A lack of a policy regarding handouts in Kennett Consolidated School District's schools has a number of area Boy Scout leaders seeking clarity on the issue.At the Monday, Dec. 1, special business meeting, representatives from local Boy Scout organizations requested that the Kennett Board of School Directors develop a policy on informational handouts distributed on school grounds.
Eric Magendantz, leader of Pack 136 in Toughkenamon, addressed the board members regarding the distribution of fliers to students and of instilling an official policy.
Magendantz said that while the scouts do not want to be a burden on the administration with regards to distributing fliers on a regular basis, the organization relies on active recruitment to encourage kids to sign up.
That includes, Magendantz said, getting the fliers into the students' hands as soon as they're eligible for scouts.
Magendantz said he would like to see a "formal policy that makes it clear and concise" how organizations can distribute their materials, as well as getting approval and timeframes for distribution.
Magendantz also wanted the board to consider allowing the Boy Scouts to immediately distribute fliers to first and fifth grade students in the district for an opportunity to join.
According to Superintendent Rudy Karkosak, no actual "policy" exists, adding that there is more a "procedure" in place for distributing materials in the schools than a policy, and that materials from just about any community organization are available in the "information stations" located in each school. Since each station is located by the main office, Karkosak said, the information is also available to visiting parents.
The information is also added to the "bottom of the book bag" Web site maintained by Kennett PTO members that alerts parents to numerous items of interest both inside and outside the curriculum.
"What we've tried to do is limit the amount of paper that is delivered to kids and their parents," Karkosak said.
According to Karkosak, any organization that wishes to distribute materials to students must first go through the superintendent's office and receive his approval. It is then made available in the information station and sometimes added to the morning announcements to let students know that there are materials related to scouting if they are interested.
Karkosak said that getting materials directly into the hands of students - especially when they do not go to every student - is often a time consuming process and takes time away from instruction.
He added that a letter distributed by Magendantz to parents and community members seemed to intimate that the district does not cooperate with the scouts, which he said is simply not the case.
"We have a long history of cooperation with the Boy Scouts," Karkosak said, adding that they use classrooms on a regular basis and were invited to a parent information night at the high school this past year.
"We feel we are a good and active partner and we wish to continue that," he said. "It's just a matter of - do we make it available or do we distribute a piece of paper to every single student?"
One scout leader said that recruitment this year is down from 20 to five students, something that he accounts to the scouts not being able to get the information directly to the students.
He added that he doubted his own son, who did receive a flier several years ago, would have independently sought out the same flier at the information station.
"Getting them excited in scouting is important and getting that flier in their hands in instrumental in that," he said.
During his report, board member Michael Finnegan said that the idea of a policy on handouts would be discussed at the next liaison and communications committee meeting.
Karkosak said that he would support the board if it felt that an actual policy regarding handouts is mandated.