The Exeter-Milligan School Board met Wednesday, April 16th
in the Milligan site band room.
Close to 50 patrons attended the meeting as one of the agenda topics included
combining all of the elementary which are currently housed at both the Exeter
and Milligan campuses.
After the meeting was opened the board addressed the topic that was of
immediate interest. Building and Grounds committee member Tim Pribyl
introduced the topic through his report on the building project. “Building and
grounds reviewed architects and have decided to work with the Clark Enerson
Company, the architects who built the Friend school addition.”
Pribyl wanted to make it clear, “We were asked by the architects why we didn’t
have the elementary in one building. There was no hidden agenda here, we
asked because the architect asked.”
Brent Moore, Vice President of the board, chimed in indicating that “The JPA
(Joint Public Agency) was a bad process. We would expect to have full
open meetings. We can do projects without a bond issue if we need to but
we feel that it is important to get all of the input from all of our patrons.”
Moore continued noting the many issues that will need to be
addressed, “We know that there are concerns including busing and transportation
costs and classroom time. We think it needs to be done quickly. . .we are
concerned that misinformation is getting out to the public. We ask that
we have the time, we will present all of the facts and all the options and give
the patrons the opportunity to respond.”
The building committee requested that Elementary Principal Laura Kroll prepare
a presentation on combining the elementary grades. Kroll gave a power
point presentation outlining the advantages for both the students and the
faculty together in one facility.
Kroll emphasized that combining all of the elementary would enhance the
students’ educational experience as well as improve the teacher’s relationships
by aiding in mentoring opportunities and providing better assistance with technology
After Kroll’s presentation there was time for public comment and questions.
Casey Pohl, currently the third grade teacher noted that, “When the
students come to Milligan in third grade there are some challenges in the
transition. I would like to make that transition easier for them.”
Moore noted that delayed maintenance at both
facilities need to be addressed, “For the past 20 years we should have
spent 8 million dollars improving our schools. We still have functioning
facilities but we haven’t kept them up like we should have.”
One parent in attendance, Robbie Petersen, asked, “Have you looked at the
option of having just one site?”
Superintendent Paul Sheffield responded, “We would have to make some
adjustments to fit everyone in one site. Would we have enough room for
preschool? Maybe not.”
When the board was asked directly if the elementary was moving to Milligan,
School Board President Sharon Kuska responded, “That decision has not been
made. We are looking at options with everything from disbanding and letting the
kids go where they want to go to keeping what we have with the two sites.”
The board did note that a lot of the expected costs in remodeling the current
facilities include updating the heating and ventilation systems which should
have been done 20 years ago. The board did not have any samples of
remodeling plans or estimated costs.
Kroll noted, ”We don’t have the facilities that some schools have but we have
the technology that most schools don’t.”
Another concern raised by the audience was the decreasing enrollment. It
was noted by an audience member that there was only one baby born this year in
the old Exeter school district.
After there were no more comments the board moved on to old business which
included the agenda item to combine the kindergarten through sixth grade at one
Board Secretary Annette Gloystein referred back to the Curriculum report given by Kroll and
commented, “I am concerned about why this curriculum report came through
the building and grounds committee and not the curriculum committee.” Where does curriculum come in? I’m lost.The board tabled a decision on this subject unanimously.
The next agenda item was in regards to the school discontinuing participation
in the free lunch program. Instead, the district would fund the program
in house and not have to abide by the portion and serving rules that the
government has set forth. There would be very little extra expenditure on
the part of the district.
Sheffield has been researching this option, “The State thinks that it could
affect our Title I funds but they aren’t sure. No one else in the State has
done this before. The school lawyer says it shouldn’t affect the funds. We
could try it for a year and see if we lose some of our funding and then go back
Kuska replied, “I’m hesitant to put any federal funds in jeopardy until we can
get answers to these questions.”
The board took no action on the school lunch funding.
Sheffield gave an update on the ESU 6 TYKE classroom. “A playground for 3
– 5 year olds is scheduled to deliver and install the first part of June in
Exeter on the east side of the elementary building. Kristi Most would be
the teacher and we can have 22 kids. The goal is a 50 50 mix of verified
and peer students. There will be no cost to patrons but there is an
The board declined requests from Meridian and Friend to co-op junior high
football as Exeter-Milligan has enough interested students to maintain a team.
The board approved construction bids on the renovation of the field events at
the Exeter site track. Work on new pole vault runways, a long jump runway, and
a large high jump/multi-purpose practice area will begin around Memorial Day.
The plan shows shows the field event renovation at the
Exeter-Milligan track in Exeter. The plan was designed by Midwest Tennis
and Track of Denison, IA.
The board approved contracts for a new art teacher, new K-12 Spanish teacher
and a new 5th grade teacher. Sheffield noted that if the board did not
combine the K-6 in one facility before the fall the district would need to hire
one additional teacher to fill in for both of the
positions left empty by the retirement of Audrey Betka-Magner and Bob Mahoney in Milligan.
The board finished the evening by entering in executive session to discuss
principal contracts. The school board will meet
again on May 14th at 8 p.m. in Exeter