By Mike Scott
Clark County R-1 School District student will attend classes for only 170 days next year, rather than the 174 day calendar used in the current school year. The first day of school will be August 20.School Calendar
At the Thursday, February 13 school board meeting, the board held a public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 calendar. The board was required to hold a public hearing because the start date is more than 10 days before Labor Day.
“The proposed 170 calendar eliminates early-out professional development days,” said Superintendent Dr. Ritchie Kracht. “We’ll have more meaningful days in class per year, with a minimum loss of hours. We really thing we’re going to get more out of the hours we’re here.”
The 2014-15 calendar also includes a four day fall break Oct. 24-27, and two full weeks of Christmas vacation, with classes resuming on January 5. The last day of school is scheduled for May 18, 2015.
“We’re banking on missing three days of school with this schedule,” said Kracht. However the new calendar also shows possible make-up days.
To view the new school calendar, visit www.nemonews.net.
Kracht reported that January attendance averaged 921.23, which is the highest since 2005.
“We’re up 35 students from last year,” Kracht said.
Kracht also reported the district’s financial situation was in good shape, with over five million dollars in the bank, thanks to most of the local tax payment arriving.
“We’re in pretty decent shape,” Kracht said. “We’re close to budget on most things.”
The board also discussed the need for a long-term substitute teacher for the Building Trades program, following the resignation of Darin Little. The district received six applications, and plans to interview five candidates next week.
One concern is that if the candidate hired is not a licensed teacher or substitute teacher, the district will have to have a licensed substitute on the job site with the students.
The board approved not having a school board election, as only three candidates filed for three open position. This will save the district about $3500 in election costs
Board member Jason Acklie discussed the need for a new sound system in the High School gym.
“We’ve been talking about a new sound system. The current one is twenty-plus years old.”
After discussion, the board agreed to start looking at options to update the system
The district is facing a bus driver shortage.
“We have a major problem with a shortage of bus drivers,” Kracht told the board.
Spring activities, including track, scholar bowl and now baseball, use many buses and drivers.
“There will be some nights this spring that we won’t have enough drivers to get kids home. We have to get kids home, it’s our priority,” Kracht said.
He noted that several school administrators often fill in on driving bus routes due to a shortage of both route and activities drivers.
“It’s not good for us to be out of the buildings driving a bus,” said High School principal Jason Harper. “That’s when we need to talk to parents and work with staff.”
“So what do we need to do?” asked board member Craig Hunziker.
Kracht wants to encourage spring sports coached to get a CDL to drive buses.
“If they don’t, we may have to cancel some events,” Kracht added.
“We need to set a rate for coaches who drive,” he said.
Currently, activities bus drivers are paid $7.50 per hour for the entire time of the activity.
Coaches who drive the bus are paid $7.50 per hour for drive time only. The rest of the time at the activity is paid under their coaching contract.
“That’s not much incentive for them to get a CDL,” Kracht said.
“There’s a big difference between hauling a load of corn and driving a bus full of kids,” Hunziker said.
Board member Kari Bevans noted the difficulty in attracting and keeping regular bus drivers.
“You can’t have a day job and drive the bus,” she said.
“Your day is shot,” Kracht agreed.
Kracht proposed paying coaches the $7.50 per hour for the entire time of the event, to top of coaching contract, if they have drive a bus to the event. The board agreed.
The board also discussed having the summer Building Trades program build a new restroom facility at the football field.
“If we do this, it will be the second most popular thing we’ve ever done, right after paving the high school parking lot,” said Activities Director Jason Church.
The proposed building would greatly increase the number of stalls available in the restroom facility, and would provide a much cleaner environment.