Members of the Pierce City R-6 Board of Education discussed entering into a contract with Immediate Response Group (IRG) for canine detection services for the school year but expressed concerns over the message that might be sent to patrons and guests of the R-6 District.
During their September meeting, board members expressed concerns the canine services would send the message there is a problem within the district when the purpose would be prevention.
"I would like to think that we don't need IRG," said Jim Barchak, board president. "But [drugs] are out there. It's everywhere. It's the society we live in."
Board member Kenny O'Hara said he had talked to his son, a student at the high school, and there wasn't an issue as far as he was aware.
"That's not to say that something isn't going on, but I don't think we need [IRG]," O'Hara said.
Dr. Aaron Cornman, superintendent, said having the service was more of a deterrent to students or staffers who might otherwise bring illegal substances onto one of the campuses.
"I think it's a reasonable service," he said. "If you don't think so, you're not being proactive with the school. We need to take a stance. We might not have a problem, but the message is that [drugs] are not going to be tolerated at this campus."
Board members requested Cornman provide financial information for half the number of proposed visits and a demonstration of the detection dogs in action at the next regular board meeting.
In her report to the board, Kristi Marion, elementary school principal, told board members 300 grandparents had attended the two-day Grandparents Day reception, held on Sept. 8 and 9.
The afterschool program kicked off on Sept. 12, and 73 children are participating. Classes include performing arts, karate, service learning and arts and crafts. Tutoring is slated to begin in the next few weeks.
The elementary school's Positive Behavior and Intervention Support assembly took place Sept. 19, and students watched a video about standing up to bullies. They also received information on the Eagle Buck reward program.
Marion also told board members the weekend nutrition backpack program is underway, with 22 children receiving nutrition support.
Steve Garner, high school principal, reported that four of the 52 seniors must attend alternative classes to be eligible to graduate with their class next spring.
Richard Werner, of Werner and Associates, provided the board with an update on the construction project at the school. He said discussions had taken place concerning the electrical, mechanical and plumbing portions of the new project.
Werner said bids would be let on Oct. 7 and opened in the high school library on Oct. 14.
Werner also asked board members to consider which materials they would like to see used on the greenhouse construction.
Werner told the board that the district might qualify for an enhancement grant that would reimburse approximately 75 percent of the cost of the greenhouse project.