Friday, October 20, 2017

Exeter-Milligan School Board Meets

All of the chairs in the Milligan were filled for the Wednesday October 11th Exeter-Milligan School Board meeting.

After working through the consensus agenda and treasurer’s report, the board approved the September 13 meeting minutes along with the budget hearing and property tax request hearing minutes.

Superintendent Paul Sheffield gave the curriculum update on state testing.  He explained that the district has received four or five editions of the results from the state because of mistakes and updates on the results.

According to Sheffield, the state has chosen a different vendor for the testing because of the issues.  “Everything will be totally different this year.  We are heading in a good direction with the state choosing NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) which is the same vendor we use for MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing.”

The board moved on to review two of the current school policies.  Board president Sharon Kuska informed the audience that the board plans to review a few policies each month.  This month they reviewed the policy on Denying Access and Harassment.

Board member Kendra Oldehoeft asked about including tools or resources to help the students understand the levels of violation in the harassment policy.

Sheffield explained that there was “nothing written in the policy per se.  If you have something specific in the policy it makes it difficult to change.”

He went on to explain that the school counselor, Denise Kovanda, goes to each classroom discussing issues with the students and Media Specialist Lisa Soukup reviews cyber bullying with each class.

“One of the reasons we went from a part-time counselor to a full time counselor was so she could go into each classroom once a week,” explained Sheffield.

Kovanda was present and gave several examples of the training that is taking place in the classrooms including the use of special guests, teaching skills for dealing with bullies and recognizing bullying. She noted, “It’s nice for them to hear this from other sources, not just us all the time.”

The board entered into executive session at 8:18 to discuss a situation of possible litigation.  Since the crowd was so large the board retired to an adjacent room until 8:26.

After returning from executive session, Sheffield gave the building project update noting that “we truly are getting closer.  Trane came through and did a walk through.  There are just a few thing left.”

The board asked several questions about the locker room remodel in Exeter and also the sewer issues at the Milligan site.  Sheffield explained that due to the original sewer construction, they have not been able to see what the issue is with cameras.  The only option now, according to Sheffield, is to break up the floor in the boys locker room to see if they can find the problem.

The board discussed a football cooperative for high school with Friend.  After a lengthy discussion, along with comments from the audience and the football players in attendance, the board voted unanimously to enter into a cooperative agreement with Friend for the next two years.

In new business, Sheffield presented a dual health insurance option for the district. If employees choose a higher deductible insurance the difference in premium will go into a Health Savings Account (HSA) for them.  The main decision to be made with this change was when to draw out the funds for the HSA.

The board unanimously approved an unpaid leave request for one teacher before discussing an upcoming conference for board members and a topic for the November 8th meeting in Exeter at 7 p.m.

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