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Palestine schools return to ‘05 drug testing

September 8, 2012
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

EAST PALESTINE - A policy change approved by the school district board of education will allow Superintendent George Fisk to choose from a larger pool of students to be drug tested.

The district has been enforcing a drug policy adopted in 2011 in which the superintendent, or someone designated by the superintendent, would randomly select students for drug testing based on a master list of active current extracurricular rosters alone.

The board approved this week going back to the drug policy that was put into effect in 2005. Under that policy, the superintendent can randomly select students for testing based on the extracurricular master list for the entire year. Fisk explained the policy means that someone involved in football could still be chosen for drug testing in the spring. He also said the list can be added to throughout the year as students join extracurricular activities.

Extracurricular students are featured on the list by identification numbers and not by name, and the list is not made available to anyone but the superintendent, according to the policy.

Under the 2005 policy the superintendent also has the ability to conduct a focused drug test in which a particular group of athletes is chosen. The 2011 policy did not allow for this option.

Once selected, the students must report immediately for testing, which is conducted by taking a hair or urine sample. Test results are kept in confidential files separate from the student's other records and released to school personnel on a "need to know" basis.

Enforcing the 2005 policy also removes the saliva test, which was included in the 2011 policy. Fisk said the district was not using the saliva test in the first place, however.

He said restoring the 2005 policy was requested by the athletic department.

In other business, the board also approved an agreement with the Crestview Local School District in which that district's transportation director will provide support, training and mentoring to the transportation director recently hired at East Palestine.

Fisk said the agreement came about after he and Crestview Superintendent John Dilling were discussing the option of sharing resources. He said they had initially discussed sharing a transportation director, but found that it would be too difficult for one to work for both districts.

The agreement is for this school year alone and will cost the district $6,000. In order for it to take effect, it must also be approved by the Crestview Board of Education, Fisk said.

Also approved:

- The resignation of Dawna Pickett, special education teacher at the high school, effective Aug. 29. Fisk said Pickett has accepted a job in Colorado.

- A two-year administrative contract for Barry Weigle as transportation/maintenance supervisor. Board Member Sue Weigle abstained from the vote due to being related.

- One year limited contracts for Breanne Todd, elementary special education teacher, Kristy Reidy, middle school teacher, and Megan Key, high school special education teacher.

- One year supplemental contracts for Jim Wilson, athletic director, and Cindy Dunn, assistant athletic director.

- An additional supplemental contract for Ann Marie Velchek, sophomore class advisor.

- Eight people as certified substitute teachers and one person as certified substitute nurse. Five people as classified substitute custodians and one person as classified substitute aide.

- Four open enrollment students for the 2012-13 school year. One student is from the Crestview district and the others are from Beaver Local.

- Renewing participation in the Virtual Learning Academy for the 2012-13 school year. The academy is sponsored through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and provides online course work for credit deficiency and educational options. Fisk said the East Palestine School District will pay the $150 subscription fee plus the cost of use.

- Paying $450 in annual dues and membership in the county Family and Children First Council.

- Sarah Velik, from Austria, as Rotary Exchange student and Megan Key and Abigail Urmson as 2012-13 Pep Club advisors.

At the close of the meeting Fisk announced that Joann Knight has decided to step down as chairperson of the annual Dog Days Committee.

"Mrs. Knight has served the community in this role since the committee's board approval in 2003. During Mrs. Knight's tenure the number of participants grew from 200 in 2003 to 500 in 2012. On behalf of the East Palestine schools I thank her for her years of dedication to the community," he said.

The next board meeting was set for 6 p.m. Oct. 1 in the elementary school media center.



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