Adopts budget, splits assistant principal duties, looks for activities van

HARRISON – After much discussion at their August meeting the Harrison School Board accepted a recommendation from new district superintendent Fred Hofman and carried a motion to split the assistant principal job between two school administrators.

Hofman recommended to the board that they hire school counselor Leslee Weber to be assistant principal for grades K-6 and teacher Sheri Heavrin for grades 7-12. Both Heavrin and Weber are qualified for the job, and Hofman felt that dividing the assistant principal position between the two would best suit the district while still allowing enough time for the two women to continue with their other responsibilities to the district.

“If Leslee is here in the morning, I think that’s going to allow Sheri to stay in her primary core classes, and then in the afternoon when Leslee’s gone, I’m hoping we’re going to have Sheri freed up to help me with some of the disciplinary issues in the high school and junior high,” said Hofman.

Trustee Sandra Baily voted against the motion because she felt having numerous school administrators in addition to the superintendent/principal, activities director and district clerk in such a small school district would not be an efficient use of resources.

“There is too many administrators for the size of the school,” Bailey said.

Hofman explained that the responsibilities for coordination of testing, curriculum, and others administrative areas typically assigned to the assistant principal would be divided between Heavrin and Weber. The $3,500 stipend allotted for the position would be divided accordingly to reflect the duties of both individuals, he said.

The board carried a motion to accept the bus route rates from Harlow’s Bus Service, and authorized superintendent Hofman to find a van for the school as an additional means of transportation. Because many of the extracurricular activities offered by the school include only handful of students due to the small size of the district, Hofman suggested that having a school van would be more cost efficient than using a bus to transport a handful of kids. The board agreed and carried a motion to allow Hofman to find a van in good condition that meets book value not to exceed $9,000.

During the meeting the board listened to a presentation from student Kristen White asking them to change the school district’s dress code to allow for athletic shorts and sweatpants. White argued that sweats and gym shorts do not affect their education, and provided several examples from other school districts around the state that allow students to wear this type of clothing. Trustee Todd Brennan said the rule may have come from problems with students in years past running around de-pantsing each other, but commended White for her thorough presentation to the board. The board agreed to allow athletic shorts and sweats on a trial basis for the fall semester.

The board also carried a motion to amend the district’s policy on cellular phone usage to allow students to use mobile devices at the discretion of the classroom instructor. Hofman pointed out that cell phones can often be utilized as an instructional tool in certain situations.

“Students need to use their phone every now and then to document something,” he said.

The board also adopted a budget for the 2012-13 school year, with the most noticeable increase coming from the transportation fund. Last year the district’s transportation budget totaled $124,743 while this year the district has $133,560.

The next regular board meeting for the Harrison School District is scheduled for Sept. 10.

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