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Enrollment slips
17 students at SLE

by Beth Hutchinson
For the Pathfinder
October 29, 1998

Enrollment at Seeley Lake Elementary slipped a bit this year. According to the formal, state-funding count in early October, the system has seventeen fewer students than at the same time last year. Kindergarten showed the greatest decline (-8) with increases and decreases alternating in nearly every grade level moving upwards.

 Grade  Last Yr.  This Year  Difference
 K  33  25  -8
 1  21  26  +5
 2  28  22  -6
 3  29  32  +3
 4  33  27  -6
 5  29  29  0
 6  35  30  -5
 7  26  32  +6
 8  29  23  -6

Hebnes told the board that a couple of students entered following the count, but given that the school population has a tendency to fluctuate a few students up and down throughout the year, he expects the overall figures to remain about the same. Due to various school funding quirks, the SLES state income is not expected to be significantly altered as a result of the general decline.

Earlier in the evening Tim Clark had taken some time to update the board regarding his attempts to deal with the school's insurance carrier regarding his daughter's injury last spring. He stated that while he continued to feel no ill will towards the school system, he and his attorney kept "hitting walls" with the school's insurance company and anticipated that there would have to be a suit filed against the school system for the $2,830.50 and other recovery expenses.

Speaking with concern for all involved, Clark wondered if "the school was paying premiums for nothing. My insurance would pay for liability in a flash," he added. It struck him that the insurance company the school was dealing with was rather "flakey". He was concerned that its umbrella company was not even licensed to do business in Montana.

Superintendent Hebnes indicated that he understood the position Clark found himself in and that a suit would revert to the insurance company anyway, although obviously with more pressure. He noted that that same company had covered a $1,200 liability claim for a family in the recent past.

School guidance counsellor Tony Faranca made a report on behalf of the student government and team sports. The groups have joined in an effort to promote school spirit and, as a part of that movement, sponsored a contest to come up with eagle designs for shirts and other items.

Faranca asked for the board's input regarding solicitation of business support for printing T-shirts and how they would feel about business names being printed on the backs of shirts. Williams said he liked the idea of asking for help from businesses, but felt it wasn't appropriate for that sponsorship to be printed on the shirts. Parker suggested that they follow the high school's lead and give notice of the supporting businesses at big games. Rose thought an appreciation lunch might be appropriate.

The spririt promoters have a goal of getting every single Seeley Lake Elementary student into a shirt at minimal or no cost.

Faranca also noted that local artist Rick Sherman was interested in extending the school spirit movement by helping students to create a mural for the gym.

In other business, the board voted to hire Pearl Hawkins to fill the opening for a kitchen assistant. Hawkins, a long time Seeley Lake resident, had worked in the SLES kitchen parttime several years ago.

Teacher Kris Johnson and school clerk Sally Johnson talked about the big, smoke escape practice provided by the Seeley Lake Fire Department during Fire Safety Week. In addition to filling the school with "smoke", firefighters wore full regalia so that children would know what to expect them to look like in a true emergency situation. Johnson and Johnson (part of Johnson, Johnson, Johnson and Johnson at SLES) thought everyone handled the simulation very well.

Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled for Election Day this year in an attempt to maximize the presence of adults in the building.

The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for November 10th at 6:00 PM in the elementary school. The agenda will address George Humphries grant writing progress, recruitment of people to help on the 99-00 budget, up-dating on the tardy situation, a conference report from Bart Peterson and Shirley Johnson, up-dating on the board's mission and goals, student council activities and tentative budget figures.

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