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Charlie’s Angels hoping not to be grounded by school travel rule

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Kim Castro, coach of Roswell High School’s Charlie’s Angels dance team, appeals to the Roswell school board Tuesday for a policy revision that would allow the dance team to travel to out-of-state national competitions. (Jeff Tucker Photo)

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A revision to a much-disputed policy that prevented the national champion Charlie’s Angels dance team from going to Orlando to defend their national title has been presented to the Roswell school board.

The Access to Co-Curricular and Extracurricular Activities policy revision, which would amend the school district’s extended travel rule, was introduced at Tuesday’s meeting of the Roswell Independent School District Board of Education.
No action was taken on the policy’s first reading Tuesday night. Only revisions to the policy were discussed.
Interim Superintendent Susan Sanchez said she would like to have further discussions with school board members about the proposed policy revision before the school board takes action, as early as next month.
Sanchez mentioned she had some concerns about the revisions to Policy 5300.
“That would be a discussion item I would like to take back between now and the second reading to your board committee on my concerns with the district championship versus a state championship,” Sanchez said.
Board policies are voted on during second readings.
Brian Byrd, assistant superintendent of human resources at the RISD, said the policy revision would allow long-range travel for school groups that meet certain criteria.
“It’s been brought to us to re-look at 5300,” Byrd said, “to allow extracurricular activities to travel outside over 300 land miles from Roswell. So you’ll notice within this policy, with some of the changes that basically allow for that with the following criteria. There’s eight different criteria that need to be met in order to complete one of these trips.”
School board secretary Alan Gedde noted some of the tentative policy revisions address student equity.
“We had added ‘or district champion’ on No. 7, and that helped out … concerns for equity, that we don’t have to wait for somebody to win a state championship,” Gedde said.
Gedde said some of the wording of the policy was unclear. He asked a question regarding the district insurance for extracurricular field trips.
“What is that really referring to, is it the activity covered by district insurance or travel?” Gedde asked.
“I think the travel,” Byrd replied. “A lot of times, what that means is to make sure that … forms are in place, in case there’s something that does happen that the district insurance would be able to cover. I did run both policies by legal counsel. There was one suggestion from legal counsel on No. 7 to add ‘with a previous or current school year’s NMAA state championship.’”
Chaperones were also suggested by new board member Dr. Kathleen Pittman, and chaperone-to-student ratios were discussed for field trips districtwide.
“I think it needs to be standard across the district. It needs to be for all activities, not just travel,” said board President Mona Kirk.
Kim Castro, coach of Roswell High School’s Charlie’s Angels dance team, has for more than a year asked the school board for an exemption or amendment to the policy that would allow her 11-time state championship team to travel to national competitions. Castro again appealed to the school board Tuesday night for revisions to Policy 5300.
“We’re working very hard right now hoping that the policy will get revised in a timely manner,” Castro said. “I’ve had a lot of people ask me why we’re not able to go (to national competitions), one of the things that I think the public needs to be aware of is the trip that we made last time, and any time we’ve ever gone, was totally funded by the parents and fundraising, their own donations, family donating. We didn’t ask anything from the district. All we are asking is for your blessing and your consideration of the policy.”
Policy 5300 was changed in 2015, stating that no extended trips are permitted for extracurricular activity travel to any out-of-state site over 300 land miles from Roswell.

School repairs
Repairs after flooding at University High School that delayed the start of classes this school year are nearing completion, Roswell school board members were told Tuesday.
Assistant Superintendent Chad Cole gave an update on the water damage restoration process, which he said was going well, but they are waiting on the carpet to come in. Classes set to begin Aug. 10 at the high school were delayed a few days after a water line break was discovered in a bathroom shared by students and faculty.
School staff have worked around the problem while repairs have been made.
“I think the one thing we’re a little concerned about is ordering the carpet,” Cole said. “Now, you can’t just have any carpet. I can’t just go down and pick up some carpet at Home Depot or whatever.”
Cole explained it has to be flame retardant and has to “meet various environmental conditions for a school district to be in our classrooms and buildings. So, we’re waiting on the carpet to arrive.”
Cole said originally, the estimated arrival time was this upcoming Friday, with a tentative date to be installed on Monday. However, in light of Hurricane Irma, that may have caused delays in receiving the carpet.
“I don’t want to make that promise without telling you this: The carpet is coming from Florida,” Cole said. “We’re following up on the tracking of where the carpet is at now. Just to give you that one caveat, we’re pushing our contract or vendor to get this done.”
Cole said he walked through the restoration side of the school Tuesday morning.
“They did a great job drying out the building, which is critical,” Cole said. “So now we’ve got it sheet-rocked, we’ve got it taped, we’ve got it spackled.”
Cole said the administrative offices and childcare area are ready, with the exception of carpet.
“The classrooms, those are going to go quick,” Cole said, explaining that the hard work and time-consuming part of the process for the classrooms is over. He said the next steps for the restoration will be to texture, paint and run along the baseboards, which he said was the easier part and should be completed soon.
“I wouldn’t say by the end of the next week, but I will keep my fingers crossed by the end of the next week, depending on the carpet,” Cole said.

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