Committee Talks Policies

ST. MARYS — Local board members will be discussing new policy changes at their Wednesday meeting after committee members reviewed policies.

During a meeting of the St. Marys Board of Education Policy, Programs and Planning Committee Monday afternoon, committee members went through proposed policy changes and recommended the full board approve the changes during its regular meeting Wednesday evening.

One of the changes suggested was to allow students who participate in two seasons of marching band and/or and athletics to get credit for physical education.

“It would allow us to give credit for physical education if they participate in athletics and also if they participate in marching band,” Memorial High School Principal Dave Lewis told committee members. “It is allowed in the ORC.”

Lewis noted St. Marys City Schools had previously had the policy in the past.

“It fills the requirement, you just don’t get the credit associated with it,” he said.

He noted the students had to participate in two seasons — noted in the policy of at least 60 hours of instruction  for one-half unit.

“One of the main reasons we want to do it is because it allows our students flexibility in scheduling, especially with trimesters, and also it’s not going to allow us to cut stuff, but in the future when we have retirements in phys ed, health, we can consider not hiring that position back. I think it’s a no-brainer, I think it’s something we owe to our parents. There will be situations where kids need certain requirements, and if they don’t have to meet this, that’s going to allow them to do other things.”

He noted the school would still offer physical education to its students, and there are a lot of students who do take phys ed on their own to get in shape.

“I don’t think it curtailing our offerings right now at the high school,” he said.

Lewis also noted a student in the marching band who also plays on the soccer team would fill his or her requirement.

Also during the meeting, Curriculum Director Bill Steinbrunner went through the other proposed policy changes.

“These are changes to the board policy recommended by NEOLA,” he said.

Those changes included the following:

• Evaluation of administrators — Steinbrunner noted this section was altered because of changes put in place because of changes in the law.

• Suspension of administrative contracts — Steinbrunner noted the law changes took the seniority out of the criteria for this section.

• Selecting student teachers/administrative interns — Steinbrunner noted in the past the trainee’s university would pay a stipend directly to the teacher training the student teacher/administrative intern, and now the law requires the university to pay the district who can then pay the trainee.

• Reduction in staff — Steinbrunner  noted the law again took out the seniority reference.

• Diploma deferral — Steinbrunner noted “trimester” was added.

• Vendor relations — Steinbrunner noted the idea behind the policy is “no personal benefit.” Superintendent Jerry Skiver gave the example of himself negotiating with a vendor on computers and the two reached a deal. He noted if the teachers wanted to purchase a computer from the vendor, the teachers would get a reduced rate but he wouldn’t be able to because he was the one who negotiated the contract.

• Student network and Internet acceptable use and safety — Steinbrunner noted the changes were to keep them in line with changes in the law and changes in technology.

• Staff network and Internet acceptable use and safety — Steinbrunner noted the section regarding social media use in regards to communications to students and it extending to conduct off school property.

• Personal information systems — Steinbrunner noted the policy reflects discipline where an employee releases personally identifiable information, describing the policy as a “whistle blower.”

• Student records — Steinbrunner noted the policy states the district has the authorization to “convey private student information to the appropriate authorities.”

• Environmental health and safety issues — Steinbrunner noted the change makes owners of pets and service animals brought on school property liable for any harm or injury caused by the animal to other students, staff, visitors and/or property.

• Pediculosis (head lice) — Skiver noted the district’s policy on if a student is found to have lice, the child’s parent will be contacted to have the child treated and pick him/her up immediately, as well as the district practices a policy of “no live lice” and no nits as a criteria for return to school.

The St. Marys Board of Education Personnel Committee also met in executive session Monday to discuss the appointment, employment or compensation of a public employee. No action was taken.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the St. Marys Board of Education will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium at the high school-middle school.