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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mailbag Chasin the news::Monday, January 28th 2013. School board meeting.

Evansville School Board Meeting, January 28th, 2013
I will start by admitting it had been quite a while since I had been to a board meeting.   I had not been to one since all this business with Act 10 started.  
Monday night's meeting was very interesting.   They covered a lot of business and yes it was a long meeting.  
There was a presentation on Bullying.   A representative from each of the four schools was present and gave a brief explanation of what they do to help keep bullying out of their schools.
Ms. Kansteiner ( Levi Leonard) talked about how they only had one substantiated report of bullying in the entire 2011-2012 school year.   Interesting as that is where bullying starts.
Ms.Kansteiner talked about how she goes into each class room at Levi Leonard teaches Life Skills classes and how at Levi Leonard they have a Positive Behavioral support program.
Mrs. Arnold from J.C. McKenna reported they had only 4 proven cases of bullying for the 2011-2012 school year.  These were reported by students and were substantiated.  They were incident reports and not on going cases of bullying.
Mrs.Arnold also goes into the class rooms weekly and teaches different lessons regarding bullying.  She works with kids on problem solving, decision making and friendship.  All of which support the anti-bullying efforts.    At T.R.I.S.  They also have a program called Character Ed.   It helps to teach, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion and Honesty.   This also helps to decrease bullying at the schools.
J.C. McKenna-  Mr.Czerwonka was the representative from J.C. McKenna.   He reported that they did a Youth Risk Behavior Survey.   This survey showed that 3.8% of males at J.C. Mckenna do not feel safe coming to school because of bullying.
8.7 % of females do not feel safe coming to school because of bullying.   
The suggestion was made that sometimes it's because of something these individual students may have done to create these feelings of not feeling safe at school.  Like posting something on Face Book the night before about someone.     I was glad when Dennis Hatfield asked the question "How much bullying goes unreported. "   That is an excellent question because I know for a fact.  Quite a bit.   Mr. Czerwonka , Mrs. Hannibal and I had just had a conversation on Monday about that very issue.   About a student that had been bullied for some time and never reported it.  
In the 2011-2012 school year at J.C. McKenna there were 29 students (42 instances) that were referred for bullying, harassment or a threat to someone's safety. ( 6 sixth graders. 17 seventh graders, and 6 eighth graders)  For the 2012-2013 year so far there are 6 students (five instances) to date 1 or the 6 was a repeat offender from 2011-2012.
What do they do about bullying at J.C.McKenna?  
  6th grade they have a health unit on bullying.
 7th grade harassment and bullying unit with school counselor
8th grade- "Refuse to Bruise"
All grades
Character education, staff supervision in class and hallways and relationship building.
I found the totals that Randy Keister gave questionable.   He stated they only had 23 incidents of of bullying dealt with by administration in the 2011-2012 school year.  I think that very low total goes to show how they do not take it seriously at all.  Because I know for a fact they spend a good part of their week dealing with bullying.  Am I suggesting they played with these numbers?   Yes.  I am.   They are trying to get people to think it's not that bad.  But anyone who has a student who goes there knows better.   The school has a bulling Bully Alert on the school website.  They evidently take very few of these reports seriously either.   I understand it's anonymous it does not make these reports untrue.  
What do they do at the high school to prevent bullying?
Freshman Orientation, freshman advisory, staff in the halls at passing time, Refuse to bruise campaign. 
Mr Keister also did mention how social media is a huge part of bullying.     I absolutely agree.  It is a night mare.  Students posting things on Facebook about each other, texting each other nasty things. Mr.Keister even suggested some are setting up anonymous accounts to harass and bully each other.   Everyone needs to remember you are never anonymous on the internet.
There was updates on the budget and a "State of the Budget" presentation.  Please go to these links for more information on the budget.  The links to the budget information is at the bottom of the page in a bluish color.   Ms.Treuden pointed out they are losing revenue in the area of the lunch program.  She feels it has to do with the National food lunch program. She said she is not really worried, but is concerned.  Take from that what you will.   The link to budget information and the "State Of The Budget "information.
The board also approved contracts of its administrators.  I found it interesting how some got one year and some got two year contracts. 
Mr. Robert Flaherty and Ms. Lou Havlik are both resigning as of the summer of 2014.    The board thanked both for giving such a generous amount of notice.
The most interesting part of the meeting to me was the reading of policies for the employee handbook.  The hand book will replace the working contract.   So it is very important and a lot of time is being put into developing this handbook.
I was glad to hear Nancy Hurley point out it needed to be consistent language in the employee handbook. 
Kim Katzenmeyer and Dee Jay  Redders were in attendance and raised concerns about a couple of the policies.  The first being cutting teacher prep time from 250 minutes a week to 225 minutes a week.  Administration was pushing very hard for this saying they may need to cut prep time due to scheduling issues.  
Dennis Hatfield was very clear he did not like the idea of cutting any prep time, he wished he could give them more.   The board talked quite a while about this.   The discussion was going to continue the next day at the Handbook committee meeting.  The majority of the board seemed to feel there was not a lot of reason for cutting prep time at this time. 
The other policy reading was requiring staff to work 3 extra/co-curricular activities a year without being paid.  It was stated the district would save 12,000+ a year by having staff cover these without pay.  There was a lot of discussion on this as well.   This discussion was also to continue at the Employee handbook committee, the next day.    It should be very interesting to see what they decided at the next school board meeting.   This handbook is very important so I appreciated the time and thought the school board is putting into this, and how they listened to the teacher's concerns who were at the meeting.
Over all a very interesting meeting.  

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:44 AM

    I spoke with Ms.Treuden this a.m. I want to clarify that the food service program is not losing money. They are just simply behind where they were last year at this time. She said there were big changes this year and that takes time to adjust to. She said we are not as behind in terms of revenue from food service as some other districts state wide.

    I also asked her to clarify how much money would be saved if teacher's covered extra curricular and co curricular events as part of their contract. She explained the range is between 12-18 thousand. As it's possible some of the positions may have to continue to be paid positions. Such as score keeper at games, as that is a trained position. So no exact amount yet , just a range.