At the December 8, 2021, Chatfield School Board meeting, Josh Thompson, Jill Harstad, Katie Priebe and Lanny Isensee were present as well as Principals Shane McBroom and Eric Nelson, Superintendent Ed Harris, Business Manager Trista O’Connor, and Lorri Lowery, administrative assistant. Matt McMahon and Tom Keefe joined remotely through Zoom.
Josh Thompson received the oath of office for his new term that will run until January 2023. There were no district patrons present for the annual Truth and Taxation Hearing but Superintendent Harris gave a brief summary of the budget and it will be posted on the school website. The board later approved the certification of the final levy payable for the fiscal year 2022 for $3,095,270.94.
Student senate representatives informed the board that they will again be selling candy canes as one of the holiday projects. The Snowball Dance date has not been set yet because of conflicts with extra-curricular activities. They are hoping to find a date in February that will work.
Jason Boynton of Smith and Schafer Associates presented the board with the annual audit. He reported that the district had an unmodified clean opinion audit. He preceded to go over all areas of the audit for the board. Harris thanked Jason and Business Manager Trista O’Connor for their work on the audit.
Shane McBroom, elementary principal, updated the board on the Math Curriculum Committee that is meeting to determine what options they will have for new math books or materials as the present text is no longer available. He reminded the board that the Holiday Concert date is Monday, January 10 at the elementary school. This year the staff and students are working with the Chatfield Alliance to decorate Christmas trees in the park downtown. Staff put lights on them last week and this week students will decorate them with ornaments they made during their Gopher Time activity.
High School Principal, Eric Nelson, discussed the work he is doing with a team of staff members examining the current instructional delivery model. The team is looking at a wide-range of options for developing a sustainable model that serves the students well, maximizes resources, and meets statutory requirements. The team will eventually come forward with recommendations after a thorough study of the options available. Nelson is in the process of auditing the student handbook and the discipline matrix. When there are two separate documents guiding responses to student discipline matters, uncertainty and challenges may arise if they are not aligned. He is working on a student management plan that is consistent and allows for clarity and transparency.
Both Nelson and Harris congratulated the football team on its State Football Championship and thanked the community and fans for the support shown. Harris presented the board with a revised COVID plan that will hopefully result in students who may have been in close contact, to remain in school instead of quarantining at home. The new plan will allow for students in the high school who were in close contact to wear a mask in school for 10 days. If an elementary class has a positive case, all students in that class would wear masks for 10 days. After much discussion, the board approved the revised plan.
Under consent items the board approved the meeting minutes for November 10, 2021. The following hires were approved: Tate Allen, Valleyland assistant and Nicole Johnson, Open Gym supervisor. Resignations approved were: Jason Voeltz, junior high baseball coach and Julie Pepin, elementary special education para. Also approved was the posting for a junior high baseball coach.
Other action taken by the board was the Resolution Establishing Combined Polling Places. In years where a traditional election is not held, school board voting would take place at the high school. The board approved the Recommendations for Reductions in Programs and Positions and Reasons Therefore. This is an annual action in December in the event that reductions need to be made. The board tabled maintenance staffing for school and city ball fields. A Joint Powers Committee met with the city and the consensus from the meeting was that the two could not share a maintenance/grounds position but that the school district would continue to explore staffing of its own to the extent that all seven community ball fields would be maintained by the school district with financial assistance from the city.
The board approved moving forward on a hearing for a tax abatement bond proposal to revamp the parking areas and traffic flow at the high school and the elementary school for safety purposes. This would also include new lighting. The hearing is set for January 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school district office. Lastly the board approved the World’s Best Workforce summary.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on January 12 in the high school Forum room at 7 p.m.