Members of the Capital School Board of Education Wednesday night adopted a policy toward helping disabled students and held the first reading of a new bullying policy, which addresses intimidation through social media.
Early on, the board unanimously supported a policy that commits the district to identifying and providing appropriate and reasonable educational accommodations for disabled students. The policy is intended to make sure disabled students have a reasonable opportunity to take part in the same activities as other students. (The policy documentation may be found at www.boarddocs.com/de/csd/Board.nsf/files/96VNCM54BBD5/$file/Policy%20%23600-11%20Section%20504%20final.pdf.)
Board members also held the first of three readings of a proposed anti-bullying program, which includes prohibitions against cyber-bullying on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The proposed policy closely follows one set up by the state Department of Education, said Supervisor of Student Support Services Tonya Guinn.
In addition to providing definitions for bullying and cyber-bullying, the policy mandates each school have a bullying prevention program, and a coordinating committee and sets up rules for reporting violations. It also lists consequences for violating the policy, a feature current policy does not include.
Guinn said she wants input from district parents and board members before finalizing the new policy. In addition, she said the district should use the DOE's program as a template because the education department would help defend any actions resulting from enforcing the policy.
The complete text of the proposed policy is at www.boarddocs.com/de/csd/Board.nsf/files/96VQFM5E6817/$file/700-31%20Bullying%20Prevention%20Policy%20revised%20042413%20final.pdf.
District Business Manager Sean Sokolowski also provided board members with an update on the effect of the budget sequestration, saying he and affected administrators have been discussing how to deal with at least 10 percent in possible reductions in federal funding provided to the district.
Only federal programs, such as programs for free and reduced lunches, special education, vocational funding and money used to cut class size would be affected, he said. As of now, the actual amount of any reductions still is not known.
Sokolowski also briefed board members regarding the district's tuition tax, which is used to pay for Capital students needing to attend schools in other districts or those requiring special educational programs.
Currently, the rate is $0.43 times the assessed value of property in the district, which is approximately $1.23 billion. That rate yields approximately $5.1 million for fiscal 2013, Sokolowski said.
The business manager added that rate could be reduced for FY 2014 by as much as eight cents, but that it still is too early to tell if an adjustment could be made.