At the August 11 board meeting, Josh Thompson, Matt McMahon and Tom Keefe were virtual on Zoom. Jill Harstad, Katie Priebe and Lanny Isensee were present as well as Principals Shane McBroom and Eric Nelson, Superintendent Ed Harris, and Trista O’Connor, business manager.
During district patron time Elizabeth Eisenbeis, representing Chatfield Parents: Choice not Mandate/Freedom to Choose, asked the board not to mandate face masks for students but to allow students and parents to make that decision.
Board chair, Lanny Isensee reported on the superintendent’s yearly evaluation. The board had set five goals and Superintendent Harris has met or exceeded all of them. He said he is doing an exceptional job.
Shane McBroom, elementary principal, said all positions are filled except for two paraprofessionals. He thanked the summer school teachers for their efforts this summer in helping students retain the skills they have acquired in math and reading. He also thanked the Root River State Bank and F & M Bank for their generosity in supporting the Mini Grants. The plan for this year for teacher-student-parent conferences will be two days, on Tuesday, September 7 and Wednesday, September 8. These days are used to meet families, assess students and provide information to families on the upcoming school year. School will then start on Thursday, September 9.
High school principal, Eric Nelson said all positions are filled with the exception of the special education position and two paraprofessionals. He thanked the regular and summer custodial staff for their work this summer and they were given a grill out in appreciation. The daily schedule has been tweaked a little to accommodate the elementary students. School will be dismissed five minutes earlier this year, at 3:05 instead of 3:10. The high school schedule has been modified due to several constraints. Therefore there will be no FLEX period this year. FLEX has been a valuable program and he hopes that it can be reinstated in next year’s schedule. Students in grades 7 and 8 that are not in choir or band will have a seminar each Wednesday focused on a variety of topics including: career exploration, community awareness and technology skills. This will reduce the large amount of study hall time in their schedule.
Superintendent Harris discussed the letter sent to parents dated August 4, 2021. In the letter he said at this time the wearing of masks while in the building will be a personal choice. Later this month Fillmore County school districts will meet with Fillmore County Public Health to evaluate the current COVID situation and discuss considerations for the start of school. Final start of school plans and decisions for Chatfield relating to COVID, will not be made until later this month with a tentative school board meeting on August 25. At this point the district has increased COVID mitigation procedures such as making masks available, fogging of classrooms and buses and updating air filters. The district also expects to have full in-person classes and distance learning will not be an option. Harris was encouraged by the response to the community survey that was taken to gauge community support for the upcoming renewal for the operating levy vote in November. The response rate was above average and it showed strong support for the renewal of the operating levy.
Under consent items, the following handbooks were approved: elementary student and staff, high school student and staff, high school discipline matrix, extra-curricular activities and 1:1 student parent. The following spring coaches were approved: Paul Wagner, golf; Brian Baum, baseball; Jerry Chase, softball; and Jeff DeBuhr, track and field. Joshua Maricle-Roberts was approved as the new high school social studies teacher, History Day advisor and SADD advisor, and Anna DeHerder as a long term substitute in kindergarten. Scott Schmaltz was approved as junior high football coach.
The following resignations were approved: Zach Slowiak, high school social studies teacher, junior high baseball, junior high football, History Day advisor, Service Club advisor, SADD co-advisor and Delta; Danneka Romport, high school special education and Teresa Schaefer, One Act Play advisor. The following job postings were approved: two high school paras, high school social studies teacher, junior varsity baseball coach, junior high football, History Day, Service Club, Delta, SADD co-advisor and One Act Play advisor.
Under action items the board approved the Truth in Taxation Hearing date for December 8, 2021. A resolution to call a special election regarding the general education revenue of the school district was read and approved along with a resolution to fill a school board vacancy. Both of these will be on the ballot for the special election to be held on November 2, 2021. The board approved the replacement polling place of Chatfield City Hall and the increase of $5 per day for teacher and paraprofessional sub pay.
The meeting was adjourned. A special school board meeting may be held on August 25 concerning COVID procedures for the beginning of the school year. The regular scheduled meeting will be September 8 in the high school Forum room.