The July Chatfield School Board of Directors meeting was less than 20 minutes long, thanks to the reprieve summer gives to staff and administration. However, the board did hear reports and updates from the superintendent and the high school principal and handled some housekeeping matters.
Chatfield Superintendent Ed Harris spoke about state changes to schools’ funding and levy authority, or the ability to raise or lower levies like cities do.
“In a nutshell,” he said, “some schools were given a lot of operating levy authority, and in our situation, it was relatively minor. We’ll increase revenue…and it’ll expand our levy by about $77,000. There’s nothing formal about it until the August meeting, though.”
He added, “It’ll be nice to have some autonomy. This is in the (budget) projections I sent out for the next couple years.”
Harris also explained the annual review of district policies – normally done in December – is now going to be done in July, ahead of the school year’s bustle.
He also mentioned how neighboring school districts offer free home game passes to senior citizen residents of those districts, so he endorsed changing Chatfield’s admission policy to match.
Finally, Harris recommended an arrangement partnering the district with St. Paul Lutheran School to allow the parochial school’s junior high students to participate in the public school’s 2014-2015 extracurricular activities.
“I think it would be a good partnership and an avenue for cooperation,” he concluded.
The board agreed that cooperating with St. Paul Lutheran to welcome students to participate in athletics and other activities is beneficial to both entities and approved the activities participation agreement for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
High school Principal Randy Paulson related he had attended training sessions on school violence and safety issues and a workshop encompassing grading systems. The grading system workshop addressed placing 80 to 90 percent of the importance on a student’s tests, quizzes and projects, and the remaining percentage on the work done to prepare for those tests.
“Grading is becoming more and more visible when it comes to the grading system…it’s becoming more transparent,” he remarked, pointing out the district needs to be aware of the significance of a grade on a student’s work in relation to state requirements.
The board passed the first and second reading of policy revisions, approved the support staff contract for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, voted to appoint Sue Tangen as school age child care coordinator, and thanked those who had been generous to the district by donating a total of $27,190.36 throughout the 2013-2014 school year.
The consent agenda included approving spring sports coaches for the 2014-2015 school year, including the resignation of Craig Ihrke as B squad baseball coach. The board will post the B squad baseball coaching position.
The board accepted the resignations of elementary teacher Krissy Overland and paraprofessional Nathan Whitacre, posting the paraprofessional position.
Approval was also given for the hire of elementary teachers Kristine Swenson and Kimberly King and elementary custodian Dan Murphy.
A long-term substitute art instructor, Abigail Potter, was hired.
Finally, the agreement with Hiawatha Valley Education District to purchase education services for the coming school year was approved.
The next school board meeting is set for Monday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Chatfield High School media center.