School board seeks May bond for future expansion

By: 
Chris McConnell
Outlook staff writer

 

 

On Monday the Laurel School Board passed a resolution to sign an extension on the purchase agreement for the 30.8 acre property located north of East Main Street and west of Yard Office Road. This is the same property that was part of the November bond election that failed. Superintendent Linda Filpula had said the property was still for sale for $550,000, but there are other interested parties and she hoped the board would make a decision. She stressed the only thing the resolution would do is to extend the timeline from Nov. 7 to May 8. According to Filpula, the next step will be for the board to pass a resolution to ask voters if it’s okay to purchase the property on a $550,000 2-5 year bond.
Charla Wetsch, director of curriculum and assessment, recommended the board approve the application for a variance of the standard Accreditation Standards from the Montana Office of Public Instruction. She said because the school district is already using the AdvancED framework to guide the school improvement process, implementing it as the district’s Continuous School Improvement Plan allows for clear purpose and direction. Wetsch also said it allows for goals to be developed using data gathered and evaluated regularly.
The board approved the variance application.
LHS Art Teacher and Art and Culture Club Adviser Stacia Garner gave a presentation about the club’s upcoming trip to San Francisco April 16-20. She said club goals include creating a community of artists within LHS and educating students on career choices in the Arts. Eleven students are going on the trip and she said having them in her STEAM class, as well, aids in fundraising and organization efforts. Garner asked anyone with items to donate for their garage sale in early April–which raised $1,100 last year–should contact her through the school. On their trip the six seniors, five juniors and two advisers will stay in Union Square and tour Alcatraz at night, go to Pier 39 and the Museum of Modern Art and visit the Haight–Ashbury.
Laurel Schools Athletic Director Roger Heimbigner reported that the Montana High School Association will vote on two resolutions on Jan. 15. The first proposal, supported mostly by Class C schools, would allow more local control for school boards in determining if 8th graders would be able to play at the high school level. Heimbigner recommended voting against the proposal because there are already measures in place at the state level to approve 8th grade participation. He said different school boards will have differing opinions and he feels having one entity making the decisions for all schools is most equitable.
The second proposal is to increase fine for schools that break rules and are reprimanded, such as having coaches who haven’t been certified by the state. Heimbigner said the current fine structure was put in place in the early 90s and he feels the modest increase would be a deterrent to inappropriate behavior.
The board weighed in and expressed support for his decisions.
In other business:
• Alexis Webster, Brenda Piatt, Cybrina Squier and Danielle Murray were hired to serve as substitute staff for Laurel Schools.
• Taylor Pownall was hired to fill the Middle School Assistant Track coaching vacancy.
• Endreah Burnam was hired for the position of long-term 5th grade substitute at Laurel Middle school. Burnam had recently completed her student teaching at the school.
• Tamee Ward was hired as middle school aide.

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