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Five USD 410 board positions up for election

Staff writer

USD 410 Board of Education will have five positions — positions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 — up for election April 5.

Positions 1 and 2 represent all of the school district outside the city limits of Hillsboro. Those positions are currently held by Deb Geis and Dale Klassen.

Position 3 represents the portion of Hillsboro bounded by 2nd Street on the north and Washington Street on the west. Mark Rooker currently holds that position, but because of realignment of board member districts, he cannot be re-elected to that seat.

Position 4 represents the rest of the city of Hillsboro and is currently held by Joe Sechrist. The winner will have only a two-year term because Sechrist was appointed to the position when the April 2009 election had no candidates. After the two-year term, the seat will return to the normal four-year rotation.

Position 7 is an at-large position, currently held by Rod Koons.

The filing deadline is noon Jan. 25. Candidates must file in the Marion County Clerk’s office in the county courthouse.

Dress-code change

Hillsboro High School Student Council President Jake Wiebe urged the board to revise the high school’s dress code to allow students to wear shorts year-round. The current dress code only allows shorts May 1 to Sept. 1.

To prevent problems with inappropriate attire, he suggested including five requirements for what qualifies as appropriate shorts:

  • Hem must extend 2 inches below fingertip length when arms are resting straight at the student’s side.
  • The waistband must be worn above the student’s buttocks.
  • Shorts must have hemmed waistband and legs.
  • Gym shorts will not be allowed.
  • No holes or frays in the fabric of the shorts.

In Wiebe’s proposal, if the entire student body has 12 violations of those rules in a single year, the dress code would revert to its current standards.

HHS Principal Max Heinrichs said the current standards were adopted in 1998 or 1999, when the school had a problem with too-short shorts. In the intervening years, the popular style has returned to longer shorts, he said.

“I would feel comfortable as a building leader with this,” Heinrichs said.

He said he thought the rules Wiebe proposed would still result in well-dressed students. HHS has more issues with cell phone policy violations than dress code violations, he added.

Superintendent Steve Noble urged the board to wait until its Feb. 14 meeting to make a decision.

Café proposed at media center

Media specialists want to convert part of the Wiebe Media Center to a café with hot cocoa and coffee, media specialist Sandy Arnold said.

The idea is part of efforts to develop more of a bookstore model for the media center. Already, media specialists have started displaying more books by their covers rather than their spines, Arnold said.

A “Santa’s Coffeehouse” set up before Christmas attracted a lot of students to the media center, which is the first step to getting students to read. School libraries with cafés have seen circulation increase up to 20 percent, Arnold said.

Wiebe Media Center staff would probably operate the café in the beginning. Another idea for operation was having student volunteers, with profits being set aside for scholarships. Students have time before school, during lunch, and after school that they could take advantage of the café, she said.

Heinrichs said his goal was to not ask the school board for any additional funds for the project. Arnold has applied for a grant for it.

In other business:

  • Bruce Major was hired as the instrumental music teacher and resigned as a HHS math teacher.
  • The board approved a policy prohibiting drivers from talking on cell phones while transporting students. The policy was proposed at the December meeting.
  • The Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies at Tabor College will use a school bus for a local heritage tour May 7. They will pay the district’s normal rate for mileage and a driver.
  • Noble, Heinrichs, Hillsboro Middle School Principal Greg Brown, and Hillsboro Elementary School Principal Evan Yoder met with the board in closed session for 55 minutes to discuss personnel matters.
  • The board approved contracts for Noble, Parents as Teachers language interpreter Juana Pritchard, and music accompanist Sean Boller.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is 7 p.m. Feb. 14.

Last modified Jan. 12, 2011

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