East Grand Schools: No more tank tops | SkyHiNews.com

East Grand Schools: No more tank tops

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

Among student-handbook updates for the 2009-2010 school year at East Grand Schools, definitions of acceptable attire have been expanded.

Students of K through 12th grades are restricted from wearing tank tops in recent revisions.

The sleeve-wearing mandate applies to all three elementary schools as well as the high school.

For the sole uniform-wearing school, students at the middle school must wear uniform shirts underneath school-issue hoodies and sweatshirts, according to that school’s proposed handbook addition.

The school has been experiencing a loophole in the uniform code with students removing sweatshirts to expose non-uniform layers beneath, according to East Grand Middle School Principal Jeff Verosky.

Other handbook changes, which principals divulged at Tuesday’s East Grand School Board meeting, include a change to the Middle School’s athletics eligibility, an added line to that school’s bullying section, and slight changes in student-fee schedules. For the high school, future handbooks may reflect school-dance protocol, mainly “removing folks from dances if they don’t observe public displays of affection guidelines,” according to high school Principal Jane Harmon.

Possible changes to the high school’s open-campus policy are yet to be reflected in the handbook. Harmon said a task force made up of high-school staff members plans to visit Palisade High School to learn how Middle Park might implement a policy similar to that school’s.

A current proposal designed for Middle Park suggests campus confinement for all freshman and sophomores but allows junior and senior students to earn off-campus lunch privileges.

Budget breakthrough

A painstaking $43,000 shortfall in balancing the 09-10 East Grand School District draft budget has been resolved.

The East Grand School District now has its budget balanced ” but barely.

Superintendent Nancy Karas informed the school board on Tuesday that last week the district office learned of $30,000 in education stimulus money funneled to the district in the form of English Language Learning, special education and Title 1 funding.

That coupled with more “fine-tuning” allowed the budget to rest at zero.

“There’s not a lot of breathing room,” Karas said.

The draft budget reflects $4,601 in the black at the end of the 2010 fiscal year.

Even so, “I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to get into the black,” Karas said. “I’m so proud of the work everyone in the district has done.”

The draft budget is scheduled for adoption on June 2.

In it, several cuts in various schools were made, including a number of faculty and coaching positions.

Eliminated soccer positions may result in a 20-athletes to one-coach ratio.

Self-proclaimed “soccer mom” and school board member Gale Delphia commented on how the sport of soccer may have gained the worst ratio in all of the school’s sports.

“Soccer is not a game that is as part of the American landscape as other sports,” she said. “Kids that come in are really raw. I think the skills they have to learn are being under-estimated.”

Athletic Director Marlo Klassen said in analyzing coaching needs by terms of sports safety, “soccer was over-inflated the most by the nature of the sport.”

Track and field as well as football were rated among the most safety-intensive sports and therefore needed tighter students-to-teacher ratios, he and Karas said.

“We understand the level of skill (soccer) takes,” said Karas, a former coach herself, adding that a “good coach” who is efficient in running drills and organizing practices should be able to manage 20 athletes.

“Not all, but most coaches agree we were a little top heavy in our staffs,” Klassen said. “We felt it better to cut down on coaching staff rather than cut programs.”

The discussion on the reduced coaching staff segued into a discussion about “dollar coaches” used in other school districts, a volunteer coaching loophole that somehow bypasses Colorado High School Activities Association rules forbidding coaching volunteers. East Grand Schools has not subscribed to paying coaches a dollar salary in return for coaching assistance.

“We do have a policy that coaches can bring in clinicians,” Klassen said. “Up to ten times, they can come in and work with the kids.”

Budget boost

School Board President Tom Sifers, after changing into a citizen hat on behalf of Mountain Parks Electric, presented the school district with a Mountain Parks patronage refund check for $7,125. The refund reflected 2 percent membership shares from 1988 to 2007. East Grand School District rates among Mountain Parks Electric’s top-ten electricity users, Sifers said.

The school is currently exploring ways to conserve utility usage to save money.

Referring to the patronage refund, “That (budget) deficit is getting better all the time,” Karas said.