JEFFERSON — The School District of Jefferson and its neighbor, Cambridge, have had a good working relationship fostering a joint swim team during the past several years.
Now this cooperative relationship could be extended to include a gymnastics co-op team.
The idea received a nod from the School District of Jefferson Board of Education at its regular meeting Wednesday night.
The board also acted Wednesday to extend the boys swim team swim pact between the two districts for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.
The girls swim team agreement was approved in January.
In other business, the board approved the 2020-21 course fee schedule. The district will not be raising fees for any classes, but the updated document clarifies which classes the fees pertain to, in order to line up with the course handbook.
Also Wednesday, the board heard the first reading of the district’s new Federal Funds Procedural Manual.
Recommended by the district’s auditor, the procedural manual deals with the use of federal funds in keeping with updated requirements. The document is lengthy and full of legalese and specialized financial language.
While district policy already sets out the basics, this document goes into detail as to what is required in specific instances, providing the forms and procedures people who deal with the district’s procurement needs must follow.
School board President Donna Bente commended Laura Peachey, director of business services for the district, for the hard work she put into this new manual.
School board members will have another few weeks to review the proposed manual before it comes up for approval as an action item on a future board agenda.
Also during the meeting, the board renewed its 4-year-old kindergarten pacts with Small World Preschool and with Jefferson County Head Start, with a couple of minor changes.
There will be a $50 increase in fees to be paid to the district for each program to cover increasing costs. In addition, the Head Start program will be moving in the next year from Sullivan Elementary School to West Elementary School in Jefferson.
The board heard the first reading of the district’s recently overhauled student attendance policy.
Kathy Volk, pupil services director for the district, said that the updated document is easier to follow, is more readable and reflects current practice.
It lays out the tiered intervention steps the district takes as a student’s absences pile up, with more preventive and supportive responses earlier in the process, sterner notices when the absences start to reach an “at-risk” state and finally moving on to truancy action. Before taking any punitive action, the schools do reach out to the parents to ask what barriers they might have that might be preventing their child from getting to school, asking how the school district could assist.
Board member Dick Lovett asked how work-leave for high school students was calculated into this formula.
High school principal Steve Dinkel responded that these approved leaves are not considered absences, but are accounted for in the district’s work-based learning program.
Later in the meeting, the board approved its updated school admissions policy in its second reading, and also heard a first reading of the position description for the new Jefferson Middle School associate principal.
The associate principal replaces a former dean of students position. With the retirement of current Dean of Students Dan Wilharm, district planners felt this was the right time to re-examine that position in response to increased needs at the middle school over the past two decades.
The final agenda item was a discussion of potential future agenda topics board members would like to see addressed.
Board member Terri Wenkman requested that the board hear about the district’s plans to address a pandemic — of the Coronavirus, regular influenza or anything else that might come up.
District administrators were directed to work on that issue in conjunction with the school nurse, with a report to come to the board at a future meeting.
Action on a facilities study vendor was postponed, as some members of the administrative team who should weigh in on this decision could not make Wednesday’s meeting.
A slated closed session on a potential property purchase by the district was deferred to a future date, and Wednesday’s meeting ended without a closed session.