Recently, the Cloverdale Community School Board unanimously voted in favor of making policy and student handbook changes.
The corporation has been working with NEOLA, a company that, according to its website, provides school districts with a complete service for developing and updating board bylaws and policies, among other items.
NEOLA representatives delivered a presentation to the school in July and the board agreed to have the company look into possible updates in corporation policy and handbook updates.
At the July presentation, NEOLA representatives told the CCSC school board that corporations taking advantage of the program go through five phases. First, NEOLA conducts an analysis of the corporations' policies before producing a policy manual that can consist of 10 chapters.
Then, NEOLA sets administrative guidelines and regular updates. In addition, the manual for the corporation would be placed on the Internet, providing instant updates. The Internet manual would also include keyword searches.
On Wednesday, CCSC Supt. Carrie Milner told the BannerGraphic the process, albeit tedious, is moving forward.
"It's coming along very well," Milner said. "We're moving forward with the next step."
The next step, Milner said, was to look at proposed legal adjustments to corporation policy and template changes for within corporation policy and student handbooks.
"We wanted to make sure that most of what we had was in alignment (with state bylaws)," Milner said.
At its September meeting, Milner told CCSC board members the next phase of the project would cost the school an estimated $7,000, a figure she said was affordable.
Although they voted in favor of moving forward, board member Bobbi Nees expressed concern regarding the issue.
"It breaks my heart to think that small schools have to align themselves with legalities," Nees said at the meeting.
On Wednesday, Milner told the BannerGraphic that while changes may be made, they may be minimal.
She said there was a possibility of changes to coincide with Indiana Code, in addition to changes of repetition in corporation policy and student handbooks and other additions for legal requirements.
"There may be very few additions," Milner said.
She pointed to the corporation's bullying policy, which she said had to be changed to coincide with new state procedures, while adding the corporation wanted to make policy and handbooks more accessible to parents.
"We need to get our policy manual up to date," she said, referring to bringing it up to state standards. "We want to make sure we get it done appropriately. And we want to make it more user-friendly."
Milner said it's possible the proposed changes could be implemented by the end of 2006, but added the policies may not be put in place until a later date.
"It could be done in the next six-to-eight weeks," Milner said. "It's not a quick process, nor should it be."
She said once NEOLA delivers its proposed changes, they will be given to the school board for final vote.
"I hope we'll have it done by March or April," Milner said. "That's a personal goal."
NEOLA currently works with more than 750 school boards and superintendents in six states, including Indiana, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia. NEOLA works with at least 150 schools in Indiana.