The USD 383 school board approved a one-year change to the district’s transfer policy Wednesday, opening the prospect that some families being relocated to a new school might be able to transfer back to their old school instead.
The practical effect of Wednesday’s decision is to give families who are being moved the option of requesting a transfer back to their former school. There is, however, no guarantee that the request will be accepted.
That is a change from the administration’s previous recommendation that no student being redistricted – other than the 10 seventh grade students allowed to stay at their current schools – would be able to transfer next year.
Board member Pete Paukstelis, who dissented during previous discussions because reassigned fifth grade students couldn’t transfer, said he appreciated the administration taking another look at the policy. However, he said parents shouldn’t count on a transfer slot being available.
“They need to consider all of the ramifications like the fact that a transfer doesn’t happen until the very last second, the child may not get the transfer,” he said.
Board member Curt Herrman said there are some people who are certain their child will be back in the school. “I’ve heard from a couple parents the last three weeks that ‘oh, that person is going to work their magic and my daughter back in there again,’” he said.
Supt. Bob Shannon said the number of teachers per school is based on the number of resident students assigned to that school. He said there would likely be limited spots for redistricted students for certain grade levels.
First Management, Inc. has formally acknowledged fault for the Woodrow Wilson project and is offering a $10,000 deduction to their contract. Program manager Trisha Brooke-Fruendt of Universal Construction, the district’s program management firm, discussed the letter from the construction company during the board meeting.
FMI is putting the finishing touches on the project now, but the school board has continually expressed displeasure with the quality of the project since late June. At that time, the project was three weeks to a month behind schedule.
The school year at Woodrow Wilson began on a Friday rather than Wednesday due to the building not being ready. The school’s 52 sixth grade students started the year at Northview Elementary before moving back to Woodrow Wilson in October.
Mike Mize, of Universal Construction, became the project’s field manager in September to help get it back on track. FMI pays Mize’s salary.
Due to all of the troubles with the project, Paukstelis wondered whether this wouldn’t be the opportune situation to go into arbitration. He was concerned about having to take FMI’s bid based on state law if it became the low bidder on another project.
“They have to promise to never bid on one of our jobs again,” Paukstelis said about any resolution FMI makes with the district. “That’s certainly something they can agree to.”
Board member Leah Fliter acknowledged the hard work Brooke-Fruendt has done dealing with FMI. “I really appreciate you dropping the hammer,” she said.
District personnel updates
Shannon said the application process for the Woodrow Wilson principal job would close Thursday. Current principal Eric Koppes is leaving the district after the school year to become principal at Rock Creek Junior/Senior High.
Shannon said the plan is for the administration to present a candidate at the April 18 school board meeting.
Frank Clark, transportation discipline coordinator, has been named the interim director of transportation.
Ron Swearengin, the former transportation director, resigned March 23. He had been with USD 383 since June, when the district decided to split the transportation and maintenance director position after longtime employee John Maberry retired last year.
Associate Supt. Bob Seymour said the district hopes to have the transportation director position in place by July 1, if not sooner.