Rental policy: School Board chooses to not change rental rulesNo changes will be made to the Jamestown Public School District’s facility rental policy, the Jamestown Public School Board decided Monday. The guideline has been in the spotlight recently after a religiously affiliated group rented space at Jamestown High School while class was in session. The current policy allows any organization to rent the facility during school hours as long as the event doesn’t disrupt instruction or promote illegal activities.
No changes will be made to the Jamestown Public School District’s facility rental policy, the Jamestown Public School Board decided Monday.
The guideline has been in the spotlight recently after a religiously affiliated group rented space at Jamestown High School while class was in session. The current policy allows any organization to rent the facility during school hours as long as the event doesn’t disrupt instruction or promote illegal activities.
The School Board had considered changing the policy to restrict rentals during school hours or to restrict rentals to groups not politically or religiously affiliated.
Superintendent Bob Toso had said the North Dakota School Board Association says schools should either allow rentals during the day or not rent the facility during the day at all. Toso had recommended the board leave its rental policy alone.
Community members, most of them religious leaders, expressed their opinions at the School Board’s regular meeting Monday.
The Rev. Susan Lester of First Congregational United Church of Christ had said teaching that one religious view is more authoritative than another is improper. If the group is religious-affiliated, don’t let it rent out facility until class is out of session, she said.
But the Rev. Shawn Bowman of Victory Lutheran Church said the event his church organized and held at Jamestown High School required permission slips sent to families through the churches, not the school. If a group parents don’t agree with rents the facility, parents don’t have to allow their children to attend, Bowman said.
“I wouldn’t send my student to hear them. I wouldn’t sign the slip,” he said.
The board doesn’t need to vote to keep its policy the same.
In other business, the board voted to direct administration to form a committee to help recruit and retain state tournaments and other area events.
Jamestown will not host the Class B Boys Baseball Tournament this year as it has for two decades. The tournament was moved to Minot because local hotels already had too many rooms set aside for other events in the area, officials said. Some are concerned about local businesses and the effects those tournaments have on Jamestown. Without them, some fear, the city loses that economic impact.
The committee would consist of various officials throughout the city, said Mindi Grieve, School Board member. That way the responsibility doesn’t solely belong to Jim Roaldson, athletic director.
“It needs to be a broader buy-in of people,” she said.
School Board President Roy Musland agreed, saying the board needed an action plan for future tournaments and events.
“I think today is not too early to start planning,” he said.
Also, the board heard from two Jamestown High School freshmen who praised the block program at Jamestown High School.
The School Board had approved adding block classes this school year for freshmen at Jamestown High School who are considered at-risk for dropping out. About 100 students take their four core classes over two class periods instead of one. The students take two of the four core classes (science, math, English and social studies) each semester.
“This has been one of my best years in school,” said freshmen Alexis Grabinger, who participates in the block-scheduling program.
Freshmen Brittany Reed said she struggled most of her years in school. The block schedule allowed her more one-on-one time. Her mother, Rene Reed, said Brittany had participated in tutoring programs as well as summer- and afterschool programs to help her do better in school. None of them seemed to have the same results as the block scheduling program.
“I noticed that her self-esteem just got smaller and smaller and her dreams got smaller and smaller,” Rene Reed said.
She said her daughter used to look forward to dropping out of school whereas now, Brittany looks forward to graduating.
The board approved adding block scheduling to sophomore-level classes at a previous meeting.
The next regular meeting of the Jamestown Public School Board will be 5:15 p.m. May 17.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at email@example.com