live by now and in the future."
Board members on staff
New school board member Dave Davidson, at a recent school board training seminar, came across a policy that requires school boards to approve a resolution when board members are being compensated by the district. With Davidson, a recently retired teacher, serving as a substitute teacher from time to time and also getting a stipend as the CHS Student Council advisor, the board found itself on Monday approving a resolution that allows him, as a board member, to be compensated by the district, as long as the compensation does not exceed $8,000 a year.
The resolution also applies to board member Adrianne Winger, who substitute teaches from time to time and also coaches the "marching treasurettes" in the Pirate Marching Band.
Bates said he was unaware of the policy until Davidson brought it to his attention. As for its origin, Bates said, "I'm guessing this happened somewhere before and nobody knew about it and it didn't go over very well."
Page 2 of 2 - More from the meeting
• The board hired Rachel Sanders as a paraprofessional at Crookston High School, succeeding Sue Hann, who previously resigned.
• As they do around this time every year, the board approved a resolution directing administration to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions for the 2013-14 school year. It doesn’t mean any staff are programs will be cut, Superintendent Chris Bates stressed, but the resolution is necessary at this juncture so any tenured teachers potentially placed on unrequested leaves of absence have the required amount of time to request a hearing.