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Ashland School Board looks ahead to next year's budget

October 13, 2021
ASHLAND — At their Oct. 5 meeting, the Ashland School Board learned of school activities, reviewed policies, and planned for the development of next year's budget.

Principal Kelly Avery reported on school activities, past and future. The volleyball team completed its season that afternoon. They played only five games, but that was an improvement over the last year, when Covid prevented them from playing any games. Term I was to end on Friday, Oct. 8. That day was to be an early release day, as the

staff was to spend the afternoon reviewing the new Suicide Prevention Plan. There would also be a flu shot clinic the same day. From Oct. 12 to 15, the school will observe Fire Prevention Week with the Ashland Fire Department. Open House will be held the evening of Oct. 19. Instead of having all the parents and students attend the

Open House at once, they will attend in smaller groups at different times, to avoid overcrowding the school. The traditional student Halloween parade around town will have the theme "At The Movies" and will start at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29. Currently, 167 students are enrolled, 159 attending in person, and eight attending VLCS remotely.

Avery welcomed new special education para-professional Evan Press. She named two Staff Members of the Month, Jennifer Lyford for stepping up in her new role, and Jamie King, for taking over the leadership of the middle tier. She later reported that the Covid-19 committee was meeting regularly and the school would continue to follow the Covid

protocols, such as mask wearing, as they are working.

Assistant Superintendent Trish Temperino had presented the board members with the final fiscal report for the 2020-2021 school year. There was no discussion of the report, but Temperino pointed out that the year end unassigned fund balance of $85,354 will be used to reduce the 2021 property tax rate. Based on a formula provided by the state

and data from the past school year, the School Board voted to set tuition rates for non-resident students for the present school year (2021-2022), at $20,060.94 for the entire year, or $111.4497 per day. The administrators plan to present their proposed budget for the next school year (2022-2023) on Nov. 16 to the board. The board scheduled a work session for November 22 to work on that budget. (The 2022 school deliberative session is planned for Feb. 1.) The board voted to accept a $200 donation for books or whatever might be needed from a former Ashland school teacher who wishes to remain anonymous. The Principal will thank that teacher on behalf of the School.

The school has received a request to hold Tai chi classes in the school gym. Such classes were held by the same group in the gym prior to the Covid pandemic, when school facilities were closed to outside groups. Superintendent Mary Moriarty wanted to know how the school board felt about the request. The Principal said that the group would have to wear masks and could only use the main gym room and the restrooms. School Board Chair Steve Heath asked about the costs of the additional cleaning that would be required after an outside group, such as this class, used a school facility. He felt that the outside group should pay for those costs. It was explained that the Tai chi

class would be held on the weekend and the gym is normally cleaned early Monday morning, so no additional costs would be incurred.

The board members reviewed five resolutions proposed by various school boards for consideration at the New Hampshire School Boards Association Delegate Assembly. They ended up agreeing with the NHSBA's Board of Directors recommendations on all these policies, disapproving of four of them as unnecessary or redundant. They did approve of the resolution proposed by the Keene School Board that the Association

"supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects in our schools, is committed to the concept that free and open dialogue around such concepts as racism and sexism is a vital component in education, and opposes any actions which limit this free exchange of ideas." Leigh Sharps, the board's delegate to the Assembly, will vote on the resolutions on behalf of the board.

Without much discussion, the Board reviewed a number of policies. They held the third reading and gave final approval to amended policies on Authorized Signatures, on Fixed Assets Management, on Video and Audio Recording in School and Classrooms, on Data/Records Retention Schedule, and on Drug-Free Workplace, and new policies on Payments, Checks and Manifests, on Video and Audio Surveillance on School Property and on Electronic/Digital Records Retention Schedule. They held the second reading on seven amended policies on Procedural Safeguards: Non Discritmation on the Basis of Handicap, on Staff Ethics, on Recruitment, Selection, Hiring, on Substitute Teachers, on Change of Class or School Assignment, on Student Conduct, and on

Student Discipline and Due Process. The Board held the first reading on new policies on Plan to Prevent Discrimination, Assess the Presence of Discrimination, Intervene and Respond to Incidents of Discrimination and on Suicide Prevention and Response, and amended policies on Non-Discrimination, on Internet Acceptable Use, on Student Health Services, on Behavior Management and Intervention, on Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect, on School Safety and on Emergency Care and First Aid. The Board also voted to rescind the policy on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as it had been superseded by other policies. The Policy Review Committee had no

changes to recommend in four other policies that they had reviewed.

The School Board ended its meeting with a non-public session.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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