Board members Amy Jeffers, Lanny Isensee, Scott Backer, Katie Priebe, Matt McMahon and Rick Lowrey were in attendance for the July 8 Chatfield School Board meeting. The meeting was live streamed on cable channel 11 and on Facebook.com/ChatfieldTV. Also present were Superintendent Ed Harris, Lorri Lowrey, administrative assistant, and Trista O’Connor, business manager.
During district patron time, the following people spoke asking for the reinstatement of Travis Bartels as the 2020-2021 wrestling coach: Joel Viss, Jennifer Allen, Claire Bartels, Lynda Karver, and Sarah Volker.
Under board reports, Lanny spoke as a member of the athletic committee. He wanted to let everyone know why he had voted against renewing Coach Bartels contract. He said Travis is one of the finest wrestling coaches in the state, but his problem is with authority. Rick Lowrey met with the community education committee saying that many of the activities had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. One idea that came out of the meeting was to create an ad for the paper to encourage young families in the district to join community education opportunities.
Superintendent Harris informed the board that the district will move to a new insurance underwriter but keep the same insurance agent. This will result in a savings of $17,500 for the district for next year. Concerning the question of school starting this fall, the Minnesota Department of Education has put schools on notice that there may be one of three learning plans deployed this fall depending on what is happening with COVID-19. The school will get this direction on July 27. In the meantime, Harris said they will be setting up a planning team to start preliminary discussions. Options are: 1. In-person learning for all students (relatively normal with precautions). 2. Hybrid learning (in-person/distance learning) with strict social distancing and building capacity limits. 3. Distance learning only (continuation of last spring’s model). Harris said the district has a team working on the three scenarios the state has suggested.
Harris informed the board that COVID-19 relief funds from the State of Minnesota amount to about $70,000. The first use of that money will be to upgrade to full sized iPads in grades K-2. Specifically, the district will be retiring the use of mini iPads at those grade levels. The rest of the funds will be held in reserve until the school has a better understanding of the situation this coming fall.
Pioneer Presbyterian Church has donated approximately $1,800 to assist graduating seniors who may be struggling with lunch account debt or other fees that have not been paid. Harris thanked them for their generosity.
Under consent items the following were approved: the June 3, 2020, meeting minutes, HVED agreement to purchase education services for SY 2020-2021, and employee activity passes for SY 2020-2021. The board also approved moving the rest of the 2020 monthly meetings from the first Wednesday of each month to the second Wednesday of each month starting in August 2020 with the exception of Wednesday, November 11, which is Veterans Day, so meeting date will be Tuesday, November 10. Also, because of vacations of board members the August meeting will be moved to August 5 as this meeting will also include the superintendent’s evaluation. The board summer goal planning meeting will be July 29.
The following resignations were approved: Kiya Virgin/SADD co-advisor, Rianna Cooper, seventh grade girls basketball coach; and Rachel Schieffelbein, One Act play. Job postings approved were, SADD co-advisor, junior high girls basketball coaches, and One Act play advisor. The special meeting minutes of June 23, 2020, were approved along with the designation of the Chatfield News as the official newspaper. Lastly Dan Narveson was approved as the ninth grade volleyball coach.
Under action items, Rick Lowrey read the resolution of the school district accepting donations and a spread sheet was made available of all the donations given to the school this year. The long-term facilities management plan was tabled because the spreadsheet had changed from last year and Superintendent Harris still needed clarification of some items.
Before the board adjourned, Amy Jeffers spoke to the situation of the non-renewal of the wrestling coach. She said this was a challenging time for the board and the community and that she hoped the community will recover and be stronger in the years to come.
The board adjourned with the next meeting to be held on August. This meeting can be viewed at www.facebook.com/chatfieldtv.