District to review, update emergency plansThe Cloquet School District is considering a top-to-bottom review of its emergency procedures — not because it’s necessarily concerned about its ability to respond, but because times are changing quickly. Superintendent Ken Scarbrough outlined a plan to review district
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The Cloquet School District is considering a top-to-bottom review of its emergency procedures — not because it’s necessarily concerned about its ability to respond, but because times are changing quickly.
Superintendent Ken Scarbrough outlined a plan to review district procedures at Monday night’s meeting of the Cloquet School Board.
“You can always do a better job,” Scarbrough said. “We, as a district, need to be prepared and we need to implement or improve policies in certain areas.”
Scarbrough referenced a recent “Comprehensive School Safety Guide” published by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The 135-page document outlined a number of areas to note in emergency planning, including bus accidents, fires, armed intrusion into buildings, severe injuries, hazardous materials incidents, calling off or delaying school operations and numerous other areas.
“Governments and school districts are working to beef up emergency plans,” Scarbrough said. “We need to review ours and we need to start planning.”
Board members Dan Danielson and Duane Buytaert agreed to form a subcommittee to begin the work.
“It’s a big task,” said Danielson, a detective with the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department, in reference to reviewing the document. “You could have a person on staff where this is all they do and maybe not do it justice.”
The subcommittee and Scarbrough will report back to the board later in the school year.
Scarbrough also noted the district has 121 new enrollees for the coming school year.
“We aren’t certain as yet how many we will lose to balance that out, but it’s a good number,” he said of the enrollment figures. “We average between 100 and 150 new students every year so this is a good figure.”
In other actions, the board voted to terminate the district’s contract with Lakes and Pines Head Start and the Li’l Lumberjacks Learning Center.
“The contract doesn’t align as mutually as it once did,” Cloquet Community Education Director Ruth Reeves told the board. “It’s not unusual to dissolve contracts under these circumstances and Lakes and Pines didn’t want to be part of a partnership if it was viewed as a hazard. We leave on good terms and perhaps someday we’ll re-enter into partnership with them.”
Declining enrollment in the program was also a reason for terminating the contract. The four affected families have been notified of the change and will be made aware of similar programs that provide the same services.
Scarbrough also made the board aware of plans to potentially change the district’s policy regarding cell phones for district employees.
The district currently offers three arrangements: a superintendent-authorized program which gives a $20 monthly stipend to employees who use their own phones for district business; a district-owned phone for use solely on district business at a cost varying between $15 and $25 per month; and a shared services plan where the district splits costs for certain cell services on privately owned phones used for district business at a cost of between $40 and $60 per month.
Scarbrough would like to eliminate the third plan.