At the January 12, 2022, school board meeting, Katie Priebe, Matt McMahon, Tom Keefe, and Lanny Isensee were present as well as principals Shane McBroom, Eric Nelson, Superintendent Ed Harris, and Trista O’Connor, business manager and Lorri Lowery, administrative assistant. Josh Thompson joined remotely through Zoom and Jill Harstad was absent.
Jeff Seeley, of Ehlers, a public finance advisor, was present to answer any questions about the tax abatement proposal. The Chatfield School District is proposing the construction of parking lot improvements, including lighting, mainly for the high school and a smaller project at the elementary school. The costs of the project would be approximately $1,750,000 with debt service of approximately $140,000 a year for 15 years. There was time given for public comment and no one came forward. The board approved the resolution to approve the abatement and also authorized the issuing of bonds for the project. Bonds will be issued on February 9, 2022. The estimated tax increase would be $24 a year on a $150,000 house and $.28-$.38 increase per acre for farm land. Many owners of homestead property will qualify for a refund, based on their income and total property taxes. This will decrease the net effect of the proposed bond issue for many property owners. Estimated tax impact includes 70% reduction due to the School Building Bond Agricultural Credit. Average value per acre is the total assessed value of all land and buildings divided by total acres. Homestead examples exclude the house, garage, and one acre, which has the same tax impact as a residential homestead. The levies will not start until the year 2023.
With the new year, nominations were called for board officers. Nominations forwarded by the board were to keep the existing officers of chair, Lanny Isensee; vice chair, Katie Priebe; clerk, Josh Thompson and treasurer, Jill Harstad. The board also agree to keep the same committee assignments.
Activities at the elementary reported by principal McBroom were the decorating of Christmas trees in the park by each grade level, Elks Hoop Shoot, a K-3 Christmas Concert, Spelling Bee for grades five through eight and the VFW Illustrating America Contest.
High school principal, Eric Nelson, gave an in-depth report of the instructional models that he and a team of high school staff members are working on. The goal is to strengthen the instructional program by looking at the format of the instructional day and giving students more choices so they can make decisions for their four-year plan.
LuAnn Kleven, Community Education director, reported that new software has been purchased that will improve parent communication and has a more efficient process for checking in and out and for billing. Parents will be able to receive invoices and pay bills via the mobile app. Plans are to have this up and running by February 1. Community Education and the Chatfield Alliance have teamed up to create a catalog to promote classes, activities and opportunities for youth and adults in the community. The plan is to have a fall and a winter/spring catalog that will be mailed to all households and businesses with a 55923 zip code. A digital copy will also be available on the school website and Facebook.
Activities director, Dan Shindler, gave a report on fall and winter activities and talked about the possibilities of a conference change for some schools. One of the big issues this year for sports is the shortage of officials and the necessity of switching games to accommodate this shortage. It is a week by week process.
Under consent items the board approved the December 8, 2021, meeting minutes. Also approved were the following new hires: Braden Thompson, Valleyland assistant; McKenzie Rowland, preschool assistant sub; Abbie Nosbisch, weight room supervisor; Kaitlyn Meyer, co-coach Math Wizards; Lisa Chiglo, first grade teacher; Anna Olson, elementary intervention teacher; Alex Wright, Valleyland assistant and Shelley Harden, preschool sub. The following assistant spring coaches were approved: baseball, Tom Bance; softball, Kirk Affeldt and Brianna Harmening; track and field, Damian Mickelson, Scott Schmaltz, Barb Storsveen, Niki Debuhr, Jenny Bradt, Maddie Kammer and Shane Fox. The resignation of first grade teacher Angela Fitzgerald was approved along with the job posting for that position. Also approved was the resignation of Jamie Johnson as junior high softball coach, the job posting for his position, and the meeting minutes of the January 5, 2022, special meeting.
Under action items the board approved the annual payments to the city of Chatfield for CCTV ($15,000) and streaming video ($5,000). The 2022-2023 school year calendar was approved and the monthly meeting dates, the second Wednesday of each month, will remain the same. Two COVID-related actions were approved by the board. One is the OSHA ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard).This is the federal employee vaccination requirement for employers with over 100 employees. The Supreme Court is still considering this. However, the district will prepare for the possible implementation by adopting the corresponding policy developed by MSBA (Minnesota School Board Association). Pending a decision by the Supreme Court, the district will then prepare processes for employees to prove their vaccination status or schedule weekly tests and wear masks. The second issue regarding COVID-19 is that there are new CDC guidelines for early return from isolation for positive cases. MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) is reviewing the guidance and will provide an update to school districts sometime during the week of January 10. The district will wait for MDH guidance before determining any changes.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be February 9 at 7 p.m. in the high school Forum Room.