MCPS approves Saturday school for willing teachers, students

2011-12-14T06:00:00Z 2011-12-14T06:21:58Z MCPS approves Saturday school for willing teachers, studentsBy JAMIE KELLY of the Missoulian missoulian.com
December 14, 2011 6:00 am  • 

School on Saturday?

Yes, said the Missoula County Public Schools district board of trustees on Tuesday evening.

The trustees approved new language updating the district's policy on Saturday school to reflect a new state law allowing weekend learning.

Thing is, it's already been happening here.

The new law legalizes across the state, officially, what MCPS has already been doing. The district, in fact, was the impetus for the change in law, which clears all districts in Montana to keep their schools open on Saturday if the need arises.

There are caveats: The learning that goes on cannot count as official "instruction" days, that student attendance is voluntary, and that the hours that teachers put in do not go toward their contract-mandated minimums.

Mainly, it's for teachers who want to do projects with their students and to help students who are falling behind catch up on their studies.

Tuesday evening's MCPS meeting was otherwise mostly cleaning-up duty for staff, administrators and the board before the holiday break.

Karen Allen, one of three regional administrators for the district, updated the board on the district's dropout numbers.

There were 36 official dropouts last year at this time, compared to 37 currently, she said.

In a related update, the board also approved language allowing the district to identify students who are no longer enrolled within MCPS, and to contact their parents or guardians.

Twice a year, the district will compile reports of such students and attempt to contact the guardians, who have 30 days to object to the inclusion of their student or students in a report issued to the Montana Youth Challenge, a group that identifies at-risk youth for participating in a voluntary program of the Montana National Guard.

Trustees also approved new tuition and reimbursement rates for MCPS' adult and continuing education.

General classes move from $2.60 to $2.80 per hour; computer technology classes from $3.70 to $4.

Instructors will also get a raise. The district said the rate increases will not affect the MCPS budget.

As the meeting concluded, MCPS board chairwoman Toni Rehbein said the trustees would go into executive session to discuss the performance review of Superintendent Alex Apostle.

Executive session excludes the public or media from witnessing proceedings.

"The board feels Dr. Apostle's right to privacy supersedes the public's right to know," said Rehbein.

Reporter Jamie Kelly can be reached at 523-5254 or at jkelly@missoulian.com.

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