At the August 10 school board meeting, Josh Thompson, Jill Harstad, Lanny Isensee, Matt McMahon and Tom Keefe were present as well as Superintendent Ed Harris, Lorri Lowery, administrative assistant and principals Shane McBroom and Eric Nelson. Katie Priebe was not present.
Tom Keefe, who represents Chatfield at the Hiawatha Valley Education District, stated that they are still looking at buildings in the Winona area that can house all of their staff. Lanny Isensee reported on the meeting held previous to the board meeting in which the board conducted an evaluation of Superintendent Harris. Isensee said that overall, Harris is doing a great job and is a pleasure to work with. They also set goals for the coming year.
Under the principal’s reports, both principals thanked the Root River State Bank and F & M Bank for their generosity in supporting mini grants for teachers and students. They also commended the work done over the summer by the custodians to get the building ready for a new school year. Elementary principal McBroom said the improvements to the parking areas and drop off sites are almost finished and will make it easier and safer, especially for pre-school drop offs. This year Parent/Teacher/Student conferences will be run a little differently. The first conference day will be on Thursday, September 1 and the second day will be on Tuesday, September 6. School will begin on Thursday September 8.
Eric Nelson, high school principal, stated that one product of the reduction in unnecessary study halls and unscheduled time for middle-level students this year, is an increase in class sizes. In the past students were not in classes an hour or more of their day. Now, middle-level learners will be in class learning all day. Increases range from one to three student per classroom, depending on the course. All students will have an Access Time homeroom for the first 27 minutes of every day except for Wednesdays, which will be a late start. Access Time will offer students flexibility for studying, making up assessments and labs, receiving assistance, meeting as clubs, conducting group work and a variety of other activities.
Superintendent Harris reported that the high school site plan project will finish on budget. The pond that formed in one area is meant to allow for natural drainage and after being drained, tilled and seeded should function as a green space. Regarding his evaluation, he first thanked the board for their continuing support and stated that his four goals for the next year will be food service evaluation, staff development at a high level conference, maintenance staffing and developing a communication level with support staff.
Under the consent agenda, minutes from meetings on July 7, 2022, and July 19, 2022, were approved along with the post snow removal quotes and district handbooks for elementary and high school students and staff. The following resignations were approved: Jessi Peterson, elementary para; Jill Wright, preschool assistant; Tracy Hom, elementary para; Jenna Dokken, elementary counselor; Julie Obritsch, preschool assistant; Angie Stephas, high school para and Mary Jorgenson, high school business teacher. Winter assistant coaches approved were Kyle Tollefson, Kaitlin Ellringer and Josh Thompson for girls basketball; Matt Davidson, Damien Nickelsen, Adam Amundson and Josh Berhow for boys basketball; Chad Curry and Jason Goetzinger for wrestling and Demery Maughn for dance. Job postings were approved for a primary teacher, preschool assistant and elementary school counselor. The following new hires were approved: Jodi Daniels, middle school council advisor; Kristine Groski, 1st grade teacher; Brandi Royet, 2nd shift high school custodian; Jeff Lindeland, 2nd shift elementary custodian; Brian Meyer, 0.5, 2nd shift custodian; Malissa Meeker, elementary SPED para; Trevor Graner, community education enrichment class assistant; Nikki Ostby, 7th grade volleyball coach; Julie Amy, preschool assistant; Sarah Lange, preschool and literary assistant; Anna Johnson, preschool assistant; Paul Grafe, 2nd shift elementary custodian and Luke Taylor, elementary para and long term substitute.
Under action items the board approved the Truth in Taxation Hearing date of December 14, 2022 and the Resolution Calling the School Board General Election. Also approved was the additional fund donation of $3746.75 for fiscal year 2022. There was a discussion of partnering with the City of Chatfield and the Chatfield Baseball Association to turn one of the shelters at Mill Creek into a storage area to store field maintenance tools and supplies so that the school did not have to transport them every time for field prep. This item was tabled so that more information could be gathered. Finally, the board approved an increase in the daily substitute teacher pay of $120 base, $125 after subbing 20 days and $130 for retired teachers.
The next meeting will be held on September 14, in the high school Forum room at 7 p.m.