School district to pay for meals, lodging; Willson outlines spraying procedures

School district to pay for meals, lodging; Willson outlines spraying procedures by M. Jill Sundstrom Vermillion school district will now pay for meals and lodging as students make overnight trips for athletic and fine arts events.

The Vermillion Board of Education approved a meals and lodging procedure provided by Superintendent Robert Mayer during its regular meeting Monday night.

�The South Dakota High School Activities Association reimburses us if our kids go to state boys and girls basketball and volleyball tournaments,� Mayer said. �They get meals and lodging but none of the other activities are handled that way. It�s not fair to other athletic teams or fine arts. This policy has been developed out of fairness.�

Mayer recommended that the board eliminate the policy that was in place and adopt his recommendations as a guideline for this academic year. The board agreed.

The policy says, in part:

�If VHS students participate in events during the regular season of an activity and if that participation necessitates lodging accommodations and meals, the director of activities will make a decision using the school policy for state contests as a guide.

�It shall be the responsibility of the director of activities to make room reservations to accommodate students and coaches. The SDHSAA shall make room reservations for boys and girls basketball and volleyball.

�The director of activities shall make room reservations in hotels/motels where rates are reasonable.

�The director of activities shall make arrangements with the business office in advance for meal money for participants.

�Cheerleaders are considered part of the athletic teams for which they cheer. They will be afforded the same type of lodging accommodations and meal allowances as athletes.

�Meal allowances shall be: $3 breakfast, $4 lunch and $5 dinner.

�A head coach or director may decide to stay an extra night if weather conditions make travel hazardous and unsafe.�

The activities spelled out in the policy include cross country, boys and girls golf, football, boys and girls basketball, volleyball, wrestling, track, boys and girls tennis, gymnastics, All State Band, All State Chorus/Orchestra and speech.

Information regarding the Vermillion School District�s weed spraying program was also passed out to school board members after the subject was brought up during a recent city council meeting.

�The group that is dealing with requests for a cancer study in Vermillion attended the Sept. 20 city council meeting and one of the things they brought up was the school district�s lawn care procedure,� Mayer said. �They said we sprayed Austin School three days before school started and that is a complete fabrication of the truth. It was actually sprayed Aug. 3 � three weeks before school started.�

As a result of that discussion, Howard Willson, of Willson Florist who does the spraying, provided information about weed control procedures � how and what is done. Members of both the school board and city council now have copies of that report.

�We take care not to spray when kids are present,� Mayer said.

In his report, Willson spelled out the guidelines he uses:

? When spraying a lawn, it must be done when no one will be on it for a few days, until after it dries. It is best to stay off of it for 24 hours, and for optimal safety you should stay off it for 48 hours. For this reason it makes it impossible to spray while school is in session.

? There must be a licensed sprayer to do the spraying.

? Also while spraying, you must have optimal conditions which are: no rain forecasted for 48 hours; temperature must be 70 to 90 degrees; winds cannot be above five mph; the lawn cannot be mowed in the previous 48 hours before spraying and will not be mowed 48 hours after spraying.

The report continues:

�Following these guidelines and optimal spraying conditions, we sprayed the Vermillion School District using the higher mix rate according to the label because we were spraying when it was the hardest to get results. The following dates are when we sprayed:

? July 15, 1999 � VHS football fields and part of the front lawn

? July 26, 1999 � VHS lawn and Jolley School

? Aug. 3, 1999 � Austin School and VMS

? Aug. 17, 1999 � West side of the VHS track field and east of VHS student parking lot

� ? We did not spray after Aug. 19, 1999 which was nine days before school started.�

Willson also provided labels of the herbicides that were used to spray the school district.

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