Cut Bank Middle School and High School will be getting tougher on students who vape. Principals Gail Hofstad and Tres Genger reviewed revisions to the 2020-21 CBMS and CBHS handbooks at the May 12 meeting of the Cut Bank Schools board of trustees.
CBMS Principal Hofstad said she recalled the district’s first vaping incident four years ago and since then student vaping has increased at an alarming rate. Hofstad said the current consequence of vaping on school grounds, and getting caught, results in noon school for the offenders. Students view the “four noon schools as a joke” said Hofstad.
Genger pointed out, “There is more vaping going on out there than we see…it’s important students don’t engage in that activity.”
Superintendent Wade Johnson said vaping in the district is at “epidemic levels” and it crosses all demographics and socio-economic levels. Both the football and boys basketball teams had athletes who missed post-season play due to vaping suspensions, reminded Johnson.
School district officials are aware of the “severe” health consequences it poses to students, said Johnson. “It is out of control and we need to get control of this problem.”
Students in both the CBMS and CBHS will be subject to one day of out-of-school suspension (OSS) for the first offense rather than noon school if caught vaping during the 2020-21 school year. A subsequent offense will result in three days OSS.
“We’re hoping to send a message and deter them from vaping,” said Hofstad.
Newly elected board member Suzy Michael expressed concern over the lack of supervision of students receiving OSS. “It’s great to get tough,” she said, but I worry about supervision.”
Johnson responded, “We need to protect the other kids.”
Board member Darcy Hibbs added, “this puts the burden on the parents.”
The board unanimously approved the revisions to the CBMS handbook and approved the CBHS handbook by a vote of 4-1, with Michael casting the dissenting vote.
Copies of the student handbooks will be posted on the school district website.
The board approved a contract with Tremco Roofing for the high school gym roofing project. The project will be completed this summer at a cost of $336,276.08.
In other news from the May 12 meeting, the board:
•Thanked outgoing trustee Dean Berkram for his 13 1/2 years service on the board. Berkram was appointed to fill an unexpired term after stepping down after 12 years of service. Michael and incumbent Doug Ray were “officially” seated during the reorganization of the board. Committee assignments were made and Linsey Milender was appointed as the District Clerk. Milender was hired earlier this year to fill the position of Business Manager following the retirement of Scott Laird, who also served as District Clerk.
•Approved the resignations of high school English teacher Dawes Elwood, high school history teacher Jake Jarrett, speech and drama coach Hailey Stone and elementary school aide Kayla Erikson. Johnson informed the board the district is currently hiring for the following certified positions: high school history and English, elementary counselor and one colony teacher.
•Approved renewing contracts of certified and classified staff members, all district principals and advisors and spring sports coaches.
•Approved renewing the district’s contracts with Glacier, Hidden Lake, Horizon and Zenith Colony schools.
•Renewed annual subscriptions with Montana Rural Education Association and Montana Cooperative Services. Supt. Johnson pointed out the district saves funds through these services, especially with the food services buying program and will also see cost-savings with the upcoming roofing projects. Dues for the 2020-21 school year are $3,255.
•Approved annual dues for the Montana School Board Association ($6,812), the Golden Triangle Curriculum Consortium ($10,945) and the Montana High School Association ($5,389). Cut Bank High School will add girls wrestling this year, bringing the number of activities the district offers under MHSA to 19.
•Approved renewing the 2015 financial agreement with Glacier County for another five years. Under the agreement School District No. 15 manages its own funds. The agreement is effective July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2025.