The following is a summary of 2 Storey County School Board of Trustees meetings held this summer, one on July 12th and the other on August 16th. After the opening routines came the approval of specific consent items: paying the bills (July & August), a required Class Size Reduction Report (July), updated Mission, Vision, and Core Values statements to be added to the website (Aug.), a revised Superintendent Evaluation policy (Aug.), a Statement of Eligibility of Student Athletes for NIAA Policy (Aug.), and a comprehensive Test Procedures and Security Plan (Aug.).
By Sharon Snell
In July the only Public Comment came from David Carter (State Board of Education, District 2) regarding diplomas for special education students (2017 Legislative Session, AB67). A meeting was held on July 13th to begin work on a framework for providing all schools with alternatives to standardized testing for special needs students to demonstrate competencies.
Superintendent Todd Hess Report
In July Todd commented on a transportation report submitted by Kelly Knapp stating that nearly 100,000 miles were logged in for the 2016-17 school year, over 71,00 miles on regular routes and 25,000 miles on field trips. Pretty interesting!
Todd introduced Pat Beckwith, 2016-17 principal at VCHS. He made a brief presentation on ACT Testing (this assessment is one of the tests required of students applying for acceptance at certain specific colleges and universities). Storey County ACT test scores were the 3rd highest in the State of Nevada for the school year ending in June. Great news! Congratulations to the students and educators who made that happen! Pat also shared that the District will have a local trainer for ACT prep a few weeks before testing next year. Dawn Miller added that the US Army offers a free program for SAT prep (another college entrance test required for certain specific schools).
Todd reported that the District now has fiber in VCHS (for non-techies, that’s a big technology upgrade). Hillside Elementary will be the next recipient, then VCMS and last but not least, Gallagher Elementary. Very good news, for sure. Todd introduced Dan Slentz, representing Oasis Online, the business under contract with the District for tech services. So far the District is very pleased with the work Oasis is doing.
Finally, Todd introduced Rick Taylor, the new principal for both the Middle School and Hillside. Rick will also help with grant applications for SCSD. He was welcomed by the Board
At the August meeting Todd proudly reported that Storey County had a 100% graduation rate last school year. He also said there would be news soon about SBAC scores (annual required State testing) and to expect some changes.
Todd introduced Pat Whitten, agendized for a Master Plan Presentation. Mr. Whitten spent the next several minutes explaining a condensed version of a plan presented at the County Commissioners meeting on Aug. 15th regarding the building of a pipeline in the TRI Center to carry effluent water into the region (SB1, 2015). The given reason for his presentation at this meeting was to ask the Board of Trustees to give their support for this plan, if at all possible, in the very near future. From the studies he has, he reported that this plan “will have minimal if any negative impact on the School District” and could benefit the District fiscally in the future. A few questions were asked and answered. This was a discussion only item on the agenda; therefore, no action was taken at this meeting.
In July Melissa Field reported that a fundraiser to benefit 4th Ward School was well attended. Colleen Conley showed some concern about emergency plans after a fire drew near at Lockwood. Todd assured her the Joe Curtis (Emergency Management) had been in constant contact with him at that time. Dawn Miller returned from the National PTA Conference and communicated to Todd that there were several vendors that may be of interest to Storey Country Schools. Jeff Nevin commended Amanda Eddy for the singing of the National Anthem at the 4th of July Parade.
In August the reports from Board members were very brief, which is not unusual for the last summer meeting before school starts. All member were appreciative of Todd for keeping them well informed throughout the summer. Melissa Field reminded members that the main fundraiser for 4th Ward School would be held on Oct. 14th and encouraged everyone to consider participating.
Before adjourning the August meeting President Jeff Nevin called for Public Comment. There was one comment requested by Sharon Snell. She stated she was disappointed that the agenda showed a Master Plan Presentation when the substance of the presentation concerned the pipeline plan for TRI Center. Sharon believed that more people would have wanted to be at the meeting if the discussion topic had been stated more clearly on the posted agenda. She attended a meeting in the Highlands the week before and reported this plan was very controversial among the taxpayers present. Austin Osborne received many questions some of which he was unable to answer and requested citizens go to the Commission Meeting the following Tuesday. The meeting at VCH lasted 1 hour 18 minutes with much discussion and was well moderated by HOA President of the 1’s, Jay Carmona. She asked the School Board as a body to carefully consider whether or not to give support to the pipeline plan at this time.
Mr. Whitten then found it necessary to respond to Sharon’s comments. He admitted that Tuesday’s Commission Meeting was well attended and a number of citizens had comments on the plan. He did, however, tell the School Board that overwhelmingly the comments were favorable to the pipeline and that out of all the people who spoke there were only 4 who expressed concerns or disfavor, and they were the “usual few” who continually are not satisfied with the decisions of the Commissioners. Apparently, Pat did not think it worth mentioning to the school board anything about the number of petitions turned in with signatures of County residents opposing the pipeline project as it is currently described.
Next SCSD Board of Trustees Meeting is scheduled for September 20th, 5PM at Hillside Elementary in Lockwood.