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Chatfield School Board discusses Potter Center for the arts

Fri, May 21st, 2010
Posted in Education

Chatfield School Board member Lyman Hare discusses his upcoming resignation from the board at their meeting on Monday, May 17. Photo by Abby Stocker

Potter Center for the Arts, state funding, and a proposed walking path were all topics of discussion at the Chatfield School Board's meeting on May 17, 2010. All members except F. Mike Tuohy were present. Two students and adults representing the Chatfield FFA Chapter also attended to give a presentation on their experience with the FFA test plot last year.

Two spokesmen for Potter Center for the Arts, Michael Martin and Matt Opat, described recent progress made in reference to funding the center. Martin noted that current finances are being divided into three categories: capital funding, an endowment fund, and the operational budget. While the capital funding from the state did not make this year's budget cuts, Martin stated that while they "lost the battle, we've gone a long way to winning the war." Capital funds are designated for renovations and like projects. Endowment fund money, which will be used to fund operations at Potter in the future, is still being raised, while current funds in the operational part of the budget are strong. Martin then raised the possibility that the school use the center for events such as the school play or the Veteran's Day program. The board decided to wait until a user fee for the center has been established before contracting to use the facility for any school events.

Interim Superintendent Greg Ehresmann discussed updates on state education funding. According to Ehresmann, the state will make a "shift" in how funding is paid next year, resulting in a compromise that also gives the governor the authority to hold back payments to school districts in the same way that payments were withheld this spring. Instead of schools receiving 73 percent of their payments for a year that same year and 27 percent of payments during the next, the system will "shift" to a plan which pays schools 70 percent of their payments one year and 30 percent the next. Ehresmann did not expect that the school would be shortchanged the 27 percent for next year, but "will anticipate that, once again, schools with...reserves will receive delayed payments."

Miscellaneous other business items were conducted at the meeting. The board has received bids to construct a walking path along Burr Oak Street. Elementary Principal Craig Ihrke asked the board to consider a proposal by Elissa Johnsrud and Brenda Semmen, both kindergarten teachers, to participate in a job share next year, and the board gave Ihrke the go-ahead to work with the teachers on organizing the position. The board also passed a resolution placing Stacy Baum, Joseph Brandl, and Patricia Solum on unrequested leave of absence as a result of budget cuts. Board member Greg LaPlante informed those attending the meeting about upcoming Community Education programs, which have received record registration numbers for summer programs and already have around 160 registrations for the fall. LaPlante also noted that coaches and a coordinator have been hired for this year's Summer Recreation program, with more adult involvement this year than in the past. The board also enjoyed hearing about the Chatfield FFA Chapter's test plot results from last year. Corn from three different seed companies was grown, resulting in an average yield of 178 bushels per acre from their 24.5 acres. After selling their crop, the group made $8,786.59 net profit which they used for expenses, donations to Camp Courage, and a reserve fund for this year. The group intends to plant soybeans at the test plot this coming year.

The last day of school for Chatfield students will be June 4, 2010. This year's graduation ceremony will be June 6, 2010, at 1:30 p.m.

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