Superintendent Dan Zorn has clarified the district’s stance on possible student walkouts planned for Wednesday, emphasizing that the district is neutral on the matter.
Schools across the country have walkouts planned for March 14 that are meant to honor the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. And an R.A. Long High School senior has already told officials of her plans to hold such an event at 10 a.m. Wednesday in front of the school.
“This is a student-led-and-organized movement. It is not anything that is endorsed or approved in any way by the school district,” Zorn told the Longview School Board Monday night.
He also stressed that Wednesday will be “business as usual.” If students walk out, they will be disciplined unless the school gets parental notification, he said. Detention is the typical form of punishment for unexcused absences.
The school board also approved guidelines for the 2018–19 budget with an amendment specifying that the district will emphasize safety and security in its schools.
Board members discussed safety and security after two citizens, Gary Walker and Steve Moon, asked that the board consider adding them to the budget guidelines, which the district refers to as parameters and which serve as priorities.
Board member Jennifer Leach noted that security used to be outlined in the annual document. “I can live with it not being in the parameters as long as it doesn’t get lost,” she said.
Ultimately, the board unanimously accepted board member Don Wiitala’s motion to include language about providing for safety and security in schools.
The budget document lists seven other priorities: improving student achievement levels; maintaining a sound financial position; addressing collective bargaining agreements; meeting state class size guidelines; developing social/behavioral/dropout prevention support; meeting academic intervention needs; and meeting the staffing and program requirements for Core 24 Implementation at all high schools.
In other news:
- Board members also agreed to establish a 6 percent ending fund reserve, representing an increase of one percentage point from this year’s reserve.
- Longview City Councilman Steve Moon told the board that the city had been approached numerous times about a regional sports complex, and that he would start to lead the initiative. Moon said that he wanted to make the school board aware of it in the hopes that the district would partner with the city. “We have options. We have land. We have opportunity,” Moon said.
- The board approved a resolution that would change elementary school fall conference schedules. If the State Board of Education approves the district’s waiver request, conferences can be held during two-and-a-half days rather than over six half-days beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
- Citizen representatives Terri Clary and Lori Bashor-Sarancik were both appointed to the Facility Advisory Committee and will serve until June 2021.