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Chatfield discusses salaries

Fri, Oct 2nd, 2009
Posted in Education

The Chatfield School Board met on Monday, September 21, in the new elementary school media center. All members were present.

Following the approval of the agenda and the accounts, Ms. Patricia Solum, a high school English teacher at Chatfield, and two students, Tia Gurtner and Melanie Ovel, gave a brief presentation detailing a trip that a group of Chatfield high school students took recently. The group spent seven days touring London, England, and Paris, France. Both the students and teacher stressed the value of the trip and the fun time they had. Solum concluded by expressing her hope that the trip would become a bi-annual opportunity for Chatfield students.

The board also discussed the two elementary buildings. Superintendent Don Hainlen mentioned how pleased they were with the attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new building, which included Representative Greg Davids and Senator Sharon Ropes. Additionally, the board discussed the time frame for awarding an asbestos abatement contract for the old building. According to the levy, the project must be completed and paid for by June 30, 2010. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) will not approve funds for the building until the asbestos abatement project is completed. The Chatfield City Council, Chatfield School Board, and Chatfield EDA will further discuss the situation at a joint meeting on September 28th at 5:30 p.m.

Superintendent Hainlen also brought up concerns over the H1N1 virus. Local schools have been cooperating during sporting events, asking athletes not to shake hands but to acknowledge each other by a thumbs-up or a nod. Dr. Hainlen mentioned that they are treating flu-like symptoms "like snow days" this year in that schools can cancel sporting events and not have them count as forfeitures.

Upcoming teacher negotiations were also a topic of discussion. The board reviewed the salaries of surrounding school districts and decided that Chatfield ranks among the highest paid, both for teachers with bachelor's and master's degrees. The board also compared the reserve amounts of area schools with their own. After mentioning the new elementary building and high school renovations, the board decided that raising salaries would be impractical for the district's long-term financial outlook.

High school Spanish teacher Julie Gloss also attended the meeting to request the board's approval for her application to the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program. If selected, Gloss would spend the 2010-2011 school year teaching English in Mexico. A Mexican teacher would take her place teaching Spanish in Chatfield for the year. Gloss explained the school's involvement and pointed out that six community members have already committed to being liaisons for the Mexican teacher during his/her time in Chatfield. The board enthusiastically approved her proposal.

Karen Sass and Sarah Costello, members of the Chatfield Student Senate, attended the meeting to inform the board of the Senate's involvement during homecoming week, September 14-18. The Senate sponsored several activities during the week, including a girls' football game on Wednesday, a bonfire following the football game on Friday, and a dance on Saturday. The entire week went quite well, with the only concerns arising over the elementary students' absence from the parade on Friday. However, due to difficulties in bussing caused by the new location of the elementary school, a pep fest was held for the elementary students instead.

The board will hold a special meeting on October 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the high school to discuss the joint meeting with the city council and EDA. Their next regular meeting will be held on October 19, 2009.

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