BONIFAY - Discussion turned to student cell phone use during the Aug. 5 meeting of the Holmes County District School Board after discussing the Code of Student Conduct, taking on a new point of view for technology usage in schools.
School board member Debbie Kolmetz inquired about the cell phones policy, stating it currently shows student cell phones should be turned off during classroom hours or in silent mode but doesn't go into detail as far as where phones must be placed during the duration of the day.
"The state requires to let them have it on; you can't keep it away from them," said Superintendent of Schools Eddie Dixon. "Teachers can still dictate whether they are turned off in the classroom or in use."
Dixon also explained the policies were set "when they were still just phones instead of little computers."
"Some teachers let (students) use (phones) to do research, looking up words or concepts," he said. "We're trying to use it as a foundation that they can be used as more than just phones."
Kolmetz suggested revisiting the policy to update it to more modern standards.
"We are adjusting policy so that when students are on break or at lunch they can use their devices," said Dixon. "We're just trying to get with the times. (If a teacher) doesn't want them out, then it is up to (the teacher), but in the hallways and after lunch, we'll just have to see how that goes."
Kolmetz also inquired if the new Spanish teacher would be receiving mileage going from one school to the next on different days, and Dixon replied that she would not. He explained the teacher would arrive at the assigned school of the day as though she was employed there, just as every teacher does.
Kolmetz also asked what students would be doing on days the teacher wasn't available, and Dixon replied students will utilize virtual training.
"I think it is unfair that one school has a full-time Spanish teacher while three have to split one," said Kolmetz.
In other action, the board:
· Approved Administration Programs for 2014-2015: PAEC Risk Management Agreement; Agreements with PAEC for VAM/Operating costs and Discovery Education for Assessment Services; Updated Code of Student Conduct; Updated Personnel Handbook; and contracted service bids for second year extension with Spectrum Counseling Services and Physical Therapy Bid.
· Approved Food Service/Transportation for 2014-2015: bread bid with Bimbo Bakeries; milk bid with Borden's; food and non-food bids; one year extension with Home Oil Company and Davis Oil Company for petroleum products; and to reject all local tire bids and except state price bids.
· Approved personnel recommendations, which include opening a position for an occupationaltherapist. After much discussion, it was revealed that the position would save the district $25,000 per year in Medicare reimbursements.
· Approved an agreement with Exceptional Consulting Services for IDEA Grant Services.