The Sauk Centre Public Schools board of education met Tuesday night. Early in the meeting, the board approved six new policies for the school district. Those policies are as follows:
• Policy 208, the development, adoption and implementation of policies. This policy’s purpose is to emphasize the importance of policy making on the school board and to provide the means to be an ongoing effort.
• Policy 410, family medical leave. This policy’s purpose is to provide family medical leave to school district employees in accordance with the Family Medical Leave Act.
• Policy 413, harassment and violence. This policy’s purpose is maintain a learning and working environment that is free from harassment and violence on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation and disability.
• Policy 414, mandated reporting of child neglect or physical or sexual abuse. The purpose of this policy is to make clear the statutory requirements of school personnel to report suspected child neglect or physical or sexual abuse.
• Policy 415, mandated reporting of maltreatment of vulnerable adults. The purpose of this policy is to make clear the statutory requirements of school personnel to report suspected maltreatment of vulnerable adults.
 • Policy 427, workload limits for certain special education teachers. The purpose of this policy is to establish general parameters for determining workload limits of special education staff to provide services for children with disabilities, to direct special education services 60 percent or less of the instructional day.
All six of these policies are mandatory policies that school districts are required to have.
“I know that as board members, one of our major roles is to ensure that proper policies are in place so that administration and staff has the direction they need to do their daily jobs,” chairman Brad Kirkof said. “This is going to be part of a long process, as we begin to look at all of the policies. I think it was the general consent of the board when we started that we know policies are important and we want to continue to expand on and get the policies up to date and in place. This is the first of many of these conversations and policies.”
 Later in the meeting, the school board heard the first reading of seven additional mandated policies. Those policies will be outlined in the Herald when they receive their final reading next month.
 “There are certain policies that we’ll add specific language to for our district as we go through all of these,” Kirkof said. “I know Pat [Westby] is working on those as we go through this too, making sure where, specifically, it relates to us having to add language or modify a particular policy in regards to our district. That will come to us as well as we go through the process. I think it’s certainly good for the district to get these policies and continue to work through this goal to have updated policies for our staff.”
2017-18 school calendar
The 2017-18 school calendar was reviewed by a staff member and submitted to the board for approval. This calendar has a start date of Sep. 5 and a graduation date of June 1, 2018. The calendar includes 174 student contact days, the same as 2016-17, and 184 staff contact days.
While the proposal was recommended by the administration, superintendent Pat Westby indicated, outside of the proposal, that in the future he would like to reform and possibly increase parent-teacher conference times. The current and past calendars offer three nights in the fall and one night in the spring for conferences. When asked, Westby suggested possibly changing that to two each season, among other things.
“There are some options about having conferences during a part of the day to accommodate families that may not be able to come at night ... I would like us to be able to get to a point where we have secondary school and elementary school conferences at the same time – simply because of families that have a fourth-grader and a junior coming at different nights,” Westby said.
The school board approved the calendar as presented.
In other school board news:
Technology coordinator Becki Marthaler delivered a brief report on the new school website. The website, which went live Feb. 9, garnered  2,637 visits in its first 11 days. Moving forward, the district is going to use the Google Analytics service, which will give them more insight into the website and allow them to determine what purposes visitors are using the website for and what areas are high traffic. With the help of Google Analytics, Marthaler hopes to have a full report at next month’s meeting.
The school board received one bid for sheet-rocking services for the vocational house project. This bid is from Bushard Construction, LLC for a total of $2,350 and includes the labor to tape, texture and prime the vocational house. Last year’s cost was $2,300.  The school board approved Bushard Construction’s bid for the sheet-rocking services.
Lastly, Westby informed the board that this week is school board recognition week. Westby honored the board with a certificate recognizing their “dedicated leadership in public education and continued service to students of this community.”
“I do want to thank you for the work that you guys do in setting the direction for our school district and the students who attend this district,” Westby said. “It’s not often that you get a pat on the back so on behalf of all of us, all our students and staff, thank you.”