Administrators report school year ‘closed well’ at Chatfield

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS Sixth grade teacher Jodie Daniels and some of her sixth grade students present an update on the Genius Hour projects that the students have done and are doing.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Superintendent Ed Harris declared during the June Chatfield School Board meeting on Wednesday, June 5, that the district’s 2018-2019 school year had “closed well” and its elementary principal, Shane McBroom, and high school principal, Randy Paulson, concurred.

Paulson added that this year’s graduating class represented every single member of the class – that 100 percent of the students had graduated – and of that, he was proud. Board member F. Mike Tuohy – grandfather of three seniors — commented, “Graduation was phenomenal.”

Paulson stated, “A final congratulations to the Chatfield Class of 2019. We wish you well on your journey.”

School activities are ongoing, even after the year’s conclusion. Sixth grade students are planning continuations of their Genius Hour projects – Olivia McBroom, Katryn Johnson and Rebecca Copeman held a Kwik Trip Milk Moola collection that garnered 14,429 total milk tops and caps that brought in $893.35, and they’re going to hold a run/walk for diabetes research next month.

It was also noted the high school track and relay teams still have state competitions to attend.

2019-2020 budget

The board took action on the 2019-2020 budget that has been approved by the Minnesota Department of Education. Board Chair Amy Jeffers read the broken-down listing of departmental allocations, citing that the general fund has expenditures of $9,511,223, and revenues are expected to be $9,654,623.

Harris remarked, “Right now, we’re going to be about $77,000 in the black, and that might sound like a lot, but with a budget of $10 million, it’s not as large as it seems. Our shortfall will be projected at about $100,000 to $250,000. A legislative update…the legislative session is over, and the general education formula has been increased to 2 percent this year and 2 percent next year. It doesn’t help us keep up with inflationary costs because had they decided on 3 percent and 3 percent, that would have helped, but this is about what we expected.”

Administrative reports

In his report, Paulson noted that the district is bidding farewell to several instructors and staff members, including Dave Hinck, Lindsey Olson, Zach Slowiak, Kristy Cook, Sarah Palmer, Nan Lessor, Naomi McCullough, and retirees Julie Young, Karyl Lyon, Sharon Manahan and Kathy Hanson.

He added that the district owes its appreciation to the Chatfield Commercial Club for its sponsorship of the annual senior banquet, to the Chatfield Lions Club, Root River State Bank and Rick Bell State Farm Insurance and the Chatfield staff for making the annual academic banquet happen, as “a lot of awards were given out at the academic banquet.”

McBroom, in his report, welcomed the sixth graders and also spoke about the fourth graders’ pre-Memorial Day, May 23, trip to the Chatfield cemetery with members of the local veterans’ organizations after learning from Greg and Linda Forbes about how to show respect in a cemetery.

“Our walkathon raised about $10,000, and we’re hoping to create an outdoor learning space behind the school, maybe a butterfly garden or native grasses. The students walked for about 45 minutes, so it was a chance to get out and get some exercise, too,” he said.

Harris’s update involved the budget, but also dealt with sharing his appreciation of district staff as some of them depart and others remain in place to carry out their mission of educating students.

“All kinds of really, really cool things are happening at the elementary and high school, and if you scroll back through our Facebook page, you’ll be amazed at what students have done,” he said. “I want to thank Randy and Shane for guiding them. I also want to congratulate Shane for completing his first year as principal. He came to us late in the year – August is late if you’re a principal – but we’re lucky to have him. I wish all well to the people departing for different plans in life, and we’ve had a blessed time with these people.”

Other business

Other business on the agenda included approving the resolution establishing dates for filing affidavits of candidacy as July 30 through Aug. 13.

The board updated the resolution relating to the designation of the identified official with authority (IOWA) for MDE’s external user access recertification program. Harris and new business manager Trista O’Connor will be given authority to deal with MDE financial matters.

The board renewed the school district’s membership in the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL).

The board paused to give special recognition to retiring business manager Karyl Lyon, who has, according to Harris, been the district’s financial advocate, sorting through the thousands of dollars of revenue and expenditures, right down to the penny.

Harris said, “This is truly Karyl’s last meeting, and we want to commend you and thank you for your service.”

Consent agenda

 The consent agenda was rather lengthy – including personnel changes and annual designations. O’Connor was noted as designee for wire transfers, excess funds and bond payments.

The Chatfield News was designated the official newspaper; Root River State Bank, F&M Community Bank and Minnesota Liquid Asset Funds were designated as the official depositories and the board an entity authorization form to designate the superintendent and business manager as district representatives. Ratwick, Rozak, Maloney & Bartel was noted as the official legal counsel; and the board meeting date and time were set for the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the high school Forum room – with the exceptions of Jan. 1, 2020, exchanged for Jan. 8.

 Grade seven through junior varsity fall coaches were approved, including football coaches Tom Bance, Josh Berhow, Kyle Tollefson, Kirk Affeldt and Blake Carrier, and volleyball coaches Kathy Bernard, Kelsey Gwidt and April McBroom.

Finally, the food service contract with Taher, Inc., was renewed for one year.

The personnel roundup of resignations, job postings and hires included resignations of high school teacher Travis Bartels, preschool classroom assistant Lois Dokken, high school guidance counselor Lindsey Olson and junior high football coach Brian Neis.

Postings were approved for Bartels’ replacement, for a .25 full-time equivalent art teacher, and for an elementary school counselor.

New hires approved were high school paraprofessional and summer physical conditioning supervisor Adam Hurley, alternative learning program and social studies teacher Chad Olson and junior varsity dance coach Demery Little. Michele Thompson was hired as accounting payroll assistant and Sara Duxbury as high school guidance counselor.