Issues of Attendance, Infrastructure, Busing and Funding Discussed by Emery School Board


By Julie Johansen

The Emery School Board met on Sept. 6 at San Rafael Middle School in Ferron. The work meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Board President Royd Hatt. All board members, Superintendent Ryan Maughan, Business Administrator Jackie Allred and student board member Kallee Lake were in attendance.

Wayne Maxfield, Emery School District Maintenance Supervisor, and Allred discussed the issues of water in some of the older schools, especially with the aging galvanized pipes and leakage that has required many bandages. Some schools have plumbing under the building while others are on top,, which presents even more problems when leakage occurs. Their question to the board was, “What are our priorities and how do we handle them?”

They presented options such as contracting projects over a few year period or hiring a certified plumber to work year round on the water issues. Funding was the main topic of discussion. Suggestions were grants or a state allocation received this year for capital projects.

The regular board meeting began at 7 p.m. and the first item on the agenda was the Emery High construction update. Westland representative Trent Huntsman was unable to attend, so Maxfield updated the board. In the areas that have roofing, the infrastructure is being installed. Much of the masonry work is nearing completion in the gym and weight area, and the decking in the majority of the classrooms and media center is being finished. Power should be available within a month.

Emery High Future Farmers of America (FFA) students requested permission for out-of-state travel to attend the National FFA Convention in October. The students reported that there are 213 students at Emery High involved in FFA and nine of them have earned the privilege of attending the national convention. Advisor Justin Thornley advised the board that the students chosen to attend the national convention are chosen by their activities with FFA during their high school years. The request was granted with appreciation for their achievements in FFA.

The board meeting calendar for 2024 was approved. The board will meet on the second Wednesday of each month with the exception of August. Work sessions are also scheduled for April and June for negotiations and legislative reviews. The schedule was approved unanimously.

A request made by Huntington Elementary Principal Jody Carter at the August meeting for a National Archery Program was also approved. The program sessions will be in the early morning with instructor Justin Carter. This request was granted.

Tracy Rowley, Emery School District Transportation Supervisor, next spoke to the board about driver shortages and additional staffing needs. With state funding assistance of about 50% of the cost, an additional mechanic will be added to the transportation staff. In trying to address the driver shortage, it was then suggested that driver wages be increased from Lane 7 to Lane 8, which would mean about $1 an hour raise. This was tabled for further review.

Emery School District Supervisor Yvonne Jensen then handed the board a list of teachers with Local Education Agency (LEA) specific licenses. The list showed where each teacher was in the process of securing their teaching certification in the areas needed. This was accepted by the board.

San Rafael Middle School Principal Jarrett Gilbert welcomed the board to the school and thanked them for their support. He stated that their focus this year is informational text reading and comprehension. This would help the students learn lifelong needed skills. One of their other areas of focus is attendance, as is the case with almost every school. They are using incentives for students with good attendance.

Supt. Maughan reported that preschool has started, which means all students are now in school.

During public comments, a teacher from Ferron Elementary expressed her concern about students who are not consistent with attendance, coming for a few weeks then missing for weeks, which is hard for students, teachers and all concerned.

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