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SCC changes direction with music affiliation

The sounds of St. Croix Central music will be heard in new places next year.

The St. Croix Central School Board voted to switch to the St. Croix Valley Music Education Association from the Dunn-St. Croix conference on Monday night.

The St. Croix Valley conference includes New Richmond, River Falls, Hudson, Baldwin-Woodville and others.

Music teachers cited separate dates for middle school and high school solo ensemble contests, guest conductors each year for both bands and choirs, similar enrollment numbers and less driving as a few of the reasons for the switch.

District Administrator David Bradley said he supports the change.

"It's good for kids and provides better opportunities for kids," he said.

He added that SCC music teachers would get more support from other area teachers. Some of the schools in the D-SC conference only have one music teacher for grades k-12, while SCC has four teachers for middle and high school music classes.

Kirk Lyksett agreed, "They (teachers) don't have actual peers in the group now. In the new group they will."

Board member John Hueg also voiced his support for the switch, and said he expects faster improvement of the music programs by being around a higher caliber of talent.

Board President Howard Kruschke questioned the amount of consideration put into the proposal, since there were 11 benefits to one con.

"I'm all in favor of changing but I need to understand it," he explained.

Board member Jeff Redmon pushed for approval of the proposal that night.

"I don't know why you'd want to step on the enthusiasm (of the teachers)," he said. "I don't want to give the music teachers the impression that we're not enthusiastic about their enthusiasm."

After a motion by Hueg and a second by Board member Kay Zwald, the Board voted unanimously to accept the change to the St. Croix Valley Music Education Association, contingent upon researching costs.

The change will not take effect until the 2009-10 school year.

In other news

• No early dismissals will be added to the current school year for teacher professional development, as there aren't enough contract hours available. Bradley had pushed for more in-service days to continue to improve instruction quality in the District. The Board encouraged Bradley to keep trying to work more staff development into this school year. Bradley said they are looking at options for staff development during the 2009-10 school year as well.

• The Board approved cooperative agreements for girls and boys hockey with the Baldwin-Woodville and Glenwood City.

• The free and reduced hot lunch policy was approved for updating. The original policy was adopted in 1987 and last updated in 1994. The policy now has a procedure for dealing with negative balances.

Before approving, the Board discussed alternative ways to notify parents of low lunch account balances. Suggestions include stamps on students' hands, letters mailed to the home, e-mails through Edline or even text messaging. Bradley said he would look into the possibilities.

• A new truancy policy was put into effect. High School principal Glenn Webb said the Hammond Municipal Court supports the new policy.

Three tardies will now count as a full day absence.

After five days missed, the school will send a warning letter. A meeting will be scheduled at eight missed days to develop a plan for the student to avoid truancy.

When a student misses 10 days, a meeting between the student, parents/guardians, school principal and Chief of Police will be scheduled.

If the student continues to miss school without valid excuses, citations will be issued and the courts will become involved.

A full copy of the policy is available at the schools.

• The next School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m., Jan. 19, in the Middle School Library.