By Michael Bowman, Fremont County School District 1 Superintendent
(Lander) – A request from a group of parents whose children take Tae Kwon Do lessons generated discussion among the Fremont County School District #1 Board of Trustees last evening. School district policy states that for-profit companies or other entities are prohibited from using school district facilities, and the instructor of the Tae Kwon Do classes, John Kidwell, wanted to use a school gym for his classes but was prohibited from doing so because he operates the classes on a for-profit basis.
Mr. Kidwell had previously used school district facilities for the classes when he was working under the Lander Parks and Recreation Department; thus, he was allowed to use the facilities. Mr. Kidwell had left the Parks and Recreation Department because the Department’s insurance would no longer cover the classes since Tae Kwon Do is a contact sport. Trustees noted that the policy had been written to exclude for-profit groups from using school district facilities because the school district did not want to take potential business away from community businesses that offered similar services or could provide facilities on a fee-basis. Mr. Kidwell informed the Trustees that he had examined all possible facilities in the community, but none were able to accommodate his classes.
Several Trustees stated that they thought that school facilities should be opened to use of for-profit entities; however, they also expressed concern about finding some way to restrict use to certain rooms or facilities and perhaps only allowing certain types of activities. Board Chair, Brett Berg, said that as a business owner, he bought property for his business, constructed a building, and has to pay overhead and that we need to protect businesses in our community and not compete with them. Dr. Ryan Firth, parent of a Tae Kwon Do student, suggested to the Board that modifying the current policy to remove the restriction on renting to for-profit groups and leaving the language that says that the facilities are to be used for student-related activities which are educational, recreational, and/or cultural would resolve the issue. Some Trustees felt that we might wish to consider restricting the rooms and facilities that would be available to groups to rent.
The Board passed a motion that suspended the portion of the policy prohibiting rental of school district facilities to for-profit groups until November 19. The Trustees also directed the administration to provide a draft of a revised policy to them so that final adoption of change could occur at the November 19 Board meeting.
Other items from the Board meeting included:
- Bowman, provided a report to the Board regarding school enrollment. School district enrollment increased by seven students to 1706. Elementary school enrollment, K-5, has increased by six students; however, there are 12 fewer kindergarten students this year than last year. Lander Middle School enrollment is up 16 students, and Lander Valley High School enrollment is down six students. Enrollment has dropped by 85 students at LVHS since the 2008-09 school year. Pathfinder’s enrollment is down by nine students from last year at this time.
- Heard on first reading a policy change that will allow parents of students on activity trips to complete a form at the event and give to the sponsor so that the parent may transport the student home.
- Heard on first reading a policy that will require home-school students who wish to take a few classes in a District school to follow the same admittance requirements that all other District students must follow. This includes submission of the student’s immunization record and a copy of the birth certificate.
- Heard a follow-up report on implementation of the Activities Code of Conduct as it applies to the education component students violating the code must fulfill.
- Approved allowing nurses and school psychologists to receive credit on the salary schedule for work done in a clinical setting on a one-step for each two years of experience and for work done is a school setting on a one-step for each year of experience. This is how other clinical positions, such as counselors, speech/language pathologists, and social workers.
(File photo above)