Baileyville School Addresses Chronic Absenteeism

By Lynn Lawless

Following the Baileyville School Committee meeting on Thursday, January 24th, The Calais Advertiser had the opportunity to speak with Baileyville School Superintendent William Braun at the Baileyville school. Braun explained that, according to the federal government, Baileyville is not living up to its basic requirements in its absenteeism rate and its mathematics performance.

Regarding chronic absenteeism, Braun explained that the way absenteeism is recorded by the federal government and the way it is recorded in Baileyville are at odds. In Baileyville, if a child is not present at the time of roll call but arrives later they are considered tardy. By federal rules, they are considered absent. Chronic absenteeism is defined as absent 17 days or more. Braun is looking at ways to bring these two processes into agreement.

In mathematics, Baileyville is considered an economically disadvantaged community.  According to federal guidelines, Baileyville is 1.5 percent under the goal of having every child at a level three. With only forty children in the elementary school, just one child moving from a level two to a level three will bring the community into compliance.

To meet the goal, Braun has signed a $7,500 Memorandum of Understanding to give the school a grant for $7,500 to be used from now until June 30th for staff to use for professional development. This, in turn, leads to an opportunity for a grant for $30,000 for a three-year process of education on improving our resources and guidelines for meeting compliance. Grants, unlike loans, do not need to be repaid. Not only is this good for Baileyville, but as the program has room for fifty people if there are any seats left open, educators from surrounding communities may be invited to attend, thus helping those schools also improve.

During the school committee meeting, Braun stated that he has scheduled interviews with four contractors interested in redoing the elementary school roof.  The four businesses being considered are King Construction, E.W. Littlefield, Nickerson O’Day, and Builders ETC.  Braun has dealt with some of these businesses in the past and says that they were all positive experiences.  Interviews will be held, and construction will begin in the spring.

First readings were given of the “D” policies were given: Policy “DB” looks at bidding/purchasing requirements.  This policy is intended solely as an internal guide to purchasing by the school unit. Policy “DJH” deals with purchasing and contracting procurement staff code of conduct.  It details conflict of interest and disclosure of conflicts of interest.  Also defined are staff gifts and solicitations.  And finally, the outcome of violations of this policy. Policy “DKC” explains the procedures involved with expense authorization/reimbursement for school personnel and school system officials. Policy “DM” addresses cash left in school buildings and states that money can only be kept overnight in a locked depository and must be deposited within 24 hours.  It also describes what money will be insured in case of theft. Finally, policy “DN” deals with the disposal procedure of school properties.

There will be meetings in the future dealing with programs to meet the needs of the entire student body, staffing arrangements adequate for proposed programs, maintenance of the district’s equipment and facilities, and efficiency and economy.

As the sports season continues there is a need for volunteer coaches.  Deb O’Neill and Holly Adams were appointed by the committee as volunteer cheerleading coaches.

 

The hot topic from the audience was the discussion around students taking their own vehicles to and from external school activities.  One such issue has been students taking personal vehicles to St. Croix Regional Technical Center.  There seems to be some discrepancy between the students’ rights and the school’s liability.  A policy meeting has been scheduled for February 5th to discuss this issue and hopefully bring about a resolution.