Soroco considers redistricting |

Soroco considers redistricting

Change could add several at-large board members

— The South Routt School Board is made up of seven members who represent seven voting districts, but that could soon change.

On Thursday, board members discussed redistricting the school system, a step that could result in five representative board members and two at-large members.

“The reason for that is simply to make it more possible for qualified people to join the board,” School Board President Tim Corrigan said.

The topic arose primarily because of AlidaLee Ging-erich’s resignation from the School Board two months ago. Gingerich moved out of District 1 and had to resign.

“She was a really good board member and really liked being on the board,” Corrigan said. “When she moved out of the district, she had to step down. There are other individuals who have expressed interest (in being on the School Board), but in a small community, there is a real reticence to challenge an existing board member.”

New District 1 member Janette Manke was sworn in during Thursday’s meeting. Efforts to reach Manke were unsuccessful.

“We had a good meeting (Thursday) night,” Corrigan said. “She fit right in.”

The School Board instructed Superintendent Kelly Reed to look into the redistricting process and determine the cost and proper procedures to follow.

“It’s more of a long-term goal, but it will continue to be a discussion item,” Corrigan said. “It’s been something that we as a board have been talking about during the last six months. We think this is a good idea to encourage individuals to join our board.”

The School Board also discussed a code of ethics for School Board members, a facility contract proposal and extended service awards.

The School Board has a code of ethics for its members, but the policy doesn’t include language that precludes board members from making negative comments about the superintendent or staff members.

Thursday’s discussion was prompted by an incident with the Steamboat Springs School Board in May, when a letter authored by board member John DeVincentis was read during the meeting.

The letter publicly criticized Steamboat Springs Super-intendent Donna Howell. It is against Steamboat Springs School Board policy to publicly criticize administrators or teachers, and DeVincentis eventually issued an apology.

“I felt after recent events in Steamboat that maybe we should have similar language,” South Routt School Board President Tim Corrigan said, adding there have been no such problems in Soroco.

Corrigan also said the thought the School Board, which has several relatively new members, needed to discuss when and how it will address and discuss topics with one another and community members.

“It was great to talk about those things, especially during a summer meeting,” Corrigan said.

The School Board also rec-eived a facility agreement proposal from Superintendent Kelly Reed. The proposal will be an action item at the Aug. 17 meeting.

The new proposal calls for district administration to manage use of school facilities. A fee of $100 per event will be charged for use of facilities by non-school groups. Currently, the district only receives donations from groups that use its facilities.

Another item on which the School Board plans to take action Aug. 17 is extended service awards. These awards essentially are retirement bonuses for employees with at least 25 years of service in the district.

“Currently, given our financial situation, we are reviewing that policy with the intent to phase it out over a period of time,” Corrigan said. “It will be an action item on next month’s meeting.

To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail

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