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Rushford-Peterson school board looks at district goals at monthly meeting

Fri, Nov 21st, 2008
Posted in Education

It was a time to get philosophical as the Rushford-Peterson school board discussed district goals at the last regular meeting, November 17.

Superintendent Chuck Ehler had previously informed the board that staff had been surveyed for their thoughts about the current goals, and now it was the board's turn. Members were to come prepared to discuss.

Board chair John Nitecki interjected early on that he favors goals that are realistic and easily measurable, and that this requirement made it difficult for him to formulate district goals. "How can you tell when you've met a goal?" he asked rhetorically.

Daniel Munson said that he'd like to see the facilities goal moved higher on the list from it's current position at third behind issues like communication and curriculum. Munson said that as a board member, he's more comfortable working on issues like facilities because he feels he knows less than teachers when it comes to things like curriculum.

Jim Kitchens agreed that many items on the goals list seemed like "in-house" items best handled by staff and administrators. He sees one of the board's jobs as helping promote the district, to let people know "what's going on in the classrooms, as well as in athletics."

Kitchens also encouraged the board to start working on the operating levy now. The current levy will expire in two years.

George Ingram also thought the district could be more proactive in promoting itself, and mentioned two things-the fact that the district is not operating at a deficit and the tremendous financial support provided by the Booster Club-as sources of pride.

Greg Smith emphasized his belief that "everything is driven by enrollment," and complimented Ehler on his communications with district students and parents who choose not to enroll at R-P.

Eric Thompson mentioned curriculum, particularly business courses, as a priority and was pleased with the progress recently. High school principal Shane McBroom, with his background in business, has developed several new courses and the district continues to offer concurrent enrollment courses with nearby institutions of higher learning.

Roger Metz mentioned the importance of the Rushford-Peterson community thinking "more as a region-southeastern Minnesota-rather than an isolated community."

Ehler took copious notes during the discussion and announced that he'd incorporate the material into the current goals and present it at the next meeting.

Good-bye to

Coach Reinhardt

The board remained philosophical during the official acceptance of the resignation of longtime football coach, Jim Reinhardt. After some joking around about not accepting the resignation so Reinhardt would have to stay, the board voted to accept it.

Ehler said he found it "difficult to pay appropriate tribute to Mr. Reinhardt," and offered his "deepest congratulations, thanks and gratitude" for the 23 years Reinhardt has coached R-P football. Ehler added that Reinhardt's success wasn't simply based on coaching but also on the "relationships and camaraderie " he built among his players.

"Tough to follow a legend," commented Kitchens.

Reinhardt had an impressive 189 wins/ 65 losses during his tenure, for a winning average of .744.

Dental Savings

Ehler presented his findings that the district will save money by changing to Assurant, a new dental insurance carrier, which matches the current coverage at a 13.3% savings.


Nitecki has promoted the idea of "paperless" school board meetings, calling attention to the piles of papers and forms generated by each meeting. He is currently on a board that is moving toward "paperless" and also knows of numerous school boards in the area that have already taken that step.

But how do you do it?

Ehler presented a couple of plans where the board would be provided leased laptops which would contain all the necessary materials for each meeting. A demo of this type of meeting could take place in January or February, according to Ehler.

Several members have favored the idea of receiving their information packets via email rather than traditional mail, which would reduce the amount of paper used.

Nitecki explained that his idea involved specialized software and a secure website available to the board where they could conduct business using laptops, presumably either their own or leased from the school.

More thought and research will take place.

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