The Mineral Point School Board met Monday evening and took action on a handful of items to help get the start of school ready to roll. (Continue scrolling past the video for more article text)
The Board approved high school, middle school, and employee handbook updates. (Go to the one hour 23 minute mark on the video for this discussion.)
There was discussion surrounding the determination of valedictorian and salutatorian. Some members of the Board were curious as to how other area districts make this determination and, although too late to change anything for this upcoming school year, would like more information brought back and discussed in time for next year’s handbook.
Also part of the employee handbook revision was an increase of long-term substitute teacher pay to $125 per day (up from $110). Superintendent Francois stated this brings Mineral Point in line with surrounding districts.
This portion of the agenda passed unanimously. (The handbooks will soon be posted on the website under the Parents tab).
–Began the meeting with recognitions of Haakon Schriefer as a Wisconsin Ambassador of Music on a European tour this summer, as well as Max Palzkill and Morgan Fitzsimmons as Badger Boys and Girls State representatives who learned about the inner workings of our government.
–The credit card statement was approved unanimously with Glenn Kinch absent, not having arrived to the meeting yet. (seven minute, 30 second mark of the video)
–Bills payable was initially a three yes (Julie Stephenson, Lisa Hay, Andy Busch), one no (Larry Steffes), and three abstain (Jeff Basting, Kinch, Larry Dolphin) vote, but that vote count would not equal a passed vote. Basting then changed his vote to a yes vote upon realizing there were no Point Foods bills this month, thus eliminating his conflict of interest. (eight minute, 15 second mark of the video)
–Several hires were approved unanimously as follows: Michelle Rielly, full time 7th/8th grade Language Arts Teacher; Heidi Lawton, half-time 7th/8th grade Reading Teacher; Lyndsey Reed, full time Elementary Assistant to the Principal; and Jodi Renwick, full time Elementary Instructional Assistant. (27 minute, 15 second mark of the video)
–During the information and discussion portion of the evening, Francois shared with the Board the latest data from Forecast 5 regarding enrollment history and trends.
Some highlights of the report he shared included:
Mineral Point has been holding relatively flat for enrollment over the last five years.
The economically disadvantaged group of students has flatlined the last three years.
Open enrollment is trending upward with about a 30 net gain compared to five years ago.
Diversity of the student body is growing in regards to ethnicity.
Over the last five years, Mineral Point has had an approximately 98% attendance rate.
For the full report, see here: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=39145956
(36 minute mark of the video)
–Also during the information and discussion portion, discussion was had surrounding how Board members would prefer to receive their agenda information.
Five years ago the Board received a hard copy of board packets that were hand delivered. With large reports that include full budgets, audits, handbooks, etc. a decision was made to move to an electronic board packet and BoardBook was selected as the vendor. The decision reduced the amount of paper used and created efficiencies when delivering the board packet electronically rather than by vehicle.
The current board is split between the use of hard copies only, the use of an electronic version only, and the use of both. The Board has the opportunity to clarify whether or not they wish to continue to use BoardBook.
It was also noted that the district office staff find ease of use with BoardBook. It is easy to upload various documents and have them converted to PDF format, and it also is a good way to archive meetings to find information later on when needed. Also mentioned was the public’s ability to view the agenda packets online through BoardBook, helping to increase transparency about Board business to the community.
It was decided, with minor tweaks to fit individual Board members’ needs, a dual system of paper and BoardBook will continue.
Each Board member has available to them a school email account for official school business. Currently the majority of the board is using a personal email account which makes archiving communications difficult for possible open record requests. Best practice would share that only school email accounts should be used for school business. The Board has the opportunity to clarify whether it wishes to exclusively use school email accounts or personal email accounts.
Following the discussion, in which Busch noted he attended a Wisconsin Association of School Boards new member orientation recently in which the legal counsel strongly advised to move all school business to an official school email, a few Board members stated they would like to move their school communication to an official account. The email addresses will be updated shortly on the school website to show this change for the public wishing to contact Board members. (47 minute, 30 second portion of the video)
–Purchasing Policy 672 was approved unanimously. There was discussion surrounding requiring local purchase of goods and services whenever possible. Many Board members felt very strongly that local should be used as much as possible as these businesses are the ones that support the school through taxes and donations. While not an absolute requirement, it is the intent of the policy to “purchase locally, competitively, and to seek maximum educational value for every dollar spent.”
In addition, there is a new part of the policy that states: Purchases of goods or services shall be referred to the Board for consideration and approval when the cost exceeds $5,000. Splitting orders to circumvent this limit is unacceptable. The $5,000 limit shall not apply to payments for: – items already approved via contract, such as transportation and food service; – pre-approved break-out budgets like the technology budget; – regularly recurring fees beyond the district’s control such as utilities; and – emergency situations where board approval is impractical.
There was some discussion about whether the $5,000 amount should be aggregate or by unit. It was decided to insert the term aggregate into the verbiage.
The full policy is available here: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=39094716
(one hour four minute, 30 second mark of the video)
–The Board unanimously approved a seclusion and restraint report, as required annually. The report is available here: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=39160011
(one hour 43 minute, 30 second mark of the video)
–In the Superintendent’s Report, Francois reported the fiber project is moving forward and the plan is to start pulling the fiber in the next week. When the project is completed, the District will have up to 1GB of data and will no longer be paying the Charter transport fee.
He also provided an update to the Board on the Nexus ten year facility plan. Nexus is planning to attend next month’s Board meeting and then roll out a four to five month process to inform the Board and community of options regarding the ten year facility plan study.
The Board then discussed which businesses it wished to nominate for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards Business Honor Roll. (one hour 45 minute mark of the video)
–The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is set for Monday, September 12 at 6:30 pm.