Greene County board OKs changes to eligibility policy

Also listens to transportation issues

The Greene County board of education at its regular meeting Aug. 20 approved the first reading of a revised policy on student eligibility for extracurricular activities. The revisions were drafted by board members Teresa Hagen, Mark Peters and Sam Harding, along with activities director Dean Lansman an superintendent Tim Christensen.

The new policy allows students a fourth violation before they’re banned from activities for the rest of their school career, changing the “three strike” policy that has been in place for several years. It adds requirements for community service and counseling/education by students and their parents after each of the first three violations before the privilege of extracurricular participation is reinstated. (Read the previous post for more information.)

The former policy also allowed for a lighter sanction against students who self-reported on a first violation. The self-reporting clause was deleted.

Board member Jeff Lamoureux questioned the reasoning for taking out self-reporting. Peters explained it partly as a compromise move. He was opposed to allowing a path to reinstatement after a third offense. “To give on the back end, we made it tougher on the front end,” Peters said.

“If it hurts more the first time, hopefully it won’t happen a second time. That’s the goal,” Hagen said.

Harding said he hopes that with adding the counseling and the community service students “will understand we mean business off the start.”

“We felt like community service would be the best part of the whole thing. That’s why we put so much in there,” Harding added. After a first offense, a student will be required to do 25 hours of community service. The number increases to 50 hours on a second offense and 150 hours on a third offense. Those hours do not count toward green cord recognition at graduation.

The first reading of the revised policy was approved by a 6-0 vote; board member Susan Burkett was absent. The second reading will be on the September 17 agenda. The policy will be in effect after the second reading. Violations will be carried over from the former policy to the revised policy. Lansman has met with students who have two violations to be sure they’re aware of the policy changes.

Transportation: At the outset of the meeting, three parents took advantage of the open forum to address concerns they had with transportation. The district had reduced the number of bus routes from 10 to eight, increasing the ride time for some students. Kyle Stalder, who lives between Jefferson and Scranton, and Jason Reedy, who lives southwest of Scranton in Scranton Township, both reported their children boarded the bus before 7 am and got home after 4 pm. Kristen Heupel’s daughters ride the shuttle from Jefferson to the intermediate school in Grand Junction. She asked about having monitors on each of the eight shuttles.

Christensen said Monday that he and transportation directors Shawn DeMoss and Robert Stofer were looking at possible adjustments to the routes, and that parents would be notified of any changes. About 500 of the district’s 1,300 students are transported on “route” buses. About 375 are shuttled between Jefferson and Grand Junction. Christensen pointed out that the school is not required to transport students who live less than two miles from the school, but drivers have done perimeter routes within that distance for several years and will continue to do so.

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