Discipline policy and fundraising procedures top School Board meeting agenda

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The New Haven School Board met at a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 14, 2011.  The board reviewed, discussed, and approved various items throughout the meeting.  All board members were present.

Superintendent Kyle Kruse reported that there were no negative comments directed to the school district following the four heat day cancellations.  He expressed his appreciation for the cooperation received from the students, parents, and community and believes that the hottest days are now behind us.

The long range plan contract with Kromm Rikamaru and Johansen (KRJ) architecture has been sent to the district's legal counsel for review and it is not back yet.  The counsel has worked with KRJ before and they have a history of "getting everything in line prior to starting the project" according to Kruse, but after signing the other districts that have worked with KRJ have not had any issues.  Kruse reminded the board that the facilities at New Haven are currently adequate, but that "we are trying to avoid surprises and are planning for our future".

Elementary School Principal Kasi Meyer brought up the issue of the discipline process in place at the school under agenda item "ES Handbook revision".  Meyer stated that there is no severe clause in the handbook.  If their first offense is serious, there is nothing in the handbook that states how it can be handled.  Superintendent Kruse questioned Meyer if she was locked into the consequence steps as it is currently written, and she stated that she is.  Meyer supplied the board and those present with a recommended revision.  This revision includes, "The severity of the offense, the academic placement, the attitude, the past behavior, the pattern of misconduct, the age and strength of the child, and the degree of cooperation will all be considered in determining what consequences will be assigned for improper behavior."  Board member Nadine Pruessner questioned if the revision to the handbook would be sent home with the students, both Meyer and Kruse responded, "Yes".  Board member Dana Kallmeyer asked Meyer if the teachers were given an opportunity to voice their opinions in this matter; Meyer stated, "No, they have not.  The teacher's management plan is sending the student to the Principal's Office."  Pruessner made a motion to revise the current Elementary School handbook, board member Dorothy Schowe seconded; motion carried.

The development of fundraiser guidelines throughout the district was discussed as well as reviewing several other schools' fundraising policies.  The purpose is to prevent organizations selling similar items and/or at similar times and according to Kruse, to "back away from the situation where kids are bringing home fundraising items and brochures constantly".  After reviewing the other policies utilized by other districts, the board decided that there should be a plan put in place with fundraising guidelines.  These could include an application procedure put in place for all door-to-door type fundraisers that includes why the group is raising funds, to determine if the board is responsible for paying for what is needed; having a district wide calendar, so that organizations are not competing with each other at the same time; types of suggested fundraisers, including useful products; and a limit of how many fundraisers one organization is allowed to have per school year.  These regulations would not be put in place for service type projects.  After much discussion it was approved to drat and put in place for the 2012/2013 school year.

Julie Conner addressed the board with her concerns regarding the situation of Special Education at the high school.  She stated that there have been several new students to the district this year who are in need of assistance and they only have one full time teacher.  Librarian Renee Laune is assisting during two periods and with one class, as well as Conner for one period, and the elementary school special education aide for one period.  Conner stated that she is “concerned we are not able to meet the students’ needs” with the staff on hand at the moment.  There are a few students who are at risk as well and Conner is concerned that these students will not be ready for the world after high school.  Kruse expressed that the district needs to “credit Ms. Conner for the way they have been trying things” to get through this situation.  Board member Pruessner motioned to hire a Para educator to assist with the high school Special Education department full-time, was seconded by board member Diane White, motion carried.