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D-302 considers policy changes

SUGAR GROVE – The Kaneland School District 302 board is in the process of updating its board policy and Monday discussed changes including tuition for foreign students staying with a host family and allowing board members to submit written statements.

A representative from the Illinois Association of School Boards asked the board about policy changes that would be approved at a later date. Superintendent Jeff Schuler said the board doesn’t annually review its policy like it did Monday, but he wanted to make sure board members were aware of the options available.

“We’re doing this as a one-time opportunity to make sure we’re not missing anything,” he said.

Some debate centered on whether to charge tuition for foreign students who are staying with a host family that lives within district boundaries. The board’s policy states that foreign exchange students may attend school tuition-free as long as there’s a written agreement with a cultural exchange organization or institution supported by charity.

Board President Cheryl Krauspe said that’s a topic the board should look at carefully once the updated policy is up for approval.

“It’s a big business to bring students here to go to school,” she said.

A policy that would allow board members to submit written statements about the way they voted on an issue also stirred discussion. Board member Tony Valente liked the idea of submitting additional comments if those comments couldn’t be expressed during a vote or make it into the meeting minutes.

“We’re in the business of being as transparent as possible,” he said.

Board member Teresa Witt said that might hinder transparency because statements could be slipped into a file without being stated publicly.

“I think it’s less transparent because it’s not done in an open meeting,” she said. “Community members would have to go through extra effort in order to see it.”

The board also discussed its policy to allow part-time or home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities. The board permits that now, as long as eligibility and participation adhere to the eligibility requirements of the district or governing body. Julie-Ann Fuchs, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, said instances where home-schooled students participate are rare, but it happens.

Credit for proficiency testing was another area the board considered. Schuler said the board policy has language that allows the district to grant credit for testing out of a class, but he said administrators typically don’t do that in practice.

Schuler said the board likely would revisit several of those topics when the subject comes for approval, which likely will be in spring.

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