By Naomi Hatch
Snowflake School District Governing Board member Shea Flake was approved last week to serve as the district/community coordinator.
Flake had expressed an interest in helping to bring parents and the community together with teachers and the school for the benefit of the students, and asked for his fellow board members’ blessing at the Nov. 8 meeting.
Superintendent Hollis Merrell reported that Flake had participated in a panel discussion that day that did not include school administrators or teachers, and he had done a good job.
Snowflake Junior High School Principal Kim Lewis attended the panel discussion and said that the discussion was so good, he would have liked to have stayed longer.
Following a motion to approve the appointment, board member John Stewart expressed concern in appointing a board member to a position such as this, because if there were a heated discussion, something he said could come back on the district.
“I’ve been desirous to do some things with the district to help garner community support and parental support,” said Merrell noting that when Flake discussed this with him, they had some of the same ideas. Merrell urged the board to authorize Flake to serve as coordinator, which would give him authority to visit with different organizations in the community.
Flake explained that every year his kids come home and invite him and his wife to participate in class-room activities. “Every year the same parents participate,” he said. Flake explained that he would like to go to the community, to religious leaders, business leaders, clubs and organizations, to “tell them we’d like them to invite those they have stewardship over to participate in their children’s education.”
Merrell said he felt that parental involvement would improve for planned events, helping to move through the difficult times of budget cuts, tax rate increases and declining assessed values.
“Most people have no idea what schools are faced with right now and they don’t know the many good things that are done,” said the superintendent.
“I’d like to work in conjunction with some of the ideas Mr. Flake has.”
Flake said he wasn’t going to talk about technical things such as Beyond Textbooks or about the budget, noting that would be done through the district.
“My idea is to further instruct them so they can become more informed,” he said.
“We can provide the details,” said Merrell.
“I would approach them in a one on one setting and ask them to come,” said Flake.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Snowflake High School Principal Larry Titus. “We’ve been talking among administrators to find how we can reach out to people….There are times we would love to have meetings with our parents to talk common core, to talk drugs and alcohol. A lot of times parents don’t have a clue what’s going on.”
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Board President Ashley Davis. “Any one of us at any time can speak out of turn.”
“I know, but someone appointed–it gives them a little more authority,” said Stewart.
“It certainly doesn’t change anything a board member can or cannot do,” said Merrell.
“First off, I’m glad Shea is willing to do this,” said Vice President Cory Johnson, noting that several people had come to him to ask questions about Beyond Textbooks and he wasn’t sure where to direct them. He thought it would be good to have someone like Flake speak with them.
The motion passed unanimously, with Davis stating, “He can report back; obviously we’ll keep in touch on those things we’re doing.”
In other action Nov. 8, the board:
* Approved a change in its December meeting schedule.
The board will meet on Thursday, Dec. 6, so board members can attend the Arizona School Boards Association Conference.
* Unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement between the district and the Department of Economic Security for the Youth Transition Program (YTP), which helps youth transition into the workforce.
* Unanimously approved the recommended request for proposals (RFP) process for audit services.
Business Manager Mark Ollerton explained that this is the final year of a contract with Heinfeld and Meech to perform the annual financial audits for the school, so they need to go through a procurement process to enter into a contract for an audit vendor. Ollerton recommended an RFP for the following reasons: he would like to evaluate the qualified vendors on different criteria; price will not be the sole determining factor; and experience in schools is vital and needs to be considered.
* Unanimously approved a request to issue an RFP for E-rating funding for the year 2013-14, as requested by network administrator Kent Drugge.
The RFP will be for basic telephone service, long distance services, cellular phone services, Internet access and web host. Evaluation of the bids will be determined 35 percent by lowest price; 30 percent by meeting all specifications of RFP; 30 percent prior experience with the district; and five percent backup informa-tion/documentation quality.
* Unanimously approved the School Facilities Board Preventive Maintenance Program, which is required by law.
Merrell said, “We received zero dollars in this program,” adding that at one time the district was receiving half a million dollars.
Stewart said he did not like the fact that with cuts, the board still has to do these types of reports.
Ollerton pointed out that they have applied for grants and this information will be helpful in obtaining them.
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By Naomi Hatch