The Mineral Point School Board held a special meeting Monday morning to address one agenda item, a proposed trip to Mexico by Spanish teacher Jennifer Wahlin.
Video of the meeting can be obtained here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzfYIbuXZBU&feature=youtu.be
Absent from the meeting were Jeff Basting, Glenn Kinch, and Matt Lindsey.
The proposal passed 4-0 with Lisa Hay, Larry Dolphin, Julie Stephenson, and Larry Steffes voting yes.
Wahlin informed the Board she has taken students on this trip before with the same company while teaching at Sun Prairie. It is also the same company former MPHS Spanish teacher Dianna Rogers used.
The trip will be for eight days and seven nights and students will be traveling to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, which is off the coast of Cancun.
According to Wahlin, this trip is a great opportunity for students to see and climb the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza and experience historical and current Mexican culture, as well as practice their Spanish speaking skills.
Wahlin feels, at this time, the trip should only be open to students who have completed Spanish II or higher so they are able to fully communicate with people in the target language.
There is an optional homestay to the trip that Wahlin is investigating.
Wahlin is looking at sometime in June for the trip and making sure it does not conflict with the Mineral Point Youth Group’s mission trip.
The current cost is $1795 per student, plus the cost of getting to and from O’Hare, as well as any souvenirs.
The trip needs six students minimum to run. Wahlin says she has approximately 15 interested at this time, but knows that number usually dwindles down when the money comes due.
Dolphin wondered the cost to the school district, and Wahlin said there would be none. He also questioned the current safety of the area they would be visiting.
Wahlin responded and said if the government would issue a travel ban due to safety, the students would get a complete refund, minus $350.
Hay stated she felt it should be up to the individual family to decide if it is safe or not to travel, and Steffes agreed.
Hay also said she would like to see the trip option expanded for students in Spanish I. Wahlin said she would need to evaluate that on a student by student basis to determine if the individual has enough language knowledge to function in Mexico. Hay was also in favor of the homestay option.