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Technology, building reserves topics at board meeting

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POLSON —A technology levy and a building reserve levy were two main topics discussed at the last monthly meeting of the Polson School Board held Jan. 10.

“We’ve been talking about these levies for about a year and a half; we’ve got some decisions to make,” Whitesell said during the superintendent’s report.

The district’s technology committee and Dan Kinyon, School District 23 maintenance director, will speak to the board about the issue during a special session so members can decide whether or not to put a levy on the ballot.

As far as technology, “What we (School District 23) have been able to do with what we have is commendable, but we are not where we need to be,” Whitesell said. “… We use computers that are dinosaurs.”

Whitesell would like to see computers and school-wide labs, including the science labs, updated as well as upgrades to wireless technology and paying annual fees for Power Schools and Blackboard.

The high school roof, the Cherry Valley roof and a maintenance program for the Polson Middle School roof are three of the most pressing building repairs and maintenance needs of School District 23.

Board chair Theresa Taylor reminded trustees that the district must notify Lake County if they plan to have a levy on the ballot by March 24.

Pam, Lee, Wyatt and Willie Lytton attended the school board meeting to ask questions about high school rodeo, in particular, whether rodeos would count as a school-related absence and lettering in the sport.

PHS Principal Rob Hankins said the high school would be okay with excusing students for missing days due to high school rodeo participation, provided students let the school know ahead of time when the rodeos will be held. Rodeo athletes would have the same amount of time as other students with excused absences to make up their work.

Hankins explained that PHS cannot sponsor a rodeo team due to liability issues.

Pam Lytton brought up the issue of high school rodeo athletes who have a 4.0 grade point average. In certain classes, if these students have less than three absences, they are not required to take the final exam.

Since absences could be excused, the students would not be obliged to take the final.

After much discussion on how a high school rodeo participant could earn a letter, Taylor charged Hankins and Wilson with contacting other Class A schools to see how they handle the issue.

Some other business included:

• The 2011-12 calendar committee held their third meeting and plans a March 8 presentation of the final calendar to the board.

• Board dialogue meetings are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. at Polson Middle School on Jan. 24, at Polson High School on Feb. 28, at Linderman School on March 28 and at Cherry Valley School on April 18.

• The Polson Education Association notified the board it is ready to begin negotiations for the 2011-12 school year according to Taylor.

• The National Coalition Building Institute, a non-profit leadership building program, will present its program to PHS students in February. One of its tenets is preventing violence.

• Trustees Vernon Finley, Bob Hanson and Mark Russell are up for re-election this year.

• Taylor requested athletic director Scott Wilson ask the MHSA to audit the district’s sports programs as a proactive measure. Wilson also briefed the board on eight issues to be voted on at the Montana High School Association meeting in Billings Jan. 17.

The next monthly meeting will be held Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the administration conference room.

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