Aug 172011

By Naomi Hatch–

Starlena Begay was honored at the Snowflake School District Governing Board meeting for her work as Indian Education coordinator, specifically for the Snowflake High School Native American Banquet held in May honoring eighth grade students and graduating seniors.

“We were very impressed with how you highlight the kids and take care of the kids, and want to commend you for that,” said School Board President Shea Flake. “Some of you attended the meeting at the end of the school year and were very impressed with the staff and parent committee to make that happen.”

The board presented Begay with a certificate of appreciation.

Also acknowledged was Bob Flake, who recently resigned as activities tech at SHS.

“As Bob worked in the athletic department, he took care of equipment and manicured the football field, many things happened,” said Board Vice President Ashley Davis. “As opposing teams would walk onto the field they’d say, ‘This is my favorite field to play on,’” though he acknowledged that Flake was not the only one to work on the field.

“Another thing you get with Bob, is you get Bob 101. He’s always talking. He’s always teaching. He calls it pretty straight and a lot of kids have been greatly influenced because Bob sets them straight, then works with them,” said Davis. “I’m going to miss Bob. He’s been a fixture at the high school for the last seven years.”

The day of the board meeting was also the first day of the new school year.

“School has started. We had a very good day,” said Superintendent Hollis Merrell. “We had Beyond Textbooks training, and the presenters were very impressed with the staff and how we’re ready for the school year.”

Vice President Mark Ollerton made a presentation on the budget and tax rate report. He explained that some board members asked for budget information, which he had prepared. He thanked them for their interest, commenting that it had been several years since he’d had a request for more budget information.

“Budgets are always pretty at the beginning of the year,” said Ollerton. “Most say zero for encumbrances and zero for payables.”

The tax rate represents an overall $1.27 increase, which was better than had been forecast, Ollerton explained. The total tax rate for fiscal year 2010 was $4.7008, the fiscal year 2011 tax rate was $3.0839 and this fiscal year the tax rate is $4.3544.

Merrell requested a change of date for the September board meeting due to a conflict with the 2011 ASBA Law Conference that will be held Sept. 7-10 in Phoenix.

The board unanimously agreed the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

In other action Aug. 11, the board:

* Unanimously approved Snowflake Junior High School and Taylor Intermediate School fundraisers for the school year.

* Unanimously accepted a recommendation to eliminate the Communications Tech III position on the salary schedule and move the Communications Tech II position to the Tech III salary position; move the Communications Tech I position to the Tech II slot on the salary schedule; and place Jarret Rogers on step one as a Communications Tech II.

Merrell explained that this is due to the resignation of Jordy Fuentes as Communications Tech III. It was noted that the recommended changes will cost the district less than it spent previously.

* Unanimously approved a requirement that all teachers stay until 3:30 p.m. each day, explaining that SHS and SJHS teachers would leave as soon as they complete their duties for the day, as their students are not released until 3:30 p.m. For the last few years elementary school teachers were asked to stay one day until 4 p.m. to make up for leaving earlier the other four days. They now will leave each day at 3:30 p.m.

Members of the administration met with the principals, and the decision was made to change the schedule. This has been discussed with teachers.

“We want to make sure we are using the time that we have efficiently before we say we need extra time in early releases,” said Merrell.

Photo by Naomi Hatch

Snowflake School District Governing Board President Shea Flake presents Starlena Begay with a certificate of appreciation for her work with the district’s Indian Education program.