South Sanpete School District
may have to help pay for
winter sports officals
By Lloyd Call
The South Sanpete School District discussed newly implemented COVID restrictions that may require the district to help pay for referees for winter sports.
Basketball, for example, depends on revenues to pay officials; if the crowds are limited, there will be no funds to pay for the officials, and the district will probably be asked to help fund officiating.
At a meeting Wednesday, the board considered having two officials, but it was decided that state law requires three officials.
Board president Mark Olson said, “It’s getting really hard to get enough substitutes. Some substitutes are being asked to cover for teachers for a week of teaching.” He said board members should consider helping any way they can, including volunteering themselves to help out from time to time.
Superintendent Ralph Squire reported that Innovation Week had lots of participation through the district. Winners got gift certificates from supporting businesses as prizes. “This program kind of grows every year,” said Squire. “We modeled this on corporate companies who use innovation programs to spark new ideas.”
The board noted that Utah’s average composite ACT scores were the highest among the 15 states that test all students. Sanpete’s high schools were also slightly above the state average. The board also discussed that benchmark tests are being affected by COVID restrictions, such as concerns with students coming together, but that “we are all just coping the best we can,” said Squire.
As the board discussed going to college, it was noted that all students would be wise to fill out FAFSA applications. Squire said, “There comes a time when a student goes off of his parent’s income, and stands on his/her own. Having a FAFSA filled out could really help with higher education expenses, even if parents make enough money that students don’t qualify right now.”
Powell also said that FAFSA opens up lots of opportunities for scholarships, working while attending college and other benefits. Unfortunately, students who don’t fill out FAFSA may not plan to go to college now, but they may shortchange themselves if they change their minds later. The high schools have FAFSA nights to help students and parents with the form.
Trevor Powell, assistant district superintendent, reviewed how counselors are coping with student mental health under COVID. “I think it’s amazing what they all do,” Powell said. “They all have programs that they do a good job with, despite being stretched thin.”
Yasmin Heywood, District Social and Emotional Specialist, CMHC, submitted a report to the board on the district’s social and emotional health goals and activities. Heywood reported, “As a district mental health specialist, it can be easy to spend the majority of time putting out fires. However, prevention and heightening understanding and awareness of social, emotional learning and mental health strategies is the primary objective.”
“Although the counselors and healthcare professionals are doing a great job, there still are not enough resources to meet all the district’s needs,” Arlene Anderson, district programs director told the board.
The board also reviewed definitions and requirement regarding the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act. Board members learned what qualifies as a public meeting, how information is recorded, how the public is notified of meetings, the difference between scheduled and emergency meetings and electronic meeting requirements. The board also discussed under what circumstances a board can legally call a closed meeting.
The district sent a letter to Ephraim City, thanking them for using some of their CARES grant money for school safety. The letter says, “Because of Ephraim City’s thoughtfulness and kindness, the Ephraim schools will be able to get cleaning companion machines to clean restrooms and other areas, bottle filler water fountains, disposable masks, auto-flush valves and hand sanitizer stations.”
Gunnison Valley High School notified the district that as a result of COVID restrictions, the school’s music department’s spring tour, scheduled for March 2020 was postponed, and the school held a parent meeting for all those who still want to have a music tour. The music department is looking at options around March of 2021, but didn’t want to move forward without approval from the school, district and school board. The board approved the March 2021 date.
Finally, it was noted that the district qualified for several e-cigarette tax prevention grants. Manti Elementary School got $37,623, Kyle Parry and the district got $30,000, and Colleen Ogden and Gunnison Valley schools got $15,000, a total of $82,623 for the district.