By Julie Johansen
The Emery School Board met at Cottonwood Elementary on Wednesday, Dec. 6 with all board members present, including student board member Kallee Lake. Also present were several students from Emery High School’s US Government class.
The regular session began at 7 p.m. but was preceded with a work session at 6 p.m. During the work session, Joel Hatch with Eastern Utah Credit Union requested permission to include the logo of Emery High and Green River High on the debit cards issued by the credit union in their spirit lineup. The board agreed to allow this in an non-exclusive purpose. Other financial institutions may request to use school logos if desired.
A review of each schools’ positive behavior plan was next on the agenda. These are plans that are currently being used for substance intervention purposes as well as plans that are in the planning stages. These plans coordinate with the substance abuse funding received for advisor stipend and supplies. These positive behavior plans were presented by JR Jones and were approved during the regular work session.
The Utah State School Board requires Local Education Associations to approve policy regarding language access for all students. The proposed policy requires language access programs to provide language assistance and translators as needed for both students and parents. This policy was also approved during the regular work session by the entire board.
The bus lift in the current transportation building did not pass inspection and because it is over 40 years old, parts are not available. A quote for a new lift has been received from Rocky Mountain Lifts in the amount of $275,215. This quote includes concrete of new pits, delivery, unloading, equipment, labor, installation and testing. This was approved during the regular session with an unanimous vote.
Superintendent Ryan Maughan gave information regarding the proposed amendment for HB61. This bill outlines school safety requirements. The concerns are about the way it is written and implementation of the legislation. Later in the meeting, he also a gave a brief summary of the upcoming 2024 legislative session, stating concern with proposed changes in funding for some programs affecting rural schools.
The regular session started with a presentation from Trent Huntsman, Westland Construction, explaining the status of the Emery High construction project. He stated that masonry work is complete on the front façade of the new building and some windows are installed. The roof on this area will be added by the end of the month while the shop roof units have been installed. Roll up doors are coming and the shop areas will be ready for machines when the school is ready to have them moved to the new building. Ceramic tile in the kitchen and restrooms has been installed. Cover for all buildings is critical to keep building insides dry to continue the infrastructure and keep on schedule. Occupancy will eventually depend on the fire lane completion.
Names for new hire were also approved. The hires are William Mark Babcock as the district plumber, Jessica Greenhalgh and Kacie Hadden as special education aides at Emery High, Marilyn Bonner as the child nutrition manager at Ferron Elementary, and Debbie Bennett and Cassie Phillips as CNP workers at Huntington and Castle Dale Elementary, respectively.
Middle school games outside the Castle Valley Athletic Association geographic area were discussed. Comments included missing additional school time, setting a precedence for other activities, and expense and time to travel. When a motion to permit this was made and seconded, it failed by a vote of four to one.
A new policy for combined licensed and support staff vacation and holidays was approved. This policy replaces the previous policies that were different for staff and licensed personnel.
Cottonwood Elementary principal John Hughes reported providing intentional training for school employees, which increased their professional development. Attendance at Cottonwood has increased substantially this year because of teacher and staff contact with parents. He stated the school’s gratitude for Ms. Debry, the counselor at their school. Hughes was also pleased to announce that the Utah Education Network is scheduled to feature Cottonwood Elementary as a successful school in Utah.