By Mary L. Allen
At the July 14, 2021, Chatfield School Board meeting, board members present were: Josh Thompson, Matt McMahon (virtually), Jill Harstad, Tom Keefe, and Lanny Isensee, as well as Principals Shane McBroom, and Eric Nelson, Superintendent Ed Harris, and Trista O’Connor, business manager. Board member Katie Priebe was absent.
Under the consent agenda the June 9, 2021, meeting minutes were approved, Chatfield News Co. was designated the official newspaper for FY 2021-22 and employee activity passes were approved for the next school year. Also approved was the agreement with HVED to purchase services, an application for dissolution of cooperative sponsorship for Alpine Ski/Girls and the job posting for an eighth grade boys basketball coach. New hires approved were Bayli Henderson, intervention position; Carter Duxbury, high school summer school teacher; Jayna Harstad, ECSE/elementary EBD teacher; and Kate Johnson, long-term sub for first grade (maternity leave). The following resignations were approved: Haley Brackett, pre-kindergarten teacher and Pam Flattum, elementary para.
Elementary Principal Shane McBroom reported that Camp Invention was a success with the building full of creative thinking and building. Summer school programing started in June and another session will be held later this summer.
Eric Nelson, the new high school principal, informed the board of a new initiative for southeast Minnesota districts. Over the course of two years the school will participate in a two-year program examining college and career readiness indicators. The first year will establish a base line and from this data, program course offerings will be developed. The district will learn about and implement ways to utilize the data to improve student experience and success. A new course, Business Communications, has been added to the seventh and eighth grade schedule this fall. These courses will provide students with a business-focused set of communication and technology skills.
Superintendent Harris discussed the June Activities Committee meeting, where it was decided that there will be an annual/singular parent meeting for all activities at the beginning of the school year. The format would be somewhat different from the past in that it may also include a meal and speaker for this required meeting. Athletes and coaches would then meet before each of their seasons. He also officially welcomed Principal Nelson to the district. Nelson has been in the district getting acclimated since the end of June and Superintendent Harris is excited to be working with him in the coming school year.
Harris recommended and the board approved that the district write off all negative lunch accounts from the last several years. Part of the issue was incomplete records caused by the change of a computer program that made it difficult to track accounts. This has all been resolved now with a change in management systems. A letter has been sent to all parents explaining this situation and that from here on in, any negative accounts over $200 will be given to a collection agency. However, no child will be denied a lunch or breakfast because of a negative account.
The Teacher Development and Evaluation plan from 2011 was updated with no significant content or procedural changes. The contract for non-certified employees of 2.5% increase for this year, and next year was approved along with an updated salary for Business Manager Trista O’Connor to bring her more in line with comparable school business managers.
The business office staff underwent a two-day operations review with Region V staff this spring, and from this review it was concluded that with the increased work load of COVID budget management that will continue for two years and to improve efficiency in the business office, a new .75 position should be added. This was approved by the board and an evaluation of its viability and effectiveness will be reassessed in fiscal year 2024.
The Chatfield Youth Softball Association would like to build a softball concession/storage shed near the school’s softball fields. They would provide half of the needed funds through donations with the district providing the other half. The Finance and Facility Committee recommended this proposal and the board approved their recommendation.
The board also approved a pay rate increase for junior high officials from $45 to $65. This has not increased in many years and will be competitive with other schools. Lastly, the board acknowledged the donations and grants of $22,409.95 given to the school in 2020-2021
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be August 11 at 7 p.m. in the high school Forum Room.