By Tim Leeds
Havre Public Schools District 16 and A have begun work on a non-profit public foundation to raise and disburse funds to improve, enhance and support the educational opportunities for students in the district.
In their meeting Tuesday at the Havre Middle School, the board of trustees unanimously voted to assign Dr. Kirk J. Miller as the initial registered agent and incorporator of the foundation, approved the proposed articles of incorporation of the board, and authorized the project team to proceed with filing an application for recognition of exemption under 501(c)(3) if the Internal Revenue Code.
Miller, superintendent of schools for the district, said the goal of the board would be to gather tax-deductible donations which would then be used to maintain excellence in education following the role and scope of the public schools.
Miller said while the duties of the board of trustees and the foundation's directors will be intertwined, they will be politically and legally separate and distinct. The foundation board will review gifts and accept or reject them based on if the gifts fit the role and scope of the mission of the institution. The board of trustees will still have complete authority over the school district.
The funds in the foundation will be completely separate from the district's budget process. The foundation funds will be supplemental to the regular budget, and can not be relied upon as an addition to the budget.
Miller said the funds could be used to create scholarships for Havre students or to create or maintain programs for excellence in education that standard state educational funding might not be able to support.
He said the purpose of the many meetings held by district personnel and community members to formulate the proposal for the foundation was to establish something which would be easy to contribute to and easy to request funds from.
The board also unanimously approved Havre High School's participation in the Central Montana Tech Prep Consortium.
Under the consortium, Havre High will articulate agreements with Montana State University-Northern, the College of Technology in Great Falls and the College of Technology in Helena.
Havre High Principal Jim Donovan said some classes at the high school are so close in scope to classes at the colleges and university, articulations can be made for acceptance of these classes at the schools as post-secondary credits.
Donovan said 28 potential articulations could be made, although he said only 12 are probable.
In a separate venture, the high school is looking at two articulations with Stone Child College at the Rocky Boy's Reservation.
The board unanimously approved a revision to District Policy 5223-Personnel- Rules of Conduct, under section 5, Alcohol and other drugs.
Under recommendation from legal counsel from the Montana School Board Association, the revision changes part of the section from "If an employee's job performance or behavior provides his/her supervisor reason to believe that he/she may be under the influence of drug or alcohol use on the job, or if there is bona fide evidence of drug or alcohol use on the job, the employee will be subject to discipline" to "If a supervisor has reason to believe that an employee may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol on the job, or if a supervisor has reason to believe that an employee is using or has used drugs or alcohol on the job, the employee will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination under appropriate circumstances."