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New contract for St. Clair as District 14 superintendent

Mar 17, 2017 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The Fremont County School District 14 Board of Trustees in Ethete approved another one-year contract for superintendent Owen St. Clair.

He has now served in the job for one and a half years.

St. Clair was selected in 2015 when Michelle Hoffman was serving as the interim superintendent after Terry Smith resigned. Hoffman was also a former superintendent.

The school board voted unanimously to approve St. Clair's contract, which is effective July 1, 2017. St. Clair was glad to receive the contract approval and praised others who helped him grow as a superintendent.

"I have learned a ton," St. Clair said. "I have great mentors in Fremont County. ... Each superintendent has offered advice and can always listen."

St. Clair was the Wyoming Indian Elementary School principal for 11 years before he applied for the superintendent position. Prior to that, he was a social studies teacher at Wyoming Indian Middle School.

Budget

Looking back to recent work, St. Clair said it has been difficult dealing with budget changes as a result of a bill that passed during this year's legislative session.

Lawmakers agreed on House Bill 236, which is set to cut about $34 million from public education next year.

"We are looking at about a 3.8 percent cut from around $12 million," St. Clair said. "Right now, I am not sure what that will bring; we are working on that as we speak."

There will definitely be some reworking of the district's budget, he added.

Public records

FCSD 14 renewed its policy surrounding inspection and copying of public records during a recent school board meeting -- a move many other school districts are making as well due to a change in state law.

In November, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that government agencies could charge members of the public a fee to look at documents existing only in electronic form.

Law has always allowed for a "reasonable charge" for physically copying public records.

The Lander school district was the first in the county to adopt the new guidelines. St. Clair said the Ethete district's policy mirrors the Lander district's policy, which states the district will only implement a fee if the public records request costs $500 to accommodate.

The fee covers duties including the time spent retrieving, compiling, sorting, reviewing, redacting and formatting public records.

Other items

The school board approved and accepted its audit report for the 2015-2016 school year from the firm Fagnant, Lewis and Brinda.

The board also OK'd the contract of Leslie Schafer-Meyers for middle school special education instructor for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year.

The board accepted the resignation of Gayle Halladay and agreed to hire Jenni Runs Close to Lodge for the Johnson O'Malley liaison position.

School board member Belle Ferris was recognized for serving on the school board 2000-2016. She was given a Pendleton blanket and a plaque. The Wyoming School Boards Association also commended her with two plaques.

A good sportsmanship award was presented to student Buell Robinson on behalf of Pat Neely of Wright High School.

The next school board meeting is at 5:30 p.m. April 5.
 

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