Graduation requirements changing to match state

Board also adjusts hiring policies
By: 
Scott Girard

The Verona Area School Board is considering changing graduation requirements for the district’s high school to come in line with state requirements.

Recent changes to state law require three science and three mathematics credits to graduate from high school, while the current VASD policy only requires two for each subject.

The change would not affect students graduating in 2014-16, but begin with the current freshman class.

VASD director of instruction Donna Behn said more than 85 percent of students already complete the new level of requirements, so they do not expect it to have major impact.

The total number of credits required also would also rise from 22.5 to 23.5, with the required elective credits dropping from 9.5 to 8.5.

Hiring policies

The board also discussed at its Monday meeting a change to the staff recruitment and hiring policy aimed to “get a diverse pool of qualified candidates,” VASD director of human resources Jason Olson told the board.

“We’re just trying to broaden our tool kit,” he said.

The changes would authorize district administrators to use a set of recruitment and retention programs, including high school or college scholarships, signing and/or retention bonuses, loan forgiveness programs and partially or fully paid teacher certification programs for VASD support staff.

Several board members questioned one of the suggestions, giving administrators the option to waive posting requirements for jobs.

Olson described a hypothetical situation in which a job would be posted soon but he meets a “superstar” candidate at a job fair and would like to discuss it with the candidate there.

“We wouldn’t envision this being an often used tool,” superintendent Dean Gorrell said. “If we don’t have a full toolkit, that’ll put us at a distinct disadvantage over time relative to others that do.”

The board asked Olson to report to the personnel committee any time the requirements are waived as a “check and balance,” and Olson agreed.

The board will likely consider a vote on the policies at its March 3 meeting.

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