The Houston School Board met in the library of Houston Public High School on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at 6 p.m. for their regular meeting. In attendance were Superintendent Abraham and Board members Bonner, Stillin, Krage, Wilson and Evenson, with Board members Carlson and Norlien entering the meeting later. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the board approved the agenda unanimously and opened the meeting to public comment, of which there was none. The board moved on to approve all consent items, which included three teacher contracts, five hiring memos for coaches and an athletic director, and one coach resignation for boys C Team basketball.
The board moved on to discussion items. Abraham made note to the board that by the time of the next board meeting, September 7, they will not have levy information from the Minnesota Department of Education. As such, the board will have to schedule an additional finance meeting before the next regular board meeting on September 21. Board member Bonner raised objection to the suggested date, wanting to give the board more time to look over the information before the next regularly scheduled meeting. The board agreed to schedule the finance meeting for Thursday, September 14.
The board moved on to discuss possible Capstone Topics for Superintendent Certification. Abraham defined the topics as those that “addresses a district issue, challenge, or opportunity, and an area of personal growth.” Abraham told the board that she needed to have an evaluation as superintendent, and suggested building a Capstone project into her evaluation. Board Chair Stillin asked the rest of the members to look into both the project and evaluation, and Board member Bonner raised questions regarding the process and mechanics of the evaluation. The board agreed to look into the ongoing evaluation process including the Capstone project and the setting of goals for future evaluations. Next the board discussed the MSBA self-evaluation, setting a meeting for 6:30 on September 7.
The board then discussed old business, approving handbooks for MNVA, Houston High School, Summit Learning Center, and Houston Elementary. The board also approved the district service agreement with Hiawatha Valley Education District for fiscal year 2018. Abraham told the board she worked with Hiawatha Valley to secure more hours for school psychologists for MNVA. Board member Carlson asked questions regarding the application of district money when working with HVED, and Abraham explained that the district’s special education program required the support. Carlson also asked if HVED had any effect on district taxes, and Abraham said that each individual school district within HVED would have to vote to approve any tax increase. The board then approved its MSBA Membership and approved four district policies after a second reading.
The board then moved to new business, giving five policies a first reading. Abraham noted that most of the new policies had to do with new information on graduation requirements. Board member Bonner requested more information on a policy regarding student promotion and retention to be presented at the next meeting. Following that, Superintendent Abraham suggested a change in venue for the welcome back dinner for district educators. After a short discussion, the agreed on moving it from Board member Evenson’s property to the town’s doughnut shop. Superintendent Abraham then thanked the board for their support as she attended her first superintendent certification meeting. Board member Bonner reported to the board from an article she read detailing changes due to the Every Student Succeeds Act. Abraham mentioned that, under the new ESSA situation, there will not be any labels regarding the top schools, instead focusing on schools that need the most aid.
The board voted to adjourn at 6:53 p.m. The Houston Public School Board will meet next for its regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m on Thursday, August 17 in the library of Houston Public High School.