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   These are the stories we are working on for this week's newspaper:
  • Quick fix: A plumbing problem is forcing the Plumas Unified School District to move its headquarters to the former probation building.
  • Lesser charges: A former Chester Public Utility District general manager pleaded guilty to reduced charges last month in connection with unauthorized use of a district credit card at a Reno strip club.

New regulations for athletes, extracurricular activities presented

Laura Beaton
Staff Writer
11/19/2013
 
The big discussion at the Plumas Unified School District and County Office of Education board meeting Nov. 7 was about revisions in athletic and extra/co-curricular student policies.

The biggest change is that the policies governing student behavior are no longer just nonbinding agreements, but regulations.

Confusion in the past and a desire to establish a uniform code of conduct for all students — whether they are in the classroom, on the campus, at a contest or event, or on trips — led a committee to draft new regulations regarding student conduct.

Existing regulations requiring student athletes to maintain a minimum 2.0 grade-point average to be eligible to participate in sports, and allowing a maximum of one F in a grading period, will remain.

The committee recommends offering a one-time, one-quarter-only “get out of jail free card” for those who fail to meet grade requirements.

All students who participate in athletics or extra/co-curricular subjects such as band, culinary arts field trips, etc., and their parents, will have to read and sign the regulations before being allowed to participate.

Revisions in the state’s education code have necessitated revised board policies and regulations in areas such as student discipline.

For instance changes in student discipline and suspension regulations prompted administrators to create alternative consequences to suspension.

As an example, Superintendent Micheline Miglis said that K-5 students being suspended for willful defiance or disruption must have multiple instances documented before that action can be taken.

“We can no longer assume that students come to us ready to learn and with pro-social behavior,” Miglis said.

Taking a proactive approach to meeting new state ed codes, two schools in the district, Quincy High and the K-12 Greenville school, are piloting a program designed to improve student behavior and reduce the incidence of referrals and suspensions. The program is called Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS).

 

Charter/district partnership

The partnership between Greenville Junior-Senior High School and Indian Valley Academy, part of Plumas Charter School, is now in its second year, second quarter.

Aurora Westwood, principal of alternative education, presented a PowerPoint in collaboration with GHS Principal Gary Miller and IVA director Sue Weber.

The consensus was that the partnership is viable and valuable, and offers students many more choices than they would have in their individual schools — especially in the realm of electives.

The partners acknowledged the need for more communication and more buy-in and participation from both schools’ teachers. Weber said that without the teachers’ buy-in, and a shared vision among all staff, the program could not flourish.

She said last year they tried to fit a square peg in a round hole. This year she realized they had to create something new. And to do that, the teachers have to be an integral part of the process.

Currently there are 56 students at IVA and 102 at GHS. Of those, 55 students take crossover elective courses. Additionally, 13 IVA students are participating in GHS sports, and five GHS students are involved in drama.

A production of “Our Town” is set for Nov. 21 – 23. The partners reported a big benefit for both schools is increased social interaction and a broader base of support for school events, such as sports and drama.

 

Finances

Chief Business Officer Yvonne Bales presented a brief overview of PUSD’s 2012-13 cost of education.

She said Ed Code 41372 sets standards for minimum expenses related to classroom instruction. The state mandates that 55 percent of classroom expenditure actuals be spent on teacher and aide salaries.

However, PUSD spent just 50.8 percent last year. She said there are two ways to meet the 55 percent minimum: to increase salaries or reduce expenses.

By adding $1 million to teacher salaries, the percentage would increase only half a percent.

She said the district would have to cut spending by almost $800,000 to achieve the proper balance.

Bales’ recommendation was for the board to approve the county superintendent’s authorization of a waiver, which is what the district has done in the past.

Board director Bret Cook commented that the economies of scale just don’t exist in this district, and agreed that for now, the waiver was the solution.

The board approved the waiver request and agreed to add the item to its midyear board study.

 

Awards and recognition

Continuing her tradition, Superintendent Miglis presented an elementary school student and a high school student, selected by their teachers and principals for outstanding and meritorious behavior, with the Superintendent’s Award.

Miglis presented third-grader Cayden Taddei and 12th-grader Seth Easley with the prestigious award.

Elementary school secretary Gay Rubke was honored by her colleagues for 30 years of service and presented with flowers, a certificate and a bowl engraved with “Employee of the Decade.”

 

Other business

Ken Pierson, maintenance and operations supervisor, asked the board to approve a public construction cost accounting procedure resolution that would allow the district to award public projects using an alternative bid process for contracts up to $100,000.

The district has been adhering to a different code for contracts that exceed $15,000, but by adopting the Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act, the bid process will go much faster and be easier for the district, Pierson said.

The board approved the resolution.

The next board meeting is set for Dec. 12, a week later than previously scheduled. It will be held at the district office, 55 Church St. in Quincy, at 5 p.m.

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