A board vacancy now exists in Augusta's District 3, Seat 6.

These are challenging times for public education. The USD 402 Augusta Board of Education is seeking individuals who find satisfaction in confronting tough challenges and working with others to overcome them. A board vacancy now exists in Augusta's District 3, Seat 6.

Board member Andy Hall moved from District III and is now in District II, thus creating a vacancy until the next election in two years. A willing candidate can be appointed.

The need for seven board members was apparent at Monday's school board meeting. The vacancy, along with the absence of one of the members, proved difficult at times for the board to progress through business items.

For instance, the election of officers: Current BOE president Bob McCalla and member Bill Rinkenbaugh were both nominated for president. Two votes went for McCalla, and three for Rinkenbaugh. A count of four was needed for a selection.

Rinkenbaugh told the group that he has "plenty on his plate" but wasn't opposed to being president.

McCalla offered the same sentiments, "We've both served two terms and we're both dedicated to the Board of Education. Bill, if you have the time and want this, I can withdraw and we can vote again."

Rinkenbaugh was elected president 5-0.

The same scenario followed for the election of the vice president. Andy Hall was nominated but failed to receive four votes. McCalla nominated Jim Brown and he was elected 5-0.

Later there was discussion concerning filling the board vacancy. Superintendent John Black reminded the board that even if they decided to change the board to all At-Large positions, it can not happen until 2014-2015.

"I advise we seek applicants and that each of them have a few minutes with the Board of Education," Black said.

The applicants must live in District III and the boundaries of that district are shown on the map included with this article.

The board of education is a uniquely American institution. It keeps the country's public schools flexible and responsive to the needs of their local communities. A member of a board of education takes on one of the most important responsibilities that can be assigned to any citizen: helping to plan the education of the state's youth.

An effective school board plays an important watchdog role in keeping your local school on track, and setting policies that affect your child and your school. The school board sets the vision and goals for the school district, and holds the district accountable for results. One school board member cannot do the job alone. Effective school board members contribute their unique talents while collaborating and working as a team with other board members.

How to become a candidate?

Contact Superintendent John Black at 775-5484, jblack@usd402.com, or BOE clerk Connie Hummel at 775-5484, chummel@usd402.com.

In other business items at Monday night's meeting, the board approved 5-0 the proposal for the Augusta High School's journalism students to attend the 2014 Journalism National Scholastic Press Association National Convention in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 5-9, 2014.
Julie Barker, AHS journalism instructor, informed the board that the convention includes 400 practical and professional learning sessions from high-profile keynotes to specific, problem-solving breakouts, hands-on workshops and discussion groups. The students will be exposed to all media types - newspaper, online, broadcast, yearbook and magazine.
Barker also stated that Augusta students attended the convention in 2010 and 2012 and returned with new ideas, goals and enthusiasm for journalism.
The registration fees will be paid out of the yearbook and newspaper accounts, with the remaining balance of $800 per person, left to the responsibility of the students. Fundraisers will be held to assist the students in raising the funds.
Zero Policy staffing
An item that did not meet the approval of the board Monday night was the request for allocating funds for staffing of the Zero Policy at Augusta High School.
The policy was included as part of next year's handbook and approved by the board. In order to support the paid positions to facilitate the policy, board approval was needed.
AHS principal Donna Zerr estimated that the project will require 2 hours per week for 36 weeks. The amount paid would be agreed upon through negotiations.
Zero Policy:
• At the end of each week, either Thursday or Friday, teachers will notify any student with missing or late work with an assignment notification card.
• Students will have until Monday at 3 p.m. to complete and turn the assignment in to their teacher with the notification card.
For students who choose not to complete the assigned work, they will be assigned Academic Support at 7 a.m. on Tuesday or Wednesday. If the student doesn't show for the Academic Support then they will be assigned detention after school on Friday. If the student receives a third Academic Support, a mandatory parent meeting will be held.
Board member Bob McCalla voiced concern for the flexility for students absent due to illness.
Approval to staff the project failed 3-2 and the board requested the issue be taken back to the AHS administration for more in-depth discussion.
Superintendent Dr. John Black gave the monthly district construction update and advised the Construction Committee would for the last time on the 25th of this month.
"It's slow progress on the final projects that need to be done," he advised.
At Ewalt Elementary the sod on the south end of the playground has been laid.
The ceramic tile has been replaced at Robinson and Lincoln schools and a steam cleaning has been done in the kindergarten wing at Lincoln.
The dedication plaques have been installed at all of the buildings.
The signs for the rear of the building at Augusta Middle School and the sign at Lincoln are near completion.
The irrigation system at Garfield is expected to be finished by the start of school.
Exterior speakers have been added at the Middle School so announcements and alerts can be heard by students and faculty. The speakers can be turned off to avoid bothering neighboring homes.
Dr. Black reported that he had checked out concrete bunker-type storm shelters for the Service Center. The price is $2,800 and can be delivered and placed in a hole. The digging and preparation of the hole would be the district's responsibility. Dr. Black also advised that the board look at the same solution for the Central Kitchen.
Special meeting
The board will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 29, to approve publishing the Notice of Hearing for the 2013-14 Budget.