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Paynesville Press - October 18, 2006

Board changes
parent/athlete handbook

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

•The board approved changes to the parent/athlete handbook following a brief discussion. The board had previously tabled a decision about the handbook and referred it to a committee.

Concerns had been raised over definitions of probation for students in extracurricular activities. Board member Deb Glenz was concerned over the difference between the Minnesota High School League's rules versus the school's rules and said she wanted to prevent double standards among activity probations.

Secondary principal Laurie Flora noted that the school's probationary periods have so far been comparable to the amounts of time students spend within each seasonal activity.

Category I activities are: athletics; cheerleading; dance team; and speech. For the first Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) violation, the participant will miss two events or two weeks, whichever is greater. A second MSHSL violation means a six-week probation. MSHSL rules and penalties for students in grades 7-12 will be in effect for the entire calendar year (including summer).

Category II activities are: band contests; choir contests; drama; FFA; FLA; one-act play; pops choir; Knowledge Bowl; and visual arts contests. The board decided that band and choir contests should be added to these activities.

For a chemical violation, students in these activities will be required to miss one week or one event, whichever is greater, for the first violation. For a second offense, the penalty is two weeks or two events, whichever is greater.

Glenz's concern was that Category I participants were being penalized more severely by their longer probation under MSHSL rules than Category II partipants.

But Category II activities do not have as many competitions as Category I, thus the shorter probations, which the board passed unanimously after adding band and choir contests to the Category II list.

Any student with a chemical violation will need to undergo an evaluation with the district's chemical health counselor.

In addition, students must maintain their grades to be eligible for extracurricular participation.

•The board approved an elementary staff development grant of $428 to help Title I students in reading with a program called "First Hand Phonics."

•The board tabled moving school board elections to even years. Burlingame said the district could transition to having elections in even years by having those elected in 2007 and in 2009 serve three-year terms. After that, board members would resume serving four-year terms. The cost of elections would stay the same, said Burlingame.

Currently, school board elections are held during odd years (2005, etc.) and not with the general elections on even years (such as 2006).

The board heard the proposal but did not discuss it.

•The board approved the resignation by Joan Nevitt as the one-act play director and approved an employee assignment for middle school teacher Erin Wendt as the one-act play director.

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