At the August R-P School Board meeting, it was brought forth by Superintendent Chuck Ehler the consideration of a school nurse for the new school facility. The district has never employed a nurse for this purpose and it was urged by resident Dana Thompson, a nurse and contracted instructor with the district, that stock of its needs, policies, and procedures be taken.
At the Monday, September 18 board meeting, Ehler provided a series of facts from other area school districts in regards to the matter. Currently, Chatfield, with an enrollment of 907 students, is the only school in Fillmore County to employ a nurse. Three part-time nurses are employed by Chatfield School District, despite the district being under the 1,000 pupil requirement imposed by the state for having a school nurse. Dover-Eyota and La Crescent School Districts are both above the requirement threshold and also employ nurses. Houston School District, despite having just 450 students, also employs a nurse.
Ehler indicated that at this time, Thompson is not interested in putting in time training for the position. However, she has asked the district to give consideration to the health assessment. Thompson explained that the assessment would help to provide the structure for policies and procedures that staff and at some point, a school nurse would work off of. Items that would be detailed in these policies and procedures could cover medication administration per government guidelines, immunizations, allergies, Individualized Education Programs and Section 504 Civil Rights Discrimination codes.
“The foundation is policies and procedures; making sure the school is in line with all the legal guidelines and recommendations,” said Thompson. “An assessment would give us a laundry list of what we have and would help with identifying gaps. It’s a good place to start.” She also suggested that after the assessment, she could come back to the board with additional options.
In other old business, the board rescinded an August motion and approval designating Harter’s as the district’s garbage and recycling provider. Ehler explained to the board that the district was “not aware of the fine print” within the contract providing for automatic renewal of services. He further indicated dismay that the current contract company, Waste Management, did not reach out to the district regarding the renewal.
Despite the contract end, in March of this year, and automatic renewal, Ehler stated he’d been able to negotiate a price that is comparable to the one offered by Waste Management. The new contract began September 12 and is for three years.
In new business, the board approved Change Orders #15 and #16 for the new school. Tim Robertson, of ICS Consulting, was on hand at the meeting to discuss the items. Change Order #15 was detailed at the August meeting and covers $64,892 in costs related to added retaining walls and benches, grading, code changes in the garage, power revisions in the tech area, stair coverings, among other things. Also included was a credit for intended fitness room flooring that was later changed to cost-saving Push Pedal Pull flooring.
Change Order #16, for $53,571, included further detail work and adjustments including metal frames, an added exterior sign base, banner supports in the elementary gym, a new printer room, and added stone veneer for the ramp landscape bed. Both change orders were approved by the board.
The board, upon recommendation by the Minnesota Department of Education, also certified the maximum levy for 2018. The final levy will be certified in December.
Other housekeeping for the evening included approving the Hiawatha Valley Education District (HVED) Long-Term Facilities Maintenance 10-Year Plan. The plan, required to be approved by all 13 members of the education district, permits HVED to move forward with an opportunity to explore their facility needs. Outreach and services for HVED has been increasing with expanded age ranges and vocational training.
An agreement with the Hiawatha Valley Mental Health was also approved by the board. R-P Schools has been working with the center for the past four years.
During special reports, Superintendent Ehler was pleased to report the district’s enrollment figures are up to 660 from the projected 634 student. “I’m happy to see the increase,” said Ehler.
It was noted that the district is experiencing a good start to the year in the new facility. Some frustrations were noted with drop off and pick up arrangements. Ehler stressed that the district will continue working on the issue. For now, the district will be limiting drop off/pick up at the front twice during the day, rerouting vehicles to the rear doors. “It seems to be going well,” added Ehler.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Monday, October 16, at 5:30 p.m., in the Forum Room. The public is encouraged to attend.