Goessel school board responds to dress code

The Goessel school board met July 9 and discussed the school’s dress code. The administration had received complaints from constituents and from staff that students are showing “too much skin.”

The handbook previously stated, “Shorts may be worn to school but they are not to be worn too short or revealing.”

Scott Boden, junior/senior high school principal, explained that the handbook will be more specific; shorts will need to be at least finger-tip length.

“I know it does create some frustration,” he said.

However, he said he has received phone calls from parents who have said, “I can’t believe what I see.”

Superintendent John Fast added that, “Mr. Boden has had a strong message from staff,” who say that revealing clothing is a distraction for other students in the classroom.

Because of the amount of skin that some students show, Boden said it has become necessary to clarify the handbook statement: “Tank tops, tube tops, or other type shirts, which do not cover the upper body properly, are not acceptable. Also, shirts that are low or revealing, that allow undergarments to show, are not appropriate school apparel.”

The handbook will strengthen the definition of “appropriate” and will now specify that tank top shoulders have to be at least two inches wide and must entirely cover underwear straps. The handbook will also specify that no cleavage is allowed.

Since the school is air conditioned, heat is not an issue.

Board member Maynard Knepp agreed that the clothing issue needs to be addressed. Board member Eric Schrag added his approval of the new guidelines: “I affirm you.”

Board member Dan Miller acknowledged that clothing is an “age-old” challenge.

Fast commented, “We realize we’re fighting a cultural trend. We’ll never satisfy everyone.”

He said the focus needs to be on the classroom.

Some board members voiced frustration with the new guidelines, reporting complaints from their daughters and mentioning clothing that is available in stores. Other board members appreciated the new guidelines and said they had required their own children to change clothes numerous times.

The issue of boys wearing baggy shorts with underwear showing was mentioned. Boden said that is already addressed in the handbook.

Boden said the students were informed of the clothing guidelines at the end of school so they would have ample time to shop for appropriate clothes before school starts again. He said some schools require uniforms, adding, “I didn’t think we needed that.”

Some schools do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts at all but require T-shirts and jeans instead.

Knepp wondered about clothing requirements after ball games and other activities. Boden said the same clothing requirements apply to all school activities, also on school buses and in physical education classes.

Turning their attention to another matter, the board approved breakfast and lunch fees. The breakfast rate is $1.25 for students, 30 cents reduced. The lunch rate is $3.10 for adults and visitors, $2.05 for grade school students and $2.25 for junior high and high school students, 40 cents reduced rate. Extra milk costs 30 cents.

Fast said the school was required to raise lunch rates slightly because of state regulations.

“It’s not our choice,” he said, adding that the school is now required to charge an extra fee for lunch seconds.

“This is what the state is saying,” he said. “We’re trying to make it manageable.”

The board also approved the following fees: book rental, $35; art, $28; photography, $35; family and consumer science: $15; high school life textile and apparel, $5; high school nutrition/wellness: $10 per semester; calculator, $15; high school first aid, $5; high school chemistry goggles, $6; eighth grade life skills, $3 per nine weeks; kindergarten books and materials, $17; agricultural science, $20; plant/soil science, $20; agricultural mechanics, $20; agricultural construction, $20; high school physics, $20; high school physical education/health, $10; high school yearbook (optional), $40; elementary yearbook (optional), $13; physical education skating fee, $6; grades first through fifth book rental, $25; and fifth grade planner, $4.70.

In other business, the board:

• re-elected Dan Miller board president and James Wiens vice-president.

• re-appointed the following board members: Lynnette Duerksen and Maynard Knepp to “meet and confer,” Darla Meysing to The Learning Consortium, Kelly Booton to the Marion County Special Education Cooperative, James Wiens as the representative to the Kansas Association of School Boards and the legislative representative.

• designated Patsy Schmidt and Joni Smith as board clerk, with Denise Nickel as the alternate.

• designated Peggy Jay as the board treasurer.

• retained John Klenda as the school board attorney. His services were not needed last year.

• adopted the 1,116 hour school year.

• approved Morris Ewert as bus driver to replace Sarah Simington, who resigned.

• approved Ewert as part-time custodian at the elementary school. Fast said that Donna Spoonmore is a full-time custodian at the elementary school. Londell Duerksen is the head of the maintenance department and plans to take part-time retirement.

• heard that the carpet has been replaced in two elementary classrooms, and a new refrigerator has been installed in the kitchen.

• approved Tim Goertzen as van driver for special education. Fast said that Goertzen will also be qualified to drive for activities. He plans to continue his carpentry business.

• approved Zana Manche as assistant high school volleyball coach and assistant high school girls basketball coach.

• approved Gina Bergin for high school student council.

• approved Tonya Bartel as production choreography assistant for the high school musical.

• noted that the junior high assistant volleyball position is open, as is the forensics position.

• heard from Fast that 19 K-3 students are enrolled in summer school.

• heard enrollment projections from Fast. As of July 9, enrollment figures are as follows: kindergarten, 20; first grade, 20; second grade, 19; third grade, 30; fourth grade, 22; fifth grade, 21; sixth grade, 20; seventh grade, 20; eighth grade, 18; freshmen, 18; sophomores, 17; juniors, 14; seniors: 21.

• briefly discussed “common core” curriculum. Boden said it would place more emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. Fast and Boden had attended a common core academy, as well as Tyler Schroeder, Crysta Guhr, Ilona Abrahams, and Barb Goering.

• heard Fast commend staff who use web-based curriculum, which gives immediate updates and “reflects what is available in real-time.”

• listened to Miller’s comments about education: “We’re focused on college-bound students. What are the requirements for those new technologies?” He also mentioned a push for more technical education.

• approved a cell phone stipend for the two administrators since they use their personal cell phone “smart phones” for school business. The board noted that the $600 stipend will not cover the cost of the phones, even though it is estimated that 95 percent of the smart phone use is for school business, which includes e-mails and reports in addition to phone calls.

• approved the financial statements of $147,719.79.

• discussed the 2012-2013 budget. Business administrator Chet Roberts suggested, “We should lower the mill rate, since valuation went up.”

He said, “We’re a very poor district,” but property values have increased. Consequently, when people talk about higher taxes, “That’s the appraiser,” he said.

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