The Harlan Community School Board of Education has approved an amendment to the 2013-2014 budget. In a regular board meeting Monday, the board made the motion after discussing the amendment at length at the public hearing held on Tuesday, May 27th. The amendment was in regards to PPEL funding and the Merrill Field Project. In other business, the school board approved milk bids with Anderson Dairy, bread bids with Bee Bo bakery, fuel bids with Agriland FS for $170,176.40 and a new Thomas Bus for $84,069. Primary School Principal Scott Frolich reported to the board, the school district submitted an elementary school wide title 1 application to the state for flexibility in using reading resources for all students in the elementary school district. Superintendent Justin Wagner said those dollars will help students who struggle in reading.
“It’s a federally funded program from the federal government. And basically it helps kids who struggle in reading. Well our reading rate at the elementary building has typically hovered around the 40 percent rate. Now that it has increased over 40 percent, we were able to put in our application to really use our Title 1 funds, resources and staff for all students instead of certain students.”
The application was approved by the school board. Mr. Frolich also mentioned the primary building has 55 students taking summer school, 35 in the intermediate and 16 more in the high school. In the discussion items, Wagner spoke about the blue zones initiative in the Harlan Community. The school district must meet the Wellmark Blue Zone criteria in order for Harlan to become a blue zone designated community.
Wagner spoke for quite sometime on the recommendations Wellmark handed out to the school district. The school district is focusing solely on the elementary building first before trying to install the new proposals in the other school buildings. Some of the recommendations included not using physical activity as a punishment, no unhealthy foods to be used for fundraisers and not using foods at class celebrations. The school needs to hit 54 points in order to pass for a blue zone designation. Wagner says some are controversial.
“Things like out at recess, if a student misbehaves you would send them to a timeout. They go stand by a wall and we do other things. In the blue zone initiative, they say that takes away physical activity during recess. It makes sense. I understand the physical side of it. The flip side, what do we do to students who aren’t following direction or bullying other students? There has to be some kind of consequence.”
Wagner said the school district is in negotiations with Wellmark and more details will follow at a later school board meeting.