Board gets through pre-school meeting
without negative input
By Lloyd Call
MANTI—South Sanpete School District’s board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 12 was much different than North Sanpete’s meeting.
There was no audience in attendance; there was no discussion on school opening protocols including wearing masks; and there was no negative input to their tax increase public hearing.
After the state finally designated the state’s base rate, the district set it’s certified tax rate to qualify for the maximum state guarantee related to the .001600 Voted Local Levy that has migrated down to .001374. The guarantee of .001600 is held harmless for five years and the year following must be changed or the guarantee amount will apply to the Lower Certified Tax Rate. That occurred this year, so the rate was increased.
The district then updated its other rates, so that the overall tax rate would not exceed what the overall tax rate was last year, 0.009642. The intent is that the only way taxpayers would pay more taxes is if the assessed valuation of their property increased.
The board discussed their district plans for re-opening school beginning Thursday, Aug. 20, focusing on (1) establishing relationships with students and (2) assessing any deficits that have occurred since the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person schooling March of this year.
School board member Grant Hansen said, “We want to focus on the safety of our students, faculty and community, and be flexible in adjusting to our school conditions under the COVID threat.”
Assistant Superintendent Trevor Powell talked about changes in testing this year. “We will support testing as mandated by the State Board of Education, but the testing will be less comprehensive than last year because of the gap caused by COVID.”
The board also extensively reviewed protocols relating to school opening and COVID.
The board is suspending the attendance incentive for teachers who don’t miss any classes. Up to this point, teachers who didn’t miss any classes shared a bonus pool. “This year, we don’t want teachers coming to school if they are sick. We’ll find another way to support teachers who have consistent attendance,” said District Superintendent Ralph Squire.
Parents have the option of having their students attend school through online options, but the board still believes the most effective teaching comes with face-to-face teaching in the schools. Likewise, protocols will be implemented to protect students, faculty, parents and visitors from the COVID virus, through masks, social distancing, handwashing and other safety measures.
It was also noted that there is a shortage of paraprofessionals and substitutes at the start of school, probably linked to COVID fears. “Many of our substitutes are in the high at-risk category themselves, so are more reluctant to teach this year,” one board member noted.
Summer school projects included a Manti High plumbing remodel/repair; cafeteria remodel at Gunnison Valley High; roofing projects for Gunnison; a Manti High portable classroom relocation and remodeling; a school mow strip at Gunnison Valley Middle School; new wood chips for playgrounds and “social distance” spots on play areas at Gunnison, Manti and Ephraim Elementary schools.
One problem which doesn’t yet have a nice clean solution yet is how to deal with parents, family and other fans who attend athletic events. Especially at football games, social distancing may just not happen. Announcements will be made for fans to wear masks and sit in family groups. Other options being considered are online ticket sales, and spaced seating at games.
“We are just going to have to see how this comes out at these first games,” said one board member. “We also don’t want to have people close together buying tickets, or crowding at concession stands.”