The Mabel-Canton School Board held a regular monthly meeting on January 18. All members were present (Jason Marquardt, Diane Wilder, Cristal Adkins, Superintendent Gary Kuphal, Traci Livingood, Dustin Tollefsrud, Chris Miller, and Mark Wiedemann). Also participating were Student Representative Emily Carolan, Principal Michelle Wiedemann and Lisa Halverson.
Kuphal led a discussion on what the school district could or should do regarding finding a superintendent for the upcoming school year. He said, “Here’s what I would suggest. That I sit down with the three board members on the Negotiations Committee and discuss some possibilities for the superintendent position for next year… You’ve asked if I would be interested in coming back, and I have said yes. I have to be honest that I’m not ready to make that commitment at this point.”
Kuphal said statewide, many school districts are searching for superintendents, and he summarized, “There’s going to be a real shortage.” He also said that five years ago, when Mabel-Canton did a search to fill the superintendent vacancy, very few candidates came forward. Because of this, he suggested not performing such a search at this time. He asked that he have the opportunity to meet with the Negotiations Committee, to discuss all options, including having Kuphal remain as Mabel-Canton’s Superintendent. He said this way, the full board could make a decision in February on how to proceed. The board voted to table the issue for now.
Kuphal brought up Mabel-Canton’s Pay Equity Report, which he said is compiled every three years. Overall, he stated, “It appears we are in full compliance,” but he added that an error was discovered in how the staff demographics were recorded. The board chose to table the issue until the error can be corrected. The board will review the report at the February meeting.
Student Representative Emily Carolan gave a verbal update, saying that because of the recent return from the holiday break, there aren’t a lot of events to report upon. But she highlighted a few, stating, “The Spelling Bee and Knowledge Bowl kids just competed… And this Thursday, we are going to the Spring Grove movie theater for our end-of-the-quarter rewards. And we would like to give out a big ‘thank you’ to the Mabel Lions Club because they donated money to pay for every student’s admission into the movie.”
Principal Wiedemann elaborated that the place winners from the Spelling Bee were champion Garrett Peter (fifth grade), second place Casey Wangsness (sixth grade), and third place Shawn Swenson (eigth grade). She said the champion, Garrett Peter, will go on to the next level of competition. She also explained that the competition combined students in grades five through eight, rather than competing in individual grade levels.
Principal Wiedemann also discussed the recent meeting of the Calendar Committee, and some proposed changes to the academic calendar for this year. She said the proposed changes result in a total of 184 days for teachers, and 172 student days. The change would allow for the early end to the school year due to the ongoing facility project. She stated, “So we’re getting out early with this (kids). Last day for seniors stayed the same, the 25th. Last day of school is the 27th. We want to know if that June 3 would remain the graduation date.” The board voted to approve the changes as proposed.
The previously approved fundraising request from the junior class was discussed, since a change was proposed. The board approved the change to allow it to be a drive-through meal.
The board’s next meeting will be February 15 at 6 p.m. The public is welcome.