The Bear Lake School District held their regular monthly meeting on the evening of August 13 at 7 PM, which began by approving the bills to be paid in the amount of $324,292.28. Superintendent Gary Brogan gave updates on summer maintenance projects, which included roof work at A.J. Winters Elementary and Bear Lake High School, as well as windows at A.J.. BLHS Student Council representative David Lusk, who stated he would attend school board meetings to provide communication between the board and council, announced that the Homecoming theme for this year would be “Seasons,” and the week will include a bonfire, parade, and of course a dance.

Under “What’s Right,” Brogan relayed that the Hope Lutheran Church donated ten backpacks with school supplies for district students. He also shared information from Idaho State University’s end of year review, which stated that 55 students had received 309 college credits through the dual enrollment program. The trustee vacancy for zone 3 was also discussed, as no one has yet expressed interest in filling the position. The board voted to table it until next month.

The Support Staff Handbooks for 2019-2020 were discussed. Paul Alleman asked if time clocks were used. Brogan replied that timesheets were filled out. Bill Pettis questioned the time required by office personnel to collect that data. Business Manager Joey Probst responded that they only need to look for variations, then calculate accordingly. Pettis asked about automated computer systems, which Probst and Brogan responded that this would cost approximately $7,000 to $8,000. After some further discussion, the handbooks were approved.

Student Handbooks for 2019-2020 we’re then reviewed. BLHS Principal Luke Kelsey outlined the changes made from last year, which includes a policy for consequences/corrective action for vaping. Kolby Romrell asked how many repeat offenders there were last year. Kelsey replied he thinks there was one, out of 10 that were caught. He also discussed the number of new vaping products, explicitly designed to conceal, including cords in the drawstrings of hooded sweatshirts and vapes the size and shape of small computer zip drives.

Kelsey also stated they are looking into vape cloud and loud noise sensors for restrooms and locker rooms, which would send an alarm to the school office. Angie Grunig asserted that she would like to see teachers take an active role in checking these areas and being present as a deterrent. Romrell asked how informed area parents are about this issue, which no one seemed to have a clear answer to.

Kelsey then outlined the sports and grades policy. D-level grades have been eliminated, so now anything below a 70 percent is failing. A student may have one failing grade and still be allowed to try out and start a sports activity. Once in, however, grades must all remain a C-level or above to continue participation. Grades will be updated and checked every three weeks, and grade correction forms will be up to the student to get properly completed and signed. Kelsey stated that though they do not want to abuse athletics, they do use these activities as a leverage to motivate students. Pettis asserted that the policy was too lenient and lent itself to teaching students how to “play the game.”

In reference to the Middle School Handbook, since it states that drugs and alcohol are illegal, Alleman asked why it was worded that the “police MAY be notified.” He asserted it should say “WILL be notified.” Elementary Principal Laurel Jensen suggested that the word “drugs” be changed to “illegal substances,” to eliminate any questions concerning appropriately prescribed medications (which should always be turned in to the school office but are sometimes forgotten). Paris Elementary handbook changes include a cell phone policy and divorced custodial parent pick-up policy, which states they cannot deny a custodial parent the right to pick up their child without a court order. All handbooks were approved.

A fuel bid from Keller Straus, the bus routes for 2019-2020, the hiring of a student teacher and a special education teacher, and a $6,000 contract for a Duress Notification System was also approved. The meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.

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