School Board Continues Review of Policy Updates

The Derry School Board conducted first readings on several policy updates at its April 8 meeting.

Superintendent Laura Nelson presented the policies. In most cases, she said, the policies clarified language; in some cases they condensed it.

One policy, BEDC, is new, she said and establishes the rules for a quorum.

“The rest are small changes,” Dan McKenna, a member along with Neal Ochs of the Policy Committee, said.

Policy BDA clarifies who is elected at the organizational meeting. The current policy states that board members will be elected. Board members are elected at the polls in March, and the draft policy clarifies that officers are elected at the organizational meeting. The new version also eliminates a paragraph about how the chair is elected, as the district has a separate policy for that, Nelson said.

Policy BEC deals with nonpublic sessions, Nelson said. The new policy adds the actual statutory language from the RSA and spells out which situations require a nonpublic.

Policy BHD deals with board member compensation and expenses, she said. “The chairman can approve reimbursing members if they want to attend a convention or workshop,” she said. “We had two different policies on reimbursement, and paragraph four of the new one makes it consistent with other policies.”

Hazardous and toxic substances are the topic in EBAB, Nelson said. “In the past, our policy laid out all the regulations,” she said. “This and Policy EBB (regarding protective equipment) condense them.” The new policy states, “The Superintendent will be responsible for developing regulations that include procedures relevant to…hazardous chemicals.” This way, she explained, if the federal regulations change, the district won’t have to update the entire policy.

“It is up to the Superintendent to make sure the regulations are in place,” McKenna said.

Nelson said the district is in compliance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and standards recommended by the New Hampshire School Boards Association.

Policy ECF, on energy conservation, hasn’t kept pace with the times, Nelson said. Written in 1979, it deals mostly with recommended temperature settings. “We have been looking at how we can maximize our use of resources,” she said. The draft urges every member of the school community, including students, to be responsible for “energy management.”

Policy EEA, on transportation and bus riders, also hasn’t kept up with changes, Nelson said. The new policy has a better outline for student conduct on buses and adds a section on “conflict resolution.”

Policy EH, “Public use of school records,” deals with how the district processes RSA 91:A requests, Nelson said. The current version does not give a cost for duplication of records. She researched what surrounding communities are charging for photocopies, and came up with a figure of 10 cents a page for Derry.

The policies will receive a second read and be voted on in an upcoming meeting.

Brenda Willis will replace Ochs, who was recently elected chair of the board, on the Policy Committee.