Planning ahead: District looks at ongoing issues

Posted: Monday, August 02, 2004

Leaders in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are expecting another challenging year, as issues such as finances and the future of cocurricular activities loom on the horizon.

Today, as the school board meets, board members and district administrators will attempt to lay out plans to address these concerns.

During a work session at 2 p.m., board members will discuss the budget review process. Following up from a work session at the last board meeting in July, board members will continue reassessing the way public input is collected and used in the development of the district's annual budget.

Board members will hear a new plan that would include more training and background for members of the budget review committee. Under the plan, committee members would include appointees from school site councils, chambers of commerce, the school board, the borough assembly and employee groups, as well as members of the public. Committee members would receive a handbook drafted by the district, hear presentations from various school district departments and spend time learning about the budget process before contributing input on the future budget.

At 2:30 p.m., new assistant superintendent Guy Fisher will outline a plan for tackling ongoing questions about the district's ability to provide cocurricular activities for students. The preliminary plan will involve forming a task force to hold public meetings throughout the peninsula and collect surveys asking community members whether activities should be offered, which activities should be available to students and how the activities should be funded. A five- to 10-year plan for the future of cocurricular activities is expected to be presented to the board by Dec. 1.

Also on the agenda for today, the board will:

Hear a report on the district's performance on 2003-04 assessment tests during a work session at 3:30 p.m. The districtwide assessment results will be presented in advance of an announcement, expected Tuesday, of individual schools' performance in terms of meeting adequately yearly progress, or AYP, under the No Child Left Behind Act. According to the act, AYP is a way to hold schools accountable for student performance. Repeated failure to meet AYP can result in loss of federal funding and eventual overhaul of school personnel.

Appoint board members to sit on a committee to review the district's physical education curriculum during a work session at 5 p.m. The district reviews curricula for one or two subjects each year on a rotating basis. The physical education curriculum review will continue throughout the fall.

Hear Superintendent Donna Peterson's annual report on the state of the school district.

Take action on a handful of teaching assignments for new and nontenured teachers, one resignation and a list of nontenured teachers up for tenure.

Vote on revisions to board policies 4119.12 and 5137, both dealing with harassment and school climate. The revisions, postponed from the July board meeting, 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, who 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.

Take action on the superintendent's three-year contract.

The school board meets in the assembly chambers at the Borough Building, 148 . Binkley St. in Soldotna. Work sessions and board meetings are open to the public. Work sessions are listen-only, while public testimony is taken during scheduled times at the general meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

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