By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor
Morgan County High School teachers and administrators will look for another textbook to suggest for Board of Education (BOE) approval following BOE member Dave Belton’s opposition to a proposed Advanced Placement (AP) Economics textbook last month.
The proposed book was called “Krugman’s Economics for AP,” authored by Margaret Ray and David Anderson, is based on the work of Paul Krugman, a Princeton University Professor of Economics, Nobel Prize for Economics winner, author and New York Times columnist.
“Unfortunately, Paul Krugman is a self-professed political partisan who writes a regular op-ed in the New York Times titled ‘Conscious of a Liberal.’ While I try to be 100 [percent] supportive of our teachers, I cannot in good conscious support of this book. Especially troubling is Mr. Krugman’s never-ending narrative that markets should be fair instead of efficient, his blithe assumption that 17 trillion dollars of debt is not a problem, and his irrefutable assertions that the only way to curb pollution is by instituting policies like ‘Cap and Trade,'” Belton wrote in an e-mail last month to the Citizen.
The BOE did vote unanimously the other two textbooks proposed at last month’s meeting, one for the International Baccalaureate Economics course and another for Latin 3.
In other news: There are 3,291 students enrolled in Morgan County school as of Sept. 6 – 788 at the primary school, 727 at the elementary school, 753 at the middle school, 998 at the high school, 17 at CrossRoads and eight at Rutland – Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach told the BOE. This is an increase of 17 students from the end of last school year and 44 more students than the same time last year. Additionally, there are 19 tuition-paying students at the high school, up from 13 at the end of last school year.
Brad Frink, system director of transportation, told the BOE that the Transportation Department, at the suggestion of Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett, is considering the installation of stop-arm cameras on school buses, meant to deter drivers from passing a stopped school bus with students loading the bus or unloading from it. “The goal is to catch people running by [the stopped bus],” Frink said. License plates could be logged and there could be fines for offenders; revenue from stop-arm violations could pay for the system installation. Frink said the system “would be at the front end of a trend” as 12 percent of systems installed stop-arm cameras on buses last year.
Frink expressed concern over the lack of fuel security and shared plans to regulate who can pump fuel, when fuel can be dispensed and a requirement for drivers to log mileage, all of which will allow Frink to audit fuel usage if necessary. Frink shared, in his report, that he “does not suspect any specific impropriety.”
Frink also shared concern about lot security, specifically a “commonly known password in the community,” he said, and told the BOE he was moving to installing individual access codes for the bus lot at no cost to the system.
System Director of Technology Jay Cawley shared with the BOE increases in use of the Campus Portal program by students and parents. From 2012 to 2013, there’s been a 48 percent growth in the numbers of students using the program; an increase of 3 percent of parents with accounts; and a 15 percent increase in Parent Portal logins. The parent aspect of the program serves as a tool for teachers to communicate with students’ parents.
The BOE also unanimously approved policy changes involving removal of the 190-day school year requirement from text, End of Course Testing and course credit options, and personnel leave time. They also OK’d a personnel list that includes the resignations of a middle school paraprofessional, high school paraprofessional and school nutrition employees; recommendations for hiring two substitute bus driver trainees; the transfers of one full-time bus driver to substitute bus driver and one substitute bus driver to a full-time driver.