Southern Utah News Articles
Sports and old middle school dominate Kane County School Board meeting
At the October 11 meeting of the Kane County Board of Education; Kanab High School (KHS) coach Mickey Houston addressed the board in regard to a proposed realignment of schools through the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA.) He noted Kanab High School‘s demographics have changed as enrollment has dropped, such that continuing to be placed in competition with larger 2A schools has become inequitable.
He cited a letter from KHS Football Coach Bucky Orton, citing a drop in student population since 2006. He rarely has more than 45 players from which to field a team. This forces him to play younger players more than once a week, resulting in more injuries to students. A Utah State Office of Education polyptopic vector analysis submitted by District Technology Director Travis Terry, which compares similar schools, shows demographically, KHS is more similar to 1A schools than the 2A schools with which it is currently classified.
Houston expressed concern that the powerful schools up north are well represented on the UHSAA, and smaller schools like KHS and Valley High School (VHS) have less input into how realignments are made.
After lengthy discussion, it was decided Superintendent Johnson, UHSAA representative Lex Chamberlain and others will prepare a report to the UHSAA, enlisting the support of State Representative Mike Noel and others, to remove KHS from the 2A classification; and suggesting the implementation of a two-tiered 1A classification, with the smallest 2A schools and larger 1A schools in the first 1A tier (KHS) and the smallest of schools (VHS) in the second 1A tier. It was also decided the Kane District should attempt to place a second school board member on the UHSAA board.
Kanab resident and baseball enthusiast Tyler Houston presented several blueprints by Bob Kaczowka of Mesa Design for a wrap around baseball stadium at Kanab Middle School. He is doing preliminary research to expand and improve the baseball infrastructure in Kanab. This could increase the area’s ability to hold tournaments, and enable the schools’ teams to play more games locally.
He has been working with the school board and plans to help seek grant funding from Major League Baseball (MLB) for the project. Houston said having a high quality facility for tournaments would help fill the hotels and be good for the community.
Kane County Office of Tourism Director Ken Gotzen-berg and Chamber of Commerce President Betty Colston returned to address the school board about the idea to refurbish the old Kanab Middle School to create a multi-use performing arts and conference center to benefit the community. Gotzen-berg said that with tourism up 20% this year, the office has significant funds and is interested in investing in infrastructure to encourage large groups to come to Kanab. He asked the board of its intentions regarding the property. Vigorous discussion followed, in which school board members voiced their concern that the property not be encumbered so that it cannot generate income and reluctance to invest money into it to benefit other entities when its primary goal is to help students.
It was also suggested that the school board does not have to be in a hurry to accept projects, but can afford to let the property sit empty for a while, as it costs nothing to do so. The possibility of obtaining a new appraisal on the property was discussed, to enable it to be sold.
Betty Colston suggested the school board hold a meeting to get input from the community on the best use of the property. She suggested the board view the property as a resource to bring money into the district, noting that the tourism office has the money to invest into improvements for such purpose, and she offered to help the district research the possibilities.
Collette Cox, the new director of the Southwest Applied Technology College (SWATC) in Kanab, addressed the board and handed out the SWATC brochure to them. She is excited to be in the position and has many new ideas to help the technology campus. She reported that presently, the auto classes being taught have KHS as well as Fredonia students; and that the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program currently has 10 students, two from KHS. She will be working to give all students the opportunity to obtain career related certificates as they exit high school.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, a parent of a high school student who had been disciplined for violating the school’s dress code policy regarding body piercing, questioned the policy, and requested the school board explain and clarify it. She said piercings are mainstream now, and should not logically be considered a distraction in the classroom.
Superintendent Robert Johnson informed her that the public comment period is to enable the public to bring a concern to the school board, but does not require the board to respond immediately on the spot. Instead, he explained, the board will consider her comments and concerns, and will respond to her after they have had a chance to deliberate over such concerns.
In other business, the school board heard reports from the Student Body Presidents of Valley and Kanab High Schools Cheyenne Cox and Brandon Jensen, respectively, approved four residency requests, the Kanab High School wrestling schedule, VHS’s Orchestra and Senior Trips, KHS’s Student Council trip and tentatively approved (pending the final arrangements) the KHS’s Music Department trip. The board also honored District Office Employees of the Month Robert Johnson and Cary Reese. Congratulations, gentlemen!