Year ending quietly for district

School board work sessions focus on credits, minor changes

Posted: Monday, December 01, 2003

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will take a short breather tonight from the months of "doom and gloom" discussions about the financial future of area schools.

Though the recent popular topics of class sizes, cocurricular activities and consolidations likely will be in the back of many minds, the board's agenda for its last meeting of 2003 is a relatively routine one.

Action tonight will include votes on long-term substitute teacher contracts, an employee resignation and a new teacher assignment, as well as on a standard revision to one section of board policy.

In addition to that business, the board also will meet throughout the afternoon for a handful of work sessions.

At 2:30 p.m., the board will discuss proposed changes to the district's graduation requirements. According to a memo from Assis-tant Superintendent Sam Stewart to the board, the changes are being suggested to simplify the district's requirements and to bring them in line with state statute.

"Making these changes will allow students and schools greater flexibility in planning programs," Stewart wrote.

The changes would eliminate reference to a time requirement for students and instead base graduation solely on the completion of credits.

They also would reduce the number of required credits from 22 to 21. Students still would be required to take four credits of language ares, three credits of social studies and half a credit of health. The math requirement would remain at three credits, but students also would have the option of taking only two credits if one included algebra II. Students also still would have to take three credits of science, but an additional requirement would be added to dictate that one of those credits be a life science class and another be physical science. Physical education requirements would decrease from one credit to a half credit. And instead of requiring students to take three credits of practical or creative arts as well as four-and-a-half elective credits, students simply would be free to take eight or more elective credits of their choice. The changes also would eliminate the half-credit PE waiver for athletic participation.

The board will discuss the changes in a work session and hear a first reading of the policy changes during the general meeting. No final action will be taken until the next board meeting in January.

Also Monday afternoon, the board will conduct a work session to discuss the No Child Left Behind Act and the district's efforts to comply with the national law. That work session will begin at 3 p.m., followed by a 3:30 p.m. work session to discuss proposed state legislation to provide early funding for education.

At 4 p.m., the board will sit for a Kenai Peninsula School Activities Association hearing, the topic of which has not been disclosed. The board also will take official action on the findings of the hearing during the general meeting.

Finally, at 5 p.m., the board will begin a work session to review Section 3000 of the board policy manual, which deals with business and nonstructural operations. The board periodically reviews sections of policy to clean up any unclear language and make sure policies are in line with district practices, state laws and association contracts. No action will be taken on Section 3000 revisions tonight.

Work sessions and board meetings are held in the assembly chambers at the Borough Building, 148 N. Binkley St. in Soldotna, and are open to the public. The general meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. Work sessions are listen-only, while public comment is taken during general meetings.

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