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Chatfield welcomes new superintendent

Fri, Jul 23rd, 2010
Posted in Education

New superintendent of schools Edward Harris discusses building project updates with the Chatfield School Board on July 19, 2010. Photo by Abby Stocker

The Chatfield School Board welcomed new superintendent of schools Edward Harris to their regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 19, 2010. Harris publicly acknowledged the warm welcome he has received from the community, noting that he is "very excited to be here" and has experienced nothing but good from the people and facilities so far. In his time in the district this month, he has placed a priority on meeting people, working on improving communication within the district, and more clearly defining individuals' responsibilities, goals which he believes are "going very well."

The board also welcomed back a teacher previously placed on unrequested leave of absence due to budget cuts. Board members unanimously voted to rescind the action which cut the position of Patricia Solum, a high school English teacher. Solum's position is being restored due to the resignation of another staff member.

Superintendent Harris presented the board with some information concerning the vacancy left on the school board after Lyman Hare's resignation last month. Because of the close proximity to the school board election, the board is not required to appoint someone new to fill the position for the remainder of Hare's term. Board member F. Mike Tuohy pointed out that with only around 90 days until the election, it would almost be a waste of the appointee's time to serve on the board. Ultimately, the board decided "to continue to operate in the present fashion," in the words of Harris. Tuohy did, however, invite anyone interested in being on the board to attend future meetings in the time before the election. Board member Matt McMahon urged community members considering running for the school board to submit their names, as three of the board positions are up for re-election this fall.

Harris also shared his impressions of the building projects in the district, noting that the one-year walk-through of the elementary building went "pretty well" and that they are reviewing warranty items in the new building. The elementary school's softball fields have also started construction. Harris noted that in talking with the contractor, R.A. Morton, about the drainage problem at the new school, the district was advised to wait a year before pursuing tiling in the problem area as the site still may be settling. After a year, the issue may partially resolve itself, eliminating the need to rip up the new school's "beautiful" lawn and sidewalks. Chase updated the board on the high school restroom remodeling project, which is almost complete. "They were terrible," Chase remarked. McMahon agreed, saying that it is "amazing, the difference" that the remodel has made.

In other new business, the board acknowledged donations and grants made by various community members, organizations, and businesses in the 2009-2010 school year. Over thirty groups and individuals contributed, with total donations and grants totaling $49,449.50. Chase found the total "amazing," noting that the district "definitely wants to thank all those who donated." The district has also recently sent ballots to teachers to receive their consensus on the issue of prep periods in the new flex scheduling program. Around six or seven teachers will have both preps on one day, while the other block day will have no prep periods. So far, no teachers seem to have a problem with this arrangement.

The next regular meeting of the Chatfield School Board will be held Tuesday, August 17, 2010, giving the board an extra day to receive names of school board candidates before announcing the candidate list at their meeting.

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