The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By George Kulczyk
The Courier 

Glasgow School Board Meets

New/Re-Hires, Transportation Requests Approved

 


The Glasgow School Board met in regular session on June 12 in the district board room. All trustees and school administrators were present except Superintendent Bob Connors.

Three GHS athletes were recognized for their state track championships: Ellis McKean, Emily Kolstad and Brett Glaser. Head coach Tim Phillips summarized each of their accomplishments and they were congratulated by the board.

Personnel items were approved, including the hiring of Shelby Stormer as the middle school counselor. Resignations were approved for Kyle Bilger, para-professional at GHS, and both Maureen Leach and Leila Seyfert as speech and drama coaches.

Several coaches and assistant coaches were approved for hire/rehire including: Ryan Hartwell, Brian Burleson, Bobi Sugg, Brittne Casterline, Chelsea Headley and Bryan Krumwiede for softball; Joel Smith for golf; Tim Phillips, Wade Nelson, Kirk Capdeville, Kayla Larson, Patrick Menge, Levi Sugg, Craig Overby and Gary Wageman for high school track; Linda Hudyma, Andrew McKean, Kyle Bilger, Patrick Barnett and Jami Johnson for middle school track; and Kristina McGee for assistant speech and drama coach.

The trustees approved a number of items, including the 2020-2021 school calendar, the addition of an internal account and negotiation items.

Transportation director Keith Rux was present to advocate for and discuss two requests on the agenda, both of which were approved. First, Rux requested adding a transportation aide to the payroll and specifically requested a higher rate of pay for the potential position. The targeted bus route for the request was the bus 10 route. Rux noted that it is the largest and longest route on the schedule and “We have had some troubling issues on the bus,” adding that it causes safety concerns for both the driver and the students. Trustee Suzanne Billingsley asked about possible discipline options or the availability of alternative transportation for kids that repeatedly get in trouble. It was noted that options are limited when addressing behaviors, especially if the student has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or they have a 504 plan. Both are tools used to provide services and accommodations for children with disabilities.

After some discussion from the board, it was decided to add the transportation aide to be used primarily on the suggested route, but to also utilize the aide for other routes as needed. The starting wage for the position was not determined at the meeting, but was left up to the discretion of Connors.

The second item requested by Rux was two new buses for the fleet. He explained that they would both be brand new as it does not benefit the district to purchase used buses. A discussion regarding seat belts on the buses followed, with Chairperson Mona Amundson strongly advocating for seat belts on all buses. “I would not be here today if I had not been wearing a seat belt on the bus,” referring to a fatal accident between a Glasgow school bus and a private vehicle in September of 2018. Rux explained that they can install seatbelts on any bus for likely far less than if they are factory installed, and he recommended that seat belts be installed in the first five seats on each bus. Amundson questioned why he didn’t recommend seat belts in every seat. “If you are in your personal vehicle and you don’t have a seat belt on when you get pulled over, you get a ticket. What message are we sending when we have 50 kids on a bus that are not buckled up?” Amundson also added her concerns with the liability. “That bus accident was expensive,” she said. “I can see where an insurance company could go broke.”

Although Rux agreed with Amundson about the benefit and safety of requiring kids to wear seat belts and explained that every bus purchased would meet minimum requirements, he also added that it would be difficult to ensure that the kids actually wore the seatbelts. Amundson verified his statement when she indicated that the kids who were riding the bus with her when the accident happened initially had their seatbelts on, but had taken them off some time after leaving for their destination.

Following the discussion, the board approved the purchase of two new buses and requested that Rux put together a quote for the cost of installing seatbelts for them to review.

Each of the school principals gave their reports, with all three of them commending many of the staff for taking college credits and other courses over the summer. It was noted that the teachers are dedicated to the children of the district and that is demonstrated by the work they put in all summer. Additionally, GHS principal Brett Huntsman expressed his appreciation for business clerk Kelly Doornek. He noted that she is prompt and helpful when he has questions and her knowledge and experience in her job is apparent.

Huntsman also reported that the district has had zero applicants for the art teacher position. “To be honest,” he said, “it’s scary. Art is one of our electives, which are a graduation requirement. If we don’t have a teacher, we may have to look at alternative electives and we might have a lot of schedule changes.”

Activities director Brenner Flaten highlighted some end of the year events, including the All-Sports Banquet, which was attended by approximately 300 people. He also noted some concerns that came up at the State golf meet in Missoula. He explained that the boys and girls were required to use two different courses for the meet and there were some inequalities because of it. Specifically, Flaten said at one of the courses, snacks and drinks were provided, but none were offered at the other, dress code was enforced at one venue, but not the other, and conditions of the courses were different. “MHSA will likely not split up the boys and girls in the future,” he concluded. “It was a pretty big issue.”

Flaten also reviewed possible changes to the divisions in football and a proposal that would allow the flexibility to move state track and state softball competitions to an earlier day, depending on forecasted weather.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the board approved consent items, which include previous minutes, bills, student account reports and approval of travel leaves.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, and will be held in the district board room.

 

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