Parents now included in student code
Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors approved the first reading of revisions in the policy for good conduct rules in extracurricular activities at its April 8 meeting.
The school board’s Policy Committee, district administrators and Jefferson County Substance Abuse Coalition discussed the regulations and shared input, superintendent Art Sathoff said.
The revision adds a seventh instance to the six instances of violations in the Participation/Eligibility (Code No. 503.4, page 2) Good Conduct Rule. A student may lose eligibility under the Extracurricular Activities Policy for specific violations and:
• Fairfield High School administration may determine that there has been a violation of its good conduct policy whether or not criminal charges have been filed, whether a student’s trial is pending, or whether or not the student is found guilty by a court of law as long as there is reasonable evidence to support the finding of a good conduct policy violation.
The time frames of ineligibility have been revised to include student and parent/guardian completion of treatment programs as appropriate to offense.
During his/her high school career, a student who, after a hearing, is found to be in violation of the policy will be deemed ineligible for extracurricular contests/performances for a period of time as described:
• First offense — one-fourth of contest/performance dates, and if available and appropriate, then the student and parent/guardian/head of household will be required to complete a school approved treatment program.
• Second offense — one-half of contest/performance dates, plus a treatment program as prescribed in the first offense.
• Third offense — one calendar year of ineligibility. A student who has a third violation of the Good Conduct Policy may elect to complete a more extensive school approved treatment program at the student’s/parent/guardian/head of household’s expense. If the student completes treatment and agrees to waive confidentiality (allowing information to be available to school officials); the student’s discipline for the third violation may be reduced by up to 50 percent.
• Fourth offense — no longer able to participate in high school activities.
The policy keeps the stipulation that the above consequences are a minimum and coaches/sponsors may impose a stronger form of discipline depending on the situation.
School board member Rich Metcalf was uncomfortable with the parental requirements to complete treatment programs.
“Many are not going to participate and then we’re punishing the student,” for parental decisions, he said.
At the third offense, the treatment option is at the financial expense to the parents, said Sathoff.
“The district pays for treatment programs at the first and second offense,” said Sathoff. “If a treatment program is successfully completed, the student can return to activities. If not, the student misses activities for one year.”
Other language added to the revised policy includes:
• Multiple offenses cannot be served concurrently.
• A student ineligible for contests/performances will attend and participate in all practices or rehearsals at the direction of the coach/sponsor. The part about ineligible students not suiting up or participating has been removed.
• Students with an academic or good conduct violation will not be allowed to join an extracurricular activity in progress unless the coach/sponsor of the activity provides written permission for them to do so. If the coach/sponsor provides written permission for student to join, then the student will begin serving their ineligibility period in this activity.
• A student with an academic or good conduct violation ineligibility period in an extracurricular activity must complete the entire season in order for the ineligibility period to count as served. It the student does not remain out for the entire season after serving an ineligibility period then the same ineligibility period will carry over to the next extracurricular activity in which the student participates.
A section about hosting or supplying alcohol or other substances illegal for minors to consume has been removed from the policy.
Sathoff said currently, there are two freshmen, four sophomores, 11 juniors and 21 seniors ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities.
“Thanks to Jeff Courtright, activities director, for finding all the options,” said school board President Jennifer Anderson, who also serves on the board’s Policy Committee. “He did a lot of work on this.”
Minor changes also were made in other board policies, including preschool staff medical physical exam requirements and Family and Medical Leave of Absence; Sathoff said the district replaced the FMLA form it used to the newer federal form.
In other business April 8, the board:
• Accepted the resignation of Renee Gaumer, school nurse, effective at the end of this school year. She worked at the middle school for 2.5 years.
“Renee has done a good job for us, and brought lots of energy and expertise,” said Sathoff.
• Approved the independent audit report of the district for the period ending June 30, 2012, as compiled and filed by Nolte, Cornman & Johnson, P.C. of Newton.
The audit said the district revenue totaled $22,446,642 for fiscal year 2012, a 1.4 percent increase from the prior year.
Revenue included $8.9 million in property taxes; $348,000 in income surtax; $1.5 million in statewide sales service and use tax; charges for service of $1.3 million; operating grants, contributions and restricted interest of $2.1 million; capital grants, contributions and restricted interest of $50,612; unrestricted state grants of $8 million; nonspecific program federal grants of $5,281; unrestricted interest of $9,827; and other general revenues of $193,004.
Expenses for district operations totaled $19,474,932 in that period, a 2.22 percent increase from the prior year.
Expenses included $6.6 million in regular instruction; $2.8 million in special education; and $2.04 million in other instruction.
A copy of the audit report is available for review in the district’s Administration/Curriculum/Technology Center; the Office of the Auditor of the State; and on the state auditor’s website at http://auditor.iowa.gov/reports/index.html.
District business manager Kim Sheets said the auditor’s comments to the district required a few minor changes, such as using three-part receipt books in schools’ offices, allowing for an additional copy of the receipt to be attached to paperwork for a better audit trail.
“Also in response to one of the comments, we’ve already set up the student scholarship fund as well,” said Sheets.
Another audit comment lead to changing how the district collects student debt in meal accounts or other expenses.
The district will use a collection agency to assist in collecting debts, as reported in a Ledger story published April 18.