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January 19, 2012

School Board to Discuss Proposed Social Networking Policy With Staff Members

The Scotland County R-I Board of Education met in regular session on Thursday, January 12, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. President Gary Miller called the meeting to order with six members present. Matt McKee was absent.

One of the main items on the agenda was consideration of a new district policy for social media usage.

The board reviewed policy GBH as proposed by the Missouri School Board Association.

"This policy was amended by MSBA to address the new social media laws and includes recommendations regarding staff communications with students," stated Superintendent Dave Shalley.

Recently passed Missouri Senate Bill 1 mandates that all schools adopt a policy defining employee-student communications prior to March 1, 2012. According to the MSBA, such policy must include, but not be limited to, the use of electronic media and other mechanisms to prevent improper communications between staff members and students.

Senate Bill 1 amended the Senate Bill 54, previously passed in 2011, which had prohibited teachers from connecting with students on social networks such as Facebook.

The board reviewed and discussed concerns. Prior to adoption of this policy, we will meet with staff to review it. In order to meet the March 1st deadline, the policy should be adopted at our February meeting.

According to the MSBA, it's recommended policy, entitled GBH, currently addresses appropriate communications between staff members and students, and has recently been updated to specifically address the use of electronic media such as text messaging, e-mail and social networking. In addition, the new policy addresses teacher concerns by stating that the district does not intend to prevent teachers from having appropriate relationships with students outside of work through neighborhood, church, and civic associations, nor is the policy intended to prevent contact between teachers and students they are related to.

All MSBA member districts have received copies of this sample policy.

"It is a long policy, but it is thorough and was written to protect both students and the school district," stated a press release from MSBA. "The Missouri State Teacher's Association (MSTA) has distributed a different policy for districts to consider. MSBA is concerned that the policy does not meet the requirements of the law and that portions of this policy pose serious legal problems for school districts."

In other business, the board received a district financial update from the superintendent.

"We are now halfway through the fiscal year," Shalley noted of the report." Revenues are $57,837 behind last year as of this date and expenditures are over $46,131."

The report indicated the year-to-date deficit for the district is $552,733.

"This is normal and will correct itself upon receipt of the local tax revenue," Shalley stated.

The superintendent noted that the overall state revenue is a projected shortfall of $400 million, of which led him to believe the district likely will see a decrease in budgeted money provided by the State.

"We will have to wait and see how the legislature proposes to deal with the shortfalls," Shalley said.

MEETINGS

Due to scheduling conflicts, the board agreed to reschedule the February and March board of education meetings.

The February board meeting was rescheduled for February 6th at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library and the March meeting is set for March 13th, at 6:30 p.m.

BOARD RECOGNIZATION

The week of January 22-28 is School Board Recognition Week. Board members were presented a certificate and heard a proclamation sent by the governor. All members were thanked for their service and support of the school district.

CONSENT AGENDA

The board voted 6-0 to approve the following items on the consent agenda: December Minutes; Procedural Evaluations for Health Services - prepared by Nurse Patty Eggleston, District Assessment - prepared by Julie Wickert; MSBA Policy Maintenance Agreement; and the Updated Sub List

EXECUTIVE SESSION

The board entered into executive session and approved the minutes from the December 12th board meeting (6-0).

The evaluation of High School Principal Ryan Bergeson was reviewed and approved by a 6-0 vote.

The board voted 6-0 to go into open session for the purpose of adjournment.


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