MSD Votes to Reduce Number of Board Members

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6ByTerry Rogers

On Monday, December 21, Milford School District Superintendent, Dr. Phyllis Kohel, explained that state regulations require all school boards to have at least five board members. Currently, Milford has eight members of school board and Dr. Kohel explained that having an even number of members sometimes presented challenges.

“We felt that it might be better to have an odd number of members on the school board,” Dr. Kohel explained. “In order to do that, we need to have a legislator introduce a bill that will allow us to change the number of board members we have. Senator Gary Simpson has agreed to sponsor the bill if the board votes to change the number of board members we have. What we are proposing is to lower the number from eight to seven members.”

Dr. Kohel explained that the term of Pat Emory, who is on the board as an At-Large member, would end at the end of 2016. Mr. Emory has announced that he would not be seeking re-election to the school board. Dr. Kohel explained that his seat would not be filled and would be eliminated from the board at the end of Mr. Emory’s term.

The board voted unanimously to allow Senate Bill 501, which would reduce the Milford School District Board of education from eight members to seven, to move forward under Senator Simpson’s sponsorship.

Dr. Kohel also announced that the Smarter Balance assessment for 11th graders would be eliminated and students would be required to take the SAT as a replacement. This was recommended by the Department of Education as students place greater importance on the SAT than they do other standardized testing that may not affect their promotion or improve their chances of getting into college. Students will begin taking the SAT as their 11th grade assessment test this year.

“In the very near future, this district is going to need a new school,” Dr. Kohel said. “Before we go out for referendum for a new school, we want to get public input into what they want done with the old Middle School building. We also want to hear from the public whether they feel a Middle School or a High school will need our growing enrollment needs.” Dr. Kohel said that the first public meeting regarding the fate of the old Middle School and the need for a new school will be held on February 10, 2016 in the Milford School District Board Room.

The board also heard from Dr. Glen Stevenson, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, that the district was looking into replacing cameras at Milford High school. Dr. Stevenson said that some of the cameras at the school were either inoperable or did not provide clear video after an incident. He said that the cost to replace all cameras at the school with those that were recently installed at Banneker was approximately $75,000.

“The cameras that are still operational at the High School, we can move to Morris or Ross,” Dr. Stevenson explained. “There are several places at those schools where cameras would be helpful. We can also use the removed cameras as backups should one of the newer ones go down.”

Barry Fry, Vice-President of the Milford School Board, asked Dr. Stevenson what it would cost to replace cameras not only at the high school, but at Ross and Morris as well, rather than move cameras that were already outdated to the elementary schools. Dr. Stevenson said that the cost at Banneker was around $50,000, so it would probably cost as much for Ross and Morris.

“Morris sits all by itself out there,” Mr. Fry said. “I think we need to get some good cameras in there as well.” The board requested that Dr. Stevenson get prices for replacing cameras at the high school, Morris and Ross.