Sheridan School Board receives presentation in bullying, passes budget

The Sheridan School District made preparations for the start of the 2011-2012 school year at their monthly board meeting last Tuesday.

The meeting began with a presentation by school counselor Laurie Bartoletti, outlining a proactive approach to unifying students and confronting bullying in the school system.

Bartoletti’s presentation suggested a weekly 30 to 45 minute curriculum addressing the issue by encouraging students to recognize, refuse and report bullying by using “I statements.”

The goal is to identify how bullying impacts the community and put a stop to it, Bartoletti said. Teachers will receive additional training on the curriculum and confronting abusive behavior during professional development workshops next week before classes begin on Aug. 24.

School administration also announced plans for a focus group made up of two parents, two teachers, two administrators, a school board member and the school counselor to address the issue of conflict and bullying among students.

Following Bartoletti’s presentation the board carried a motion to change wording in the teacher’s handbook to promote a more supervisory role among students by interacting and engaging in student conversations. A motion was also carried to have coaches present in a supervisory role at all times.

The school board carried motions to hire paraprofessionals Jennifer Dvorak and Lisa Gump, middle school football coaches Bobby Wick and Bradley Kadrmas and middle school volleyball coach Tammy Stewart.

A motion to finalize the 2011-2012 budget for the school district was also carried by the board. This year’s total budget for Sheridan Elementary is $1,321,581 and for Sheridan High School is $1,398,391. This marks about a $10,000 increase over last year’s high school budget of $1,388,608.

Although recent mill levies for the school failed, superintendent Kim Harding explained the slight increase in funding is from both state and local entities.

“The state added a little bit of money to our general budget because it is an at-risk payment that allowed our budget dollar to go up slightly, but at the same time the mill levy is all based on property values,” Harding said.

At the conclusion of the Tuesday’s meeting the school board carried a motion to approve co-operative softball and wrestling programs with Dillon so that students may participate in those activities through a sanctioned school program.

Upcoming events for the school district include a back to school barbecue Aug. 22 at 6 p.m., and an ice-cream social at the elementary school following the first day of classes on Aug. 24. The after school program, called the Panther Adventure Learning Center, begins on Monday, Aug. 29.

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