The Pine River-Backus School Board revisited issues raised at its March meeting.
The Monday, April 16, meeting started with board chair Chris Cunningham's announcement that there may have been missteps at the March meeting, during which parent Marika Olivier addressed the council on parental concerns regarding athletic activities.
Olivier did not identify any coach or sport during the March meeting, but Cunningham said that to avoid violation of laws protecting employee rights and privacy, any further discussion would need to be even less specific to avoid violations.
Olivier agreed, then addressed the previous meeting and responses she received online. Olivier stressed that her main goal by presenting to the board was to ask for a survey, one which she stressed would celebrate the positive actions of coaches and not just identify faults. Olivier said the issues she presented were not supposed to represent the whole coaching staff, but only individual incidents.
In a phone call, Superintendent Dave Endicott said the school district does have a survey in place. Cunningham said the board reviewed Olivier's points and requests and is discussing the survey. Cunningham also recommended that Olivier and other parents follow the school guidelines and chain of command when submitting complaints.
Cunningham suggested this for two reasons. First, a complaint may be resolved more quickly and directly if it is addressed first to the coach in question, then to the supervisor and through proper channels. In this case the parent may never have to address the council at all.
Second, in the event that an issue is not resolved before reaching the school board level, there is record of the complaint with the coach, the supervisor and the administrators involved.
The board can use these records of contact to more easily verify and review an issue. Though Olivier said she was representing several parents, Cunningham said that in this instance there was no record of complaints matching those Olivier submitted, which makes it difficult to determine a claim's accuracy and severity. More simply, records provide evidence and in this case there are no records of the issues in question. Olivier said she understood.
In other business Monday, the Pine River-Backus School Board:
• Heard a presentation by elementary principal Rick Aulie on childhood screening, which uses student performance to place students with extra needs into appropriate remedial courses, or reintroduces them from remedial courses back into standard classrooms.
• Learned that proctors for both the ACT and ASVAB complimented PR-B students on their behavior during testing, especially when the electronic system administering the test had some issues.
• Announced the school district is looking for May 18 Tiger Service projects.
• Learned the school's solar project is still in play, only waiting on a few more pieces of paperwork to be complete. The final approval is expected in May with a mid to late summer installation.