At the December 14 school board meeting, board members Josh Thompson, Jill Harstad, Lanny Isensee, Katie Priebe and Tom Keefe were present as well as Superintendent Ed Harris, Principals Shane McBroom, Eric Nelson and Trista O’Connor, business manager. Board member Matt McMahon was absent.
Superintendent Harris led the Truth in Taxation hearing with a number of slides illustrating what funds are affected and how the school district is funded. He recommended they approve the maximum levy allowed by the state of Minnesota which for this year will be $3,330,306.87. Discussing the levy further, he noted that the five-year average increase has been 2.8% and that roughly 61% of this year’s 7.59% levy increase is due to the parking lot projects which will cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $3 per month, or $37 per year. There was no member of the public attending, but Harris said the meeting is recorded if anyone wants to see the information. Later in the meeting, the board approved the final levy payable in fiscal year 2023.
Principal McBroom noted that the Grandfriends Day and Holiday concert went well and was very well attended. He thanked Walmart South of Rochester for the generous donation of school supplies that was distributed to all the PK-6 classrooms to be used by the students. The students participated for the second year in helping to decorate and light a Christmas tree in the city park for each grade level. Students made ornaments during their GOPHER time lessons to add to the trees.
High school principal, Eric Nelson highlighted the success of the CHS dance team. They had a very successful competition at Rushford-Peterson High School last Saturday, bringing home first place in both the Jazz and Kick competitions. This was only the second year they had competed in Jazz so their hard work has paid off. The JV team placed second. Program planning for next school year has started and very few fixes will be necessary. One consideration is the optimal rotation of some courses by offering them every other year.
Under the consent agenda the meeting minutes of November 16, 2022 were approved along with the hiring of Jeff Finley as elementary custodian. Also approved were new hires Harper Goldsmith, Valleyland; Emily Fitzgerald, Valleyland; Robin Sullivan, PreK sub, and Kirsten Oehlke-Kramer, Friday child care assistant. Resignations were approved for Samantha Thorson, elementary teacher and Justin Viss, technology coordinator and these positions will be posted.
The World’s Best Work Force, an annual report due in December was presented by Harris and both principals. This report lays out the basic goals around general performance in the schools. Elementary and high school achievement scores, graduation rates and college and career readiness goals were some of the areas that were reported. In general, the Chatfield school district is at or exceeds the state statistics.
Under action items the board approved the Resolution Directing the Administration to Make Recommendations for Reductions in Programs and Positions and Reasons Therefore. This is an annual declaration in the event reductions need to be made in the spring for the coming school year. The board also approved the FTE adjustments of Todd Johnson and Tyler Neilson in the business department effective December 5, 2022.
Before adjourning, the superintendent and principals thanked the retiring board members for their service to the school and community. Lanny Isensee has served for eight years and Matt McMahon has served for 16 years. Taher was also thanked for providing the Christmas treats for the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on January 11 at 7 p.m. in the Forum room at the high school.