Law broken when media, public weren’t notified of food fight meeting

BISMARCK–A North Dakota school board broke the law when it didn’t notify the media or the public about a meeting to discuss a school food fight.

The Surrey School Board violated the open meetings laws when it failed to post a meeting notice and notify the newspaper of a special meeting to discuss punishment for students involved in a food fight that had occurred several hours earlier, the attorney general said in an opinion issued today. Students started a food fight during the lunch hour on May 17, the last regular day of school.  

The president of the school board explains that due to the severity of the issue, posting public notice was overlooked. Minutes of the meeting were taken and reflect that even though no notice was posted, sixteen people from the school’s administration and staff were present along with eight visitors,” the opinion said. 

However, “in this situation, the Board had several hours between the food fight and the start of the special meeting to post a meeting notice and notify the newspaper. Regardless of the urgency, the presiding officer of the governing body is still responsible for assuring that public notice is given at the same time notice is provided to the governing body’s members,” the attorney general said.

Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, asked for the attorney general opinion.

You can read the full opinion here.

You can also read a letter the Surrey School Board president sent to the attorney general’s office. It describes the food fight–started by a piece of broccoli and lasting “in the vicinity of a minute”– as well as the board’s actions.

North Dakota sites recommended for National Register of Historic Places

BISMARCK—A Fargo neighborhood, a Grand Forks synagogue and cemetery, and a Barnes County school will be considered for listings in the National Register of Historic Places.

The North Dakota State Historic Preservation Review Board agreed Friday to forward the nominations, which also includes a Burleigh County school, to the National Park Service for consideration.

Whether the sites are approved will be determined in the next several months, but it’s rare for a North Dakota site to be rejected, said Erik Sakariassen of Bismarck, president of the state review board.

Here are the recommended sites with information from their nominations:

Green Consolidated School #99 near Valley City. This site is considered to be the best preserved open country consolidated school in North Dakota. An open country school means it was built away from a community with a railroad depot.

The school educated students from 1916 until 1974 and since then has been used as a community center. The school met all of the state standards for education and the building gives physical testimony to what those standards were during the time the school operated.

Evelyn Emberson of Silver Bay, Minn., was among those to push for the school to receive a historic designation. Her grandfather served on the first school board, and her mother was one of the school’s first teachers. Emberson attended the school all 12 years.

“It just comes naturally, preserving the past,” Emberson said of her interest in promoting the school. “We call our school a symbol of rural education. We want to keep the school as the school building.”

The B’nai Israel Synagogue and Montefiore Cemetery in Grand Forks. The synagogue is said to combine the design of master architect Joseph Bell DeRemer and his Grand Forks firm with the culturally distinct customs and traditions of the Hebrew community. It also exemplifies the art deco work he and his son designed in the 1930s.

The cemetery is distinct for the customs and burial traditions of the Jewish population. It also hosts the remains of several prominent citizens.

The synagogue’s architecture and the importance of recognizing the history of the Jewish population in Grand Forks make the sites a good nomination, said Peg O’Leary of the Grand Forks Historic Preservation Commission.

“They (the Jewish population) have been an important factor socially, religiously and economically in Grand Forks since the 1880s,” she said. “It’s an important story to tell.”

The Fargo Oak Grove Residential Neighborhood Historic District. The nomination is focused around North and South Terrace, bounded on the east by Short Street North and on the west by Elm Street North.

Historically, it is one of the few identifiable, small-scaled residential neighborhoods close to downtown Fargo. There is a tangible cohesiveness in the scale, density, material character and landscape treatment that unifies this neighborhood.

The Oak Grove residential neighborhood took shape and took on its present architectural character as a range of middle-income houses and related infrastructure from 1895 to 1952. The predominance of working-class, gable-fronted mechanics’ cottages and vernacular bungalows is a reflection of consumer tastes during this time period.

Florence Lake School #3 in near Wing, N.D. The school was originally built as Sterling School #2 in 1917 but was moved to Florence Lake Township in 1937 after the earlier school burned.  This small prairie schoolhouse has unusual architectural details that recall the classical style.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s list of properties considered worthy of preservation, a news release said. North Dakota now has about 400 listings, said Lorna Meidinger, the state’s National Register coordinator.

Program helps N.D. high school students

Low-income high school juniors and seniors can get help paying for dual credit courses through the new North Dakota College Access Network administered by Bank of North Dakota.

Applications are available at http://www.nd-can.com/college_planning/pdfs/dualcreditassistanceapplication.pdf. Funding is limited; applications will be considered by submission date. The assistance covers tuition, fees and books.

To be eligible, a student must be a junior or senior attending a North Dakota high school, receive approval from a school district superintendent or designee to take a dual credit course, and qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

For more information, call 1-800-554-2717.

Jail for parents who skip kids’ school conferences?

I stumbled upon this story today: Detroit — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is pushing for a law that calls for jail time for parents who skip parent-teacher conferences, a plan some call inspired and others consider the nanny state run amok.

Worthy pitched her plan Tuesday to the Detroit City Council and is shopping it to the Wayne County Commission and state Legislature. Drawing a link between parental involvement and youth crime, Worthy wants a sponsor to guide the idea to law.

I recommend reading the full story at The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20101020/METRO/10200350/Worthy-proposes-jail-for-parents-who-skip-kids’-school-conferences#ixzz12vN7DyGI

What would you think if someone tried to pitch this to the North Dakota Legislature?