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BCHS’s appeal of plan denied, will likely lose three teaching positions in fall

The appeal made by Boulder City High School’s organizational team to reopen the school plan of operation has been denied, and the elimination of three teachers in the art, math and science departments still stands.

Associate Superintendent Jeff Hybarger denied the appeal late in the day on March 22, citing reasons of timing and knowing the plan could be revisited before the start of the 2017-18 school year.

“As you may recognize, the work completed by a school organizational team and the school principal requires a level of respect and commitment to a specific process and timeline,” he said in his denial. “Therefore, I respectfully cannot agree at this time to recommended your school plan be reopened.”

The school organization team decided to submit an appeal at its meeting on March 15 after members said they did not feel prepared to decide between the art department and an administrative position.

“I felt we had made decisions without enough information, and that the whole process had been rushed,” said Chairman William Strachan about why he added filing the appeal to the March 15 agenda.

Despite the appeal’s denial, Hybarger said the team will have another chance to adapt the plan.

“Given that we are in a legislative session, it is possible your team may be able to review the plan in June before the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year,” he said in his denial. “I do know that the plan will be available for your school organizational team’s review in the fall. The fall plan will be based on the school’s actual enrollment numbers.”

Projected vs. actual enrollment

The school plan is a two-part project with a proposal in the spring and a final version in the fall after enrollment numbers are verified. It’s really a proposed plan based on student allocations, he said. “We have to do it by state law.”

Currently, the projected enrollment for Boulder City High School is 587. If that number changes once school has started, the budget will be adjusted accordingly. If enrollment grows to 590 or more, the eliminated positions will be reinstated, but art classes will not be offered in the fall.

BCHS Principal Amy Wagner did say it would be the first position brought back if the enrollment increased.

In addition to art, BCHS will eliminate a science teacher and a math teacher, which could affect the classes offered in the fall.

“As we are working with the master schedule now using student projections, it is unclear if any other classes will be affected,” she said.

There were also questions raised about how the team approved the plan.

At the March 15 meeting, team Vice Chairman Christopher Bires said that, according to the state Board of Education’s regulations, before the team can approve the plan, the school principal needs to present it to the public.

“The motion for approval was made and approved at the Feb. 1 meeting,” said member Jason Howard.

“But you can’t approve it then, because it was never presented to the public,” Bires responded. “Any approval was invalid because this plan was not followed. … No strategic budget or action was taken after the presentation on Feb. 22.”

Community members absent

Wagner said that the plan was due Feb. 1, and she had given the timeline of approval to Hybarger, who said it could be approved the same day as it was due.

According to minutes from its Feb. 1 meeting, Wagner presented the budget snapshot, and the team discussed it and made recommendations on the best way to proceed to benefit students. Members voted unanimously that the departments to lose a teacher would be math, science and art. Although it was a public meeting, minutes show there were no community members present for public comment.

Wagner presented the approved plan and its goals at the school organizational team’s Feb. 22 meeting.

Hybarger said that section of the school board’s regulations regarding approval is a nuanced part of the law, and he did not see anything violated by the school’s organizational team.

The organizational team advises the principal in terms of the school plan of operation, but it is ultimately approved by the associate superintendent, he added.

Both Wagner and Howard said they thought the plan was approved correctly.

“Based upon the discussion, motion and approval at the February meeting, the plan was approved correctly,” Wagner said.

“I believe the SOT followed the process (Clark County School District) and the State Board of Education’s adopted regulation R142-16 has outlined, which indicates the school organizational team’s role is to advise and provide assistance to Principal Amy Wagner as she develops the plan of operation that is then presented to the public,” Howard said. “After which it is submitted to the school associate superintendent for BCHS, who approves the plan of operation.”

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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