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West Yellowstone school board reorganizes board positions - West Yellowstone News Online: News

West Yellowstone school board reorganizes board positions

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Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 9:23 pm

West Yellowstone school board trustees unanimously approved the election results for the annual trustee election at the regular school board meeting Tuesday evening.

Incumbents Maggie Anderson and Gayle Archer received top votes and will each serve another three-year term on the school board.

West Yellowstone school superintendent Lael Calton was impressed with this year's voter turnout of 280 voters, or 22.69 percent of the 1,234 registered voters that reside in the West Yellowstone school district.

Trustees also reorganized board positions and Anderson was reappointed to serve as the school board chairman, trustee Kelly Burden as the vice chairman and Mary Davis as the school district clerk.

Trustees agreed to revisit individual committee assignments, to determine what trustees will serve on committees like business and finance or facilities and grounds, and tabled the discussion until the next regular school board meeting in June.

Another important topic on the agenda included the approval of fourth-grade teacher Jessica McDougall's request to transfer two sick leave days to personal leave days. McDougall is set to leave the school district at the end of the school year and trustees approved her resignation request later in the meeting.

Trustee Kelly Burden expressed concern about approving the transfer of the days, pointing out that the school district has to pay for substitute teachers in the absence of certified staff members. 

McDougall requested to have the days transferred so she can handle personal business before she permanently moves to the East coast.

Under the current contract, certified staff members are allotted three personal days and 12 sick days, in addition to paid days off when school is not in session. Their sick days also accumulate year after year and they are paid out for a percentage of those sick days when they leave the school district, according to Davis.

The negotiations committee has considered providing another personal day to certified staff members, but needs to discuss the topic in future negotiations meetings.

Trustees approved for McDougall to transfer one sick day to a personal day and to take one day off without pay.

"That way it's split to total one day paid and one day not paid," trustee Rachel Burden said. "I understand she (McDougall) has personal business, but there are also budgetary concerns about paying out substitutes."

Archer, who participated in the school board meeting discussions via a telephone conference call, agreed that bringing in substitutes can get pricey.

Trustees are paying close attention to available funds and keeping an eye on the budget because they still don't know what they'll receive for education funding from the state for the 2011-2012 school year.

"We're trying to be mindful of the budget and we use a lot of substitute teachers in a year," Davis said.

McDougall thanked the board for considering her request.

"I wish her the best and I'm going to be sad to see her go," Kelly Burden said in regards to McDougall's resignation.

In other business, the Montana Office of Public Instruction informed Calton that percentages for annual measurable objectives, which apply to students completing the Montana Comprehensive Assessment Test, will stay the same as the current requirements for math and reading.

"Those percentages help determine whether or not the school district has met the learning targets that contribute to measuring annual yearly progress," Calton said.

State superintendent of public instruction Denise Juneau wrote a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, informing him that Montana will leave the percentage requirements the same for the upcoming school year on April 25.

The letter was then mailed off to superintendents across the state, according to Calton.

Students in the West Yellowstone school district will have to reach an 83 percent success rate in reading and a 68 percent success rate in math to meet requirements for the 2011-2012 school year annual measurable objectives, once testing is completed.

Teachers and staff are gearing up for a slew of calendar events before the current school year comes to an end in June.

Trustees approved a list of planned maintenance and repair projects to be completed throughout the summer.

Calton explained that every request might not get completed.

"Maintenance will be done over the summer based on availability of funds. We will prioritize on what's essential to be done," she said.

An academic awards ceremony for junior high and high school students is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25 at 2 p.m. in the gym. A special school board meeting is also scheduled for May 25 at 6 p.m. in the school art room to offer contracts to certified staff members.

"We have to offer the contracts to certified staff by June 1," Davis said.

The final PAWS assembly of the year is scheduled for Friday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m. and a picnic and town cleanup is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. in the school art room.

© 2015 West Yellowstone News Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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