CRYSTAL FALLS—The definition of “perfect attendance” in the school handbook was tweaked slightly by the Forest Park School Board during its July 22 regular meeting.
The change, which affects which students are exempt from taking final exams, takes effect this fall.
Forest Park students are exempt from taking the final exam in a class if they meet three criteria: perfect attendance all semester (no absences, no tardies); a B or better (3.0) average in that class; and a B or better cumulative grade point average overall.
The change? The words “all day” have been added to the perfect attendance rule. That means if a student leaves school for an hour or so for a doctor’s appointment or whatever reason, they will no longer be considered to have perfect attendance.
As before, the only exceptions are if a student has been absent because of a school activity or the funeral of an immediate family member, including grandparents.
Board Member Bill St. John, chairman of the board’s policy committee, explained the change during the meeting. “You wouldn’t believe the hours we put on this,” he added. “I’m not joking.”
• With installation of a new phone system nearly finished, Technology Committee Chair Kim Scarlassara reported that starting this fall, the school system will only be using two phone numbers: 875-3131 for the elementary, middle school and high school offices and 875-6761 for the business office.
The 875-6869 number will no longer be used.
• Board Member Lisa Bloomburg told the board that Forest Park has been approved for an extra six cents per lunch for submitting a meal plan that meets state and federal nutritional criteria.
She also reported that the audit has been completed, and the district is waiting for the results, expected in September.
Business office personnel were congratulated for their work on the school district’s budget. Superintendent Becky Waters said Diane Rostagno, who did the audit, was impressed by how quickly they were able to answer any questions she had. “They’re not sitting there like deer in headlights.”
“Because of you people,” Board President Jim Nocerini said, “we’re keeping these doors open.”
• Nocerini updated board members on the work on the gym bleachers and the new science room. Work on the latter project had been delayed to get a state inspection, but that was expected last week.
Nocerini thanked Mike Hebert of Hebert Construction, “who’s really taken a personal interest in this school,” for his help.
• Bloomburg said the district will be sharing a Spanish teacher with North Dickinson this fall and is still looking for a speech therapist.
She also reported that meetings with the district’s non-teaching union will begin on Aug. 2. Meetings with the teachers union will start in the second week of August.
• The board voted to advertise for a new school forester to replace John Force, who is retiring. At its August regular meeting, the board plans to present Force with a certificate of thanks for his many years of service to Forest Park.
• Marty Ness, whose wife operates a state-licensed group home day care facility, asked the board about the district possibly renting space to a private party who also operates a day care.
Waters said the district has been talking with the private party for six to nine months. “They are trying to get licensed,” she said, “but as you know, a lot goes into this.”
Ness said he is concerned about the district possibly using public resources to subsidize a private operation that competes with other businesses. Ness said he had other questions for the board, and Waters invited him to the board’s August work session.
In reply to a question from Laura Ness, Waters said there are 34 students expected in first grade this year, split into two sections.
On other matters, the board:
--Decided not to offer Michigan Works office space in the school building, mainly because of security issues—the building’s doors would have to be open to the public after a major effort to improve school security.
Starting this fall, all doors to the school building will be locked during the day. Visitors to Forest Park will have to enter via the elementary entrance, which will have a camera and intercom. They must speak with office staff before they are “buzzed in.”
--Learned that the school bus fleet has passed its annual State Police inspection with no comments. It also heard that bus routes are being finalized. Mileage and time on the bus should be less this year, Waters said, because “We dropped some significant outliers” through graduation.
--Approved a Schools of Choice resolution for all grades except seventh grade: The district is estimating 30 seventh graders this fall, and any increase may require a second section, thus increasing expenses.
--Approved the new school calendar, which matches the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District so FP students can attend the voc center in Kingsford.
First day for students is Tuesday, Sept. 3. The annual PTO open house and orientation night will be Wednesday, Aug. 28.
--Approved the milk bid from Jilbert’s Dairy: 25.5 cents per pint of 1 percent. Breakfast will continue to be free.
--Approved the gas bid from Krist Oil Co., the only bidder. The district gets a seven-cent discount on the pump price per gallon and is exempt from taxes.