Upcoming joint meeting with P-C discussed by Greene Co school board

Also graduation speakers, early retirement policy

The Paton-Churdan school district may be asked to pay more for students who take career and technical education (CTE) classes at Greene County High School.

That’s one of the items on the agenda for the annual joint meeting between the two boards Wednesday, Nov. 29.

P-C now pays for classes its high schoolers take at Greene County on a formula based on 90 percent of the per pupil state funding. However, CTE classes cost more to provide because of the equipment needed. Greene County superintendent Tim Christensen is suggesting that the rate be higher for CTE classes.
Other agenda items include “communication/relationship”, the potential bond referendum and regional academy, and future sharing.

Board member Steve Fisher sees a career academy as an opportunity to look at whole grade sharing or even reorganization. “We’re looking at a whole new situation that’s going to benefit them and their kids as much as its going to benefit us and our kids, plus it’s going to benefit them proportionately more in their community because of the manufacturing job opportunities they have,” Fisher said. “That’s got to be part of the larger conversation with them, both opportunities for sharing and for reorganization.”

The meeting will begin at 5:30 pm and will be held at the administrative building in Jefferson. The agenda is posted under the Calendar/Agenda tab.
Greene County High School students were likely pleased by two actions taken by the board of education at its regular meeting Monday.

The board approved an early dismissal Friday, Dec. 15, for all students. Activities director Mitch Moore told the board he was able to schedule varsity basketball games against North Polk at Wells Fargo Arena that afternoon, with the girls playing at 2 pm and the boys at 3:30. The choir will sing the National Anthem and the band will provide pre-game music.

All grades will dismiss at 11:45 that day.

The board also agreed to allow senior classes to select their own graduation speakers after principal Brian Phillips championed their cause. Phillips told the board that a senior Megan Durbin asked him about approaching an Olympic high jumper she has met to come speak at commencement.

The board directive that has been in place for several years has given the administration the task of getting the speaker. Seniors have been allowed to vote, with every name on the list being a Jefferson, Jefferson-Scranton, or East Greene alumnus who has been out of school at least five years. “Every year the kids look at the list and say ‘old person, old person, old person’,” Phillips said.

He said only having local alumni as potential speakers is restrictive and “moves away from what the kids want.”

Superintendent Tim Christensen agreed, saying commencement “is about the kids. It’s not about entertaining parents.” He said people seldom remember who the speaker was or any particular thing he or she said, and that he’d be agreeable to having students vote for peers to speak.

The board approved a new directive (not a written policy) that seniors can select their own commencement speaker with the approval of the principal. The senior class must pay any stipend involved.

In other business, the board approved an early retirement policy similar to what has been used the past several years.

Christensen reminded the board that an early retirement policy is a financial tool for the district, not an incentive for teachers to retire. The district can save money by replacing retiring teachers, who are often at the top of the pay scale, with teachers closer to the bottom of the scale. Also, when staff reductions are needed, some of the reduction can be done through attrition rather than lay-offs. The incentive payments come from the district’s management fund, not the general fund.

Teachers eligible for early retirement are those who will be at least 55 years old on or before July 1, 2018 and have worked for the J-S/East Greene/Greene County district for at least 10 years. The incentive is 45 percent of the teacher’s current year salary. The district will not pay more than $200,000 total in early retirement incentives, including payroll taxes.

The deadline for early retirement applications is Dec. 15.

The board approved advertising for bids for repair of the elementary school roof, and a public hearing for the purpose of reviewing and accepting a bid was set for the Dec. 20 meeting. The roof is original to the 1992 building. Work will be paid for out of physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) funds and will be done next summer.

Christensen reported that the new front entry to the elementary school will open Nov. 30, and that the front driveway at the building will be available beginning Dec. 4.

The complete draft minutes are posted under the Calendar/Agenda tab.

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