December 04, 2013ALTON — The Alton School Board met on Monday, Nov. 25, and discussed an updated facilities maintenance plan, appointed a school district clerk, discussed a new system of report cards for grades three through five and approved several policies.
During public input, Deanna Guruge voiced her concern about the meetings of the Strategic Planning Committee. She said she was the only parent not affiliated with Alton Central School and felt most things were delegated to committees that don't exist yet. She also felt the school board isn't listening to concerns voiced during public input.
Member Steve Miller felt the committee was professionally run and noted that teachers and staff in attendance contributed. He also said the Capital Improvement Plan Committee has been working hard and has made significant recommendations towards future warrant articles.
Don Nichols, the Director of Facilities and Grounds, came before the board to review an updated facilities maintenance plan. He said that some of the changes included how classrooms and bathrooms are cleaned. Additionally, all fixtures and equipment are listed in the plan. Miller questioned what the square footage of the school is and Nichols said it was 78,000 square feet.
Miller suggested that a checklist should be added for preventative maintenance. The board approved the new plan, with suggested recommendations added by Nichols as he sees fit.
The board appointed Linda Roy as the school district clerk for next year.
The deliberative session is set for Saturday, Feb. 1, at 1 p.m. at Prospect Mountain High School, with a snow date of Monday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m.
The board approved the disposal of items that have been located in the storage trailer. Many of the items are rusted are broken, but other items like basketball backboards may be able to be sold.
Principal Sydney Leggett talked to the board about introducing a new report card for grades three through five. The board previously approved a change in the report cards for Kindergarten through second grade.
She explained that the new report card would provide more detailed information on performing in different disciplines. Member Krista Argiropolis said she would be in favor of a hybrid report card that would include grade numbers and additional details. Leggett explained that the numbers would be translated into language and said it wouldn't be more work for the teachers.
The board approved the new report cards for next year, with Argiropolis abstaining from the vote. Feedback from the new report cards from the lower grades will be coming forward in the near future.
The board approved getting key cards that could be used to enter the building during specific school board meeting times.
Member Carlos Martinez wanted to revisit a vote on pilot testing for the Smarter Balance test in math.
Miller asked what the school's results were in the math test. Leggett said 73 percent of grade five students in the 2012-2013 test were proficient, while the state average is 74 percent. Leggett also reported that 76 percent of the sixth grade students in 2012-2013 tests were proficient, while the state average is 74 percent.
No information from the pilot test will be provided to the school. Leggett explained that the pilot test would allow for students to be familiar with the testing format. Miller felt the pilot testing would allow for improvements in time management, generating content focus and decreasing anxiety.
The board approved to revisit the issue by a 3-2 vote, with Miller and Chair Sandy Wyatt opposing. The board reversed its approval of having fifth and sixth grade students take the pilot math Smarter Balance test by the same 3-2 vote, with the same split amongst board members.
The board reviewed the support staff handbook, which listed $2,000 to be used by support staff for professional development. Miller suggested that the school attorney review listing the specific amount in the handbook and the issue was tabled.
The board approved coaching positions and the team leader position for Destination Imagination.
The board reviewed a policy regarding advisory committees to the school board. Miller suggested that language should be changed to address who appoints members to the committees.
The board approved a second and final reading of the policy changing the probationary period from 90 to 60 days.
The board reviewed the policy regarding instruction materials. Miller suggested that materials should be approved by Leggett. She said she wouldn't have time to review all the materials, and Miller suggested that team leaders could review the material. The issue was tabled.
The board approved a policy regarding student fundraising activities, with approval of superintendent or designee for the student required.
The board reviewed the October manifest. The enrollment at ACS as of Nov. 1 was 536 students. The enrollment at Prospect Mountain High School as Nov. 1 was 538, with 296 from Alton and 242 from Barnstead.
Superintendent Bill Lander talked about the efforts of the Strategic Planning Commission and said the plan would be available at the next school board meeting. He also reported that $3,515.39 was spent by Municipal Resources Inc. for an investigation during the summer. He also said that concerns about safety glass in the building have been addressed by the building inspector and fire department. A question was raised about how many visits Chip Krause has made to ACS since July 2013 and it was suggested that Krause could answer this.
Miller questioned the use of the ACS facility by Alton Parks and Recreation for a Zumba class, which is taught by an ACS staff member. Miller questioned if the parks and recreation pays for the use of the building. He felt that if money was being made than the school should charge for the rental of the building.
Leggett reported that a team of Mathletes recently came in second out of 13 teams in its first competition. She also reported that a Lego League Team came in eighth out of 18. She also talked about the Hour of Code event that will be taking place at ACS on Dec. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m.
The board approved the minutes of Oct. 19, a budget workshop, and Oct. 28.
The next scheduled meeting of the Alton School Board is on Monday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Alton Central School library.
Tim Croes can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126