Looking back, planning ahead all on agenda

Posted: Monday, July 12, 2004

Though classes won't start for more than a month, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will look ahead tonight in what is the first board meeting of the 2004-05 school year.

One of the first bits of business on the new year's agenda: Remember the starting time.

As of tonight, board meetings will begin at 7 rather than 7:30. They still will be held in the assembly chambers at the Borough Building, except for the couple times each year the board visits Homer and Seward.

Before the meeting gets going at 7, though, the board will have some loose ends to tie up from 2003-04 and some planning to do for the coming year.

Members will meet for a 2 p.m. work session to complete the superintendent's annual evaluation, then will move on to future planning with a work session on board goals and the annual agenda at 3 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., the board will hold a work session to discuss the budgeting process for the coming year. The district has collected information from several school districts around the state, comparing how annual budgets are developed and vetted by the public, all in an effort to improve the often controversial annual process.

The board meeting itself also will be a mix of finishing up last year's business and kicking off the new year. On the agenda are a report from Superintendent Donna Peterson on school site-council reports and a first reading of a policy revision carried over from several months ago.

The revision to board policies 4119.12 and 5137, both dealing with harassment and school climate, would broaden protections for students and staff by adding the words "any real or perceived difference" to the list of traits on which people are not to be judged.

The revision came about as a result of requests from the local Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays group, which asked that the district's nondiscrimination policies specifically cite protections for sexual minorities. Board members opted for a simpler and broader method of amending the policy.

The board also will consider revisions to three policies concerning child abuse and neglect. The revisions observe the name change of the Alaska Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) to the Office of Children's Services (OCS) and update a state form used by the district.

Also up for consideration is a list of annual board goals, stemming from the board's annual planning session in June.

Goals for the year include expanding distance delivery; implementing a revised K-12 math curriculum; expanding the use of nonfiction writing to improve literacy; implementing learning plans for all students not reaching district achievement targets and for all ninth- through 12th-graders; increasing collaboration and professional development opportunities for staff; expanding the use of Edline for parent communication; reviewing programs and facilities to determine best use of resources; and organizing a cocurricular task force to review activity funding by Dec. 1.

Along with the list of goals, the board also will take action on the 2004-05 agenda guidelines, which provide a rough working calendar for board actions.

Other items up for board action include the pay schedule for substitutes and other temporary employees, which has not changed from the 2003-04 school year but must be approved annually; a list of assignments for new and nontenured teachers; a list of teachers up for tenure; the resignation of the Seward Middle-Senior High School librarian; and a one-year leave of absence request for the federal programs-grants records clerk.

Board work sessions and general meetings are open to the public. Work sessions are listen-only, while public testimony is taken during designated times at the evening meetings.

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