Superintendent Krin Abraham informed the Houston School Board at their meeting on February 11 that the school had been approached about the possibility of purchasing the St. Mary’s Catholic Church building. Abraham told the board that the church will be available after June 30; the church’s roof has been recently done and the kitchen and bathrooms are handicapped accessible and up to code. Abraham suggested that the sanctuary could be used to hold MNVA offices using the mobile cubicles moved from the high school to the location. The building would provide additional storage and meeting areas, while the current MNVA area at the high school could be reclaimed for additional classroom area. High school principal Michael Mangan shared that the high school could definitely use the extra rooms; currently some teachers are sharing rooms. Board member Arlin Peterson suggested having the building appraised before seriously considering the purchase. Three representatives from St. Mary’s will be attending the next regular board meeting on February 18 to discuss the offering.
The girls basketball team has returned from quarantine and is playing again. Although the county showed a blip of 54.65 for county numbers (the highest percent increase in the state), the zip codes numbers for the school are at single digit as of February 11. The school will remain in hybrid in a model now known as 4-1 hybrid, meaning four days in person with one day online per week.
Most onsite staff have received their first COVID vaccine shot; MNVA staff supposedly will be contacted by their counties to get theirs. Superintendent Abraham commented, “Houston County Public Health is doing a fantastic job!”
MCAs are to be administered this year in all schools. This may prove an issue for MNVA since testing sites are not readily available and most of their teachers have not received their COVID vaccine yet.
Schools have been told not to make any plans for proms or graduation ceremonies at this time.
If the executive order is no longer in place, distance learning cannot be mandated by MDE. If schools want to continue with a form of distance learning, they may need to complete the online school application; schools have been allowed leeway during the pandemic which will not happen when it’s over.
The CRF (Coronavirus Relief Fund) funding amount for the ESSER 2 (Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief) will be shared with schools around March 1. There is a potential for additional funding as well. This funding could be used for indoor air quality control such as redoing the univent system at the high school. The cost would likely be 10 times the amount of the funding, however.
With the resignation of Superintendent Abraham effective June 30, Tom Stilin and Mimi Carlson will be meeting with Abraham to go through the job description line by line and update the superintendent’s responsibilities. Stilin will be contacting MSBA for additional assistance. Abraham had taken on additional responsibilities not in the current job description; some of those responsibilities may need to be shifted to others.
In other business the board:
•Learned that Abraham will be presenting to Gene Pelowsi’s committee in an effort to make it possible for other schools to allow their students to take career tech classes in Houston’s MNVA CRE without those schools losing funding;
•Adopted the 2021-2022 school calendars; the onsite schools will use a “loose” calendar with school beginning on September 7 and ending June 8;
•Learned that the high school scoreboard will need to be replaced; this will be discussed further in the February 18 meeting;
•Accepted donations from Houston Athletic Boosters, American Legion Post 423, Houston Hurricane Foundation, and AcenTek.
The next meeting will be February 18, 2021, at 6 p.m. in the high school media center and streamed online. Citizens are welcome to attend and encouraged to comment on the website with questions and concerns.