Michael Kahrs, data manager for teachers and students, told the board that with the demographics of the new information system (School Net) he can easily provide them with accessibility.
“This system basically ties together everything (in the school system),” Kahrs said. “If you get questions from your constituents (about students, enrollment, attendance, test scores or other issues), you’ll have it all right there.”
“It sounds great,” said board member Dr. Murl Dirksen, “but I’d enjoy a demonstration, perhaps outside of a regular board meeting.”
Karhs said this will be easy, since the system is flexible.
“School Net is the key for us to get where we want to be,” said Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff in regard to test scores and other informational issues.
The board agreed to have Karhs to set up a demonstration session in the near future.
Other school board issues:
- Paul Ramsey, supervisor of maintenance and transportation, said a Montana firm will be doing an analytical survey of the school system’s bus routes to determine options to the city’s current system.
“They’ll figure the configuration of our bus stops and make recommendations,” Ramsey said. “But, we’ll give them the parameters on what we want (from the survey).”
Ramsey said the survey is also expected to consider bell times and provide recommendations on optimum classroom starting times.
“It will only take a couple of weeks for them to complete these simulations,” the transportation supervisor continued, adding that the survey team will also be riding on the buses.
“We’ll learn what it costs to run each of our bus routes,” Ramsey added. “We now spend about $32,000 per year for each bus, which is apparently very efficient. They say the national average is $34,000 to $36,000.
“This (survey) should emphasize that we’re being efficient,” said board member Dawn Robinson.
Ramsey added the survey could also show where some changes and/or modifications can be made. “Our buses are maxed out right now,” he said, as the board discussed the fact that students have to live at least 1.6 miles from their school to be transported.
Board Chairman Tom Cloud said a national television story Monday morning predicted gasoline prices will increase by 60 cents between now and May.
- Cloud complimented the three years of service by former school board chair Peggy Pesterfield at the start of Monday’s meeting. He then made appointments to a trio of committees.
Cloud was elected chairman for the coming year at the board’s previous meeting.
The new chairman asked longtime board member Dawn Robinson to remain as the school system’s representative to the state Legislature, added George Meacham to join Steve Morgan on the Sick Leave Committee, selected Dirksen, Pesterfield and Morgan to the Site Selection Committee and named Richard Shaw to the Board Policy Committee.
- Board members will leave the central office at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, for Nashville and Day on the Hill the following day.
Day on the Hill is when school board members from across the state visit with their respective legislators.
Robinson, who keeps up with issues in Nashville and with local legislators, said, “It’s a fun time.”
She added, “I don’t want to spoil it for you, since we’re going over there in a couple of weeks, but there’s a lot of issues being discussed.”
Among issues (bills) coming up this year are preschool options, a concussion (head injuries) policy, allowing school boards to conduct meetings electronically and a professional dress code policy.
- March 9 is the annual conference of the state’s Student Congress on Policy in Education (SCOPE).
Attendees meet for workshops in the morning, then students debate policy issues in the afternoon. The students also elect officials from their peers. “We’ve had students from Cleveland High School elected to office,” said Robinson.
Pesterfield and Shaw are planning to attend this year’s conference.