By Julie Johansen
The Board of Education of the Emery School District hosted its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 1 at Ferron Elementary. The work session, which began at 6:30 p.m., addressed five items.
The first item discussed was the future building needs for student enrollment. J.R. Jones, Elementary Supervisor, reviewed previously discussed information from board meetings and town hall meetings. Centers are being highly considered because of the benefits for learning, teaching and enrollment numbers. Elementary principals in attendance voiced a concern to allow enough time to plan for the changes and finances for each school.
Next, the board requested that judgement levy and capital levy reserves be set aside for future needs. The need for a construction manager was then discussed. Maintenance workers Huntsman and Maxfield commented that Westland Construction now has two new supervisors on the site and communication has increased, making the need much less.
Green River High School (GRHS) Principal Kacey Fluckey then questioned the equity of the stipends for cheerleading coaches, along with the one aide period that they cover as part of their job. The administration will work to find solutions and equity of the situations.
Recently-elected board president Royd Hatt then opened the regular meeting, inviting Trent Huntsman of Westland Construction to present an update to the board. Huntsman reported that the severe cold weather has made construction very difficult; concrete pouring has been almost at a standstill. He stated that although they could pour, it does not make sense to do so in weather below 20 degrees.
The masonry shipments have loosened and most of the needed blocks are being delivered. Work is continuing on the CTE shops under plastic drapes as well as the commons area and auxiliary gym directly west of the Spartan Center.
Next, a public comment period on the FY24 school fees was opened. This was the first of two advertised comment periods available to the public. The next school board meeting on March 1 at Huntington Elementary will feature another comment period for secondary school parents.
It was explained that the first needed fee increase is for the driver’s education program, as the current fees do not cover the cost of the program. Dean Stilson, instructor at Emery High School, expressed the importance of this curriculum and spoke about the difference between online and in-person instruction. He added that a summer course is also offered at Emery High.
The other increase is the cost of a football helmets, which have to be replaced every two years to meet safety regulations. This would be a $50 fee for high school and middle school students. There were no public comments on this matter.
Superintendent Ryan Maughan then presented the following names for hire for the board’s approval: McKenzie Allred, lead cook at Emery High; Kyla Ryan, speech aide at Cleveland Elementary; and Lisa Winn, kindergarten aide at Cleveland Elementary. These three assignments were transfers within the district.
Other names included Craig Rowley, assistant baseball coach at Emery High; Ren Hatt, boys’ basketball coach at Green River High School and Middle School; Anna Jenkins Curtis, P.E. specialist at Cottonwood Elementary; Ty Mecham, edgenuity/ISS at Emery High; Ariana Derrick, student advocate at San Rafael Middle School; and Thomas Burr, business teacher at Emery High for one year. Approval was given for all names by the board.
Full approval was then given to the water leases from the respective cities and the schedules for the extracurricular activities for spring. Permission was also granted for the school food service director to attend a produce safety conference. This will be funded by a grant at no cost to the district.
Discussion then began on Green River High School competing against Colorado schools in athletic events. It was noted that these schools are much closer to GRHS than most of the currently scheduled schools in Utah. Insurance liability was one of the main concerns and the item was tabled to gather further insurance information.
Superintendent Maughan then spoke about the proposed three-year calendar. He explained that it was very similar to the current year’s calendar, with four professional development days and a full week off for spring break. It was proposed to add another day off for fall break and minimize half days before holiday breaks. All board members approved.
Ferron Elementary Principal Heather Behling welcomed all to the school, expressing how exciting it is to have the new building, but acknowledging that it is also a lot of work. She stressed that they are working on improving academic skill levels with a Math Blocks program that works on unmastered skills. Additionally, after-school STEM classes are being offered for all fifth graders and a robotics program is now offered to all students. A Spanish-based program has also been developed for students who have mastered language arts requirements.
Principal Behling added that attendance is always a concern, so they have added an attendance incentive. She concluded by asking the board to consider the student-to-teacher ratio at Ferron Elementary with next year’s anticipated increase in kindergarten enrollment.
Superintendent Maughan then summarized the bills being discussed during the legislative session. The business manager spoke about a proposed change to the eligibility for Small School Districts Capital funding, which would increase the state’s capital funding. Board members Tracey Johnson and McKenzi Guymon then spoke about the evaluation committee looking at a software program for evaluations.