Exeter-Milligan school board met on Monday, November 15th
in Exeter with twelve audience members.
Once the board worked through the consensus agenda they
heard a curricular update from social studies department Brian Murphy and
Jordan Marr. The teachers noted that they are covering the topics
required from LB399. (first required in the 2019-20 school year).
Many holidays are required to be covered by the district
including Martin Luther King Jr. day, Veteran’s Day, and Memorial Day.
“We give them the citizenship test at the end of their
seventh grade year and want them to be able to pass it by the end of their
senior year,” explained Marr. “After they have had a full year of civics
we give the test again.”
Murphy also shared with the board some of the changes
that were made to social studies requirements. “We are seeing a lot of
critical thinking skills,” explained Murphy.
He is finishing his master’s degree in history and will be
able to offer dual credit in history through Concordia University.
Marr gave an indepth curriculum report on his classes
including sixth and seventh grade history, and American Government.
After thanking the teachers for their report the board
reviewed several policies with no comments.
The board invited public comment and Murphy opened up about
the topic of cooping all sports and activities with Friend. “I still
believe this is a good option, the best option. At the very minimum we
need to consider fall sports.”
He talked about the advantages of having junior varsity
games and stronger teams. He emphasized the fact that “Competition is
good for kids, it helps raise your talent.”
The only negative he saw was the challenge of travelling for
practices, “I feel the positives outweigh them.”
Assistant Volleyball Coach Lisa Kanode agreed with Murphy
and added that there are low numbers of junior high students. She also
emphasized the importance that competition can play both on the court and as a
life skill in the future for students
Several students in attendance were also receptive to
cooping. Jozie Kanode noted that as a varsity player she often had to
play on junior varsity risking an injury. “Other activities would be
great as well like one act. . .we would have more plays and with more people we
would have to learn less lines.”
Olivea Swanson didn’t think that travelling would be a
hardship as she plays softball on the FC/E-M/F team and travels to Geneva for
practice during the season.
The board moved on to their agenda noting that Eric Milton
is the chairman of the negotiations committee for 2022-23 and will contact the
teacher representative Laura Steuben to start the process.
The board then responded to the sports cooperative
opportunities. Superintendent Paul Sheffield explained, “I asked to put
it on the agenda again to keep it on the forefront. I did inform the Friend
administration that we were going to talk about it but I didn’t hear anything
back from them.”
Chairman Adam Erdkamp opened the discussion, “I think we
have got to start looking at this.”
Board member Alan Vavra understood that “basketball was a
solid no from them – at least that is my take on it.”
Board member Kendra Jansky agreed, “I don’t know that our
basketball numbers are at a spot where we need to do that.”
“If we are going to talk about it we need to talk about all
activities,” added Board Member Paul Jurgensen.
Principal Laura Kroll added that the district didn’t have
one act this year, “because the kids are just spread so thin. . .having more
numbers would allow us to have those things for those kids that fit that
Erdkamp added, “I guess it sounds like to me we are willing
to talk about it.”
Vavra again reiterated his concerns about basketball, “I
don’t see it. I’m not saying I’m against it. But there is only one
way to find it out – if we could get volleyball that would be great. I
wouldn’t make basketball a deal breaker.”
Several board members expressed a concern that basketball
might be a sticking point for both districts.
Erdkamp noted that Superintendent evaluations are due
by December 1 and board members also received the 20-21 audit report for their
After hold a brief discussion on using the separation
incentive program to their advantage in improving the district the board
reviewed the playground replacement project.
Sheffield explained that a committee met with two companies
who presented several options “This is meeting a need with visual
impaired students we have.”
The bid also included some fence work, removal of the old
playground and cement work. The Creative Sites bid was $265,000 and will
eliminate the gravel on the playground which will also “elimate issues for the
visually impaired students who fall in the holes,” added committee member
After a discussion on funding for the project the board accepted
the bid from Creative Sites and also approved the Little Blue Natural Resources
District and Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District Hazard Mitigation Plan.
In their final action for the evening the board approved a
contract for Brandi Perez as the Language Arts instructor.
The next meeting was scheduled for December 15, 2021 at 7
p.m. in Milligan.