Minor change could have a big impact on R-5 activities policies

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adding two words to the Nevada R-5 School Districts activities policies may have a big impact on students who participate in interscholastic activities.

During Wednesday's monthly R-5 Board of Education meeting the board voted 7-0, at the recommendation of R-5 Superintendent David Stephens to add the words "up to" to the penalty for the first time students are found guilty of attending a party where alcohol is being consumed illegally by minors.

This change will give building administrators the flexibility to deal with a case, where a student is called to pick up a friend at a party where drugs or alcohol is being consumed, and that student did not really attend the party, Stephens said.

"It will be up to the building administrator to make the decision, but they usually end up on my desk," Stephens said.

Under the old policy, that student, if caught, was automatically subject to being suspended for 20 percent of the games or activities of the interscholastic activity that student was participating in.

"I followed the policy, but I did not like it," Dr. David Stephens, Nevada R-5 superintendent, said.

Last fall, a large number of athletes who attended a party where alcohol was being consumed were suspended as required by the policy. However, there were several cases where a student who picked up a friend at the party also were suspended for 20 percent of their season.

This policy change would have allowed those students to be subjected to lesser penalty.

Stephens said that this change will allow the district to treat all students equitably, but not the same.

The board also voted unanimously, at Nevada High School Principal Tom Moore's recommendation to change the district's "D/F" academic policy for eligibility in interscholastic activities to give teachers more flexibility in scheduling their lesson.

The previous policy required that all work completed by students by 3 p.m. Thursday, be graded and entered in the computer by Friday, to determine a student's academic eligibility for the next week.

Cindy Bullard, a Nevada High School math teacher, said that with 120 students, she either had to stay up late at night to meet the deadline, or schedule tests and assignments to fit the requirement.

"Some projects couldn't be done and fit into the schedule," Bullard told the board.

Jenny Allard, a high school science teacher, told the board that she found similar problems.

"I personally found that I either had to lose instruction days, or restructure tests so they were easier to grade," Allard said.

Restructuring the tests meant using true-false, multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions, which are not the same type of questions used on the MAP tests, she said.

In other business the board:

* Voted unanimously to renew the school district's commitment to continue with the A+ Schools program.

* Voted unanimously to renew the annual lease for the Cedar Ridge facility at a cost of $17,199.93 for the period of Aug. 1, 2009 to July 31, 2010.

During a special meeting before their regular meeting the Nevada R-5 Board held their annual property tax rate hearing and set the new tax rate at the ceiling of $3.7517 per $100 assessed valuation, which is an increase from $3 per $100 assessed valuation that was set in 2008.

Stephens told the increased tax levy was due to a drop in the districts overall assessed valuation.

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