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7:10 PM Wed, Dec. 12th

HUSD works to define its students' rights

PRESCOTT VALLEY – Following federal statutes mandates to strengthen pupil rights policies, the Humboldt Unified School District Governing Board held its first reading and discussion of the school's Protection of Pupil Rights amendment advisory at its regular meeting last night.

"These are all new laws," Dr. Schmitt said, adding that many mirror what is already HUSD policy.

The model notification of rights under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment covers six main areas: family life education, instructional resources and materials, parental involvement in education, public's right to know/freedom of information, use of students in public information program, and relations with education research agencies.

One of the new policy areas covers implementation of school procedures for parent involvement in areas of homework, attendance and discipline; devising a method where parents may learn about courses of study and review materials; and setting procedure where parents who object to any learning material or activity on the basis it is harmful, may withdraw their children from the activity.

"Upon reading through these policies, I was really struck by how much they protect parents' rights and encourage parent participation in their child's education," board member LaDawn Dalton said.

In other business, the board unanimously approved the district's annual financial report for fiscal year 2002-03, presented by Finance Director Kirk Waddle.

"As you can see, the district carried forward a 1.06 percent balance in maintenance and operation and a 21.13 percent balance in soft capital," Waddle said. "This was a much improved picture over the prior fiscal year."

During the superintendent's remarks, Dr. Schmitt announced current enrollment of 5,274.25 students in the district.

"I am pleased that we have not had a downward spike in enrollment," he told board members.

The board also approved unanimously outsourcing services to Charlotte D. Borcher, Windsor Management Group, not to exceed $15,000.

"Ms. Borcher brings to the district proven professional expertise as she guided the Scotts-dale District through turbulent financial conditions to a healthy financial condition," Dr. Schmitt wrote in his summary and recommendation to the board.

According to Dr. Schmitt, Borcher's main focus will be on district finances, non-compliance issues, human resource transition/organization structure, and collaborative facilitation of the meet and confer process.

"This outsourcing makes great business sense," said Board Member Gary Marks. "We're spending $15,000 in outsourcing, instead of the $95,000 salary that would be the equivalent of what she will be doing."

The next Humboldt Unified School District Governing Board regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Bradshaw Mountain Middle School Library. For information, call the district office at 759-5007.