The May 9, 2016, Luther School Board Agenda was posted today. It’s a long agenda, including for the first time in many months, a few items to honor students, staff and faculty along with presentations from the principals.
Notably NOT on the agenda is the re-consideration (for the fourth time) of a Four-Day School Week despite a petition drive that amassed about 200 signatures of parents and others asking for it. Luther mom Katrina Wilson began the petition and told The Luther Register she had support from two board members to pursue the effort, Steve Broudy and Sherri Anderson. (It takes two board members, or the superintendent and the Board Chairman to add an agenda item). At April’s Special Board meeting, the four-day option failed to get a hearing when the board approved a plan to shorten the school year and have longer school days.
After Wilson collected and counted her signatures at various businesses around town including the Luther Insurance Agency and S&H Mercantile (and at various ball fields during games), she was confident the effort would get the board’s ear. She was wrong. Wilson learned today that the item would not be on the agenda after all. Wilson said she feels defeated.
In a message, Board Vice President Sherri Anderson wrote to Wilson that it would not be on the agenda due to lack of votes to pass. “It is not the right timing,” she said. It is unclear how Anderson knew the voting mind of her fellow board members. The four-day measure failed in December 2015 by a 2-2 vote before Broudy was elected.
Regarding the shortened year, Anderson wrote to Wilson, “at least we are trying something. I appreciate your time that you have spent … I know there are some that will be upset and decide that Luther is not for them and that would be their choice. Hard times are ahead of us, to stay divided will only make going through the fire harder than it has to be.”
Indeed, the four-day has been on the agenda before but never with a plea from one parent, or 200 parents and others who signed the petition simply asking for the consideration to be heard in a public forum.
Instead, the Board will consider the 2016-2017 calendar that has the academic year beginning September 6, 2016. At April’s special board meeting, the board bypassed discussion of the four-day week in favor of a plan to shorten the school year in efforts to save the district money. In a separate item, the board agreed to cut nearly $800,000 from the overall budgets. Incidentally, without board approval, the district has closed school each Friday in April as a cost-saving measure for this academic year.
- Proposed dates for the 2016-2017 school year (not all off days are listed here just major breaks):
- First day for students Sept. 6
- Fall Break Oct. 20-21
- Thanksgiving Break Nov 21 – 25
- Christmas Break Dec 19 – Jan 3
- Spring Break Mar 13 – 17
- End of the year May 9, 2017
- School hours would be 8 am – 3:40 pm
In other agenda items, the Board will consider shutting down the current Superintendent’s/PreK stand-alone building. And the board will be asked to accept some resignations, some retirements and some firings.
The following resignations will be considered:
- Josh Edenborough, softball (and basketball) coach and math teacher
- Mary Beth Wilson, Title One teacher, elementary school
- Shawn Meek, football coach and social studies teacher (interim high school principal this semester)
- Holly Priddy – teacher’s aide
- Natalie Fesler – special needs teacher
The following will retire:
- Nancy Norman, middle school language arts
- Joel Norman, middle school science
The following teachers will not be renewed for 2016-2017. The board must also conduct due process hearings with each employee.
- Brenda Prescott, Pre-K
- Kimberly McGlasson – Third Grade
- Jennifer Greene – Fourth Grade
- Mark Dunn – Commercial Arts
- Lisa Mansell – Art
- Dana Broyles – Math/Alternative Education
Earlier in the meeting, Superintendent Sheldon Buxton will name a District Teacher of the Year, as well as Teacher of the Year for building sites and Support Staff of the Year.