Highlights from 11/21/2013 school board meeting

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Here is an overview of what happened at the November 21, 2013 school board meeting:

  • The district recognized a half dozen veterans who had served in several different armed forces.  Boyd E. Smith Principal Doug Savage says they hold a breakfast each year in honor of veterans, focusing on service, unselfishness and what it means to be a true patriot.  “It’s a very important event for Boyd,” he said, “and without the veterans, the message wouldn’t be nearly as strong.”
  • The Builders’ Club is the Junior High version of Key Club; they do a number of service programs, including collecting items for our troops each year.  This year, they presented a roomful of boxes (over 170!) to Troop Box Ministries, filled with 7,580 items they had collected.  They also went door-to-door, asking for donations to cover the postage, and wrote over 1,000 cards/letters!  Diane Lawrence of Troop Box Ministries says Milford Schools has been supporting them for 13 years.  These boxes will last the organization over 6 months, allowing them to send items on a regular basis.
  • Max Hartley and Corbin Hooker of the Class of 2014 were recognized for achieving Commended status in this year’s National Merit Scholarship competition.  Max and Corbin were two of appr. 34,000 students who scored highly enough on the PSAT test to be named Commended Students.  Over 1.5 million students took the test last year, so this is a truly amazing accomplishment – congrats, Max & Corbin!
  • Debbie Marques, who chose not to run for re-election this year, will be leaving the Milford school board as of December 31, 2013.  Dr. Farrell and the board recognized her for eight years of service to the district.  Debbie lived through some extremely difficult times in the Milford school district, including seeing the district enter Fiscal Caution and then turn itself around to become fiscally stable.  Thank you, Debbie, for your eight years of service!
  • Treasurer Debbie Caudle reported the budget is currently on track.  She also thanked Dave Spurlock, one of our maintenance staff, who is always thinking about ways to save.  When some light burned out, Dave not only took the initiative to price different bulbs, but he also submitted for a rebate and got it!  The $375 rebate he earned us shows just how committed our people are to helping the district manage operations in a fiscally responsible manner.  Thank you, Dave!
  • Mrs. Caudle also thanked 3M for donating 200 projectors valued at $59,998.
  • The board had a first reading of two policies that we are considering changing to eliminate use of any type of nicotine or “cigarette-style” product by students.  This is a concern because of things like e-cigarettes and vapor pens.  E-cigarettes are usually used to help people quit smoking, but many students are starting to use them because they do contain nicotine.  Vapor pens use water vapor to provide flavor and sometimes nicotine.  The discussion at the meeting was that any type of cigarette-type or nicotine product is not acceptable for use at school or on school property.
  • Superintendent Dr. Farrell provided an update on Race to the Top.  We applied for this grant to help get our staff and curriculum ready for the changes coming in state law and in our curriculum.  We received $320,000 in federal money under the categories of improving standards & assessment; using data to improve instruction; and creating great teachers & leaders.  The money funded things we would have to do anyway – write new curriculum, train & develop our teachers, etc.
  • Jeff Johnson provided an update on the construction projects.  We had around 100 people attend the first Seipelt community input meeting, held on October 23.  Some of the concerns raised were zoning; what will happen with the property not chosen; daily operation during construction; traffic noise for neighbors; traffic density around the site; impact on future homebuyers; and location.  There were also a good number of people at the Boyd E. Smith community input meeting held October 29.  The issues there were different, focusing more on school size and design.  The next step is to hire the architect, which will be done in the next few weeks.  Out of 12 highly qualified companies, the state and district narrowed the choices to three.  One firm, SHP, really stood out.  They have worked on many projects in this area and are strong in the K-12 education arena.  They also have proven 21st century designs that do not sacrifice efficiencies in building or operating.  The board and state are also in the process of choosing a construction manager, which will also be complete in the upcoming few months.