At Monday’s School Board meeting, Board Secretary Angie Schubert reported the three incumbents (Larry Dolphin, Lisa Hay, Julie Stephenson) whose seats are up for election in April 2018 have filed non-candidacy papers and will not be seeking another term. (Scroll past the video for more article text)

The deadline to file candidacy is 5 pm Tuesday, January 2 in the District Office at 705 Ross Street.

There is a meeting at 7 pm Monday, December 18 in the elementary library for any persons who are interested in potential candidacy and wish to find out more information about the roles and responsibilities of a Board member.

Other business:

–The meeting began with Superintendent Luke Francois’ Good News Report, which can be viewed here:

— The District desires to install lights on the MPHS stadium field in effort host contests in the evening at the MPHS stadium.  An effort was made to refinance the existing note with payments being made by the Mineral Point Alumni to a refinanced note to include the cost of lights, with the Gridiron Club (in collaboration with MP Alumni) making payments.  The refinanced note of $241,000 has a duration of seven years and is accompanied by a revised stadium agreement. This was approved by a 5-1-1 vote with Hay voting no and Busch abstaining. Hay stated her no vote was to remain consistent with her previous no vote, back when the original note was taken out by the district on the stadium project. She did however praise the fundraising efforts to date. (Go to the one hour, 49 minute mark)

— The high school/middle school rubber roof is at the end of its useful life and the metal roof is in need of repair to cease areas that are leaking.  The Board unanimously approved of the replacement and repair of the roof using Act 32 through a Performance Contract with FEH Design.  A ten-year note for $500,000 is the funding source for the roof project. Act 32 can exceed the revenue limit for the purpose of performance contracting/energy efficiency. (Go to the 12 minute mark)

— A diverse group of community stakeholders convened to update the District’s Strategic Plan, commencing in August.  The committee recommended two strategies – Academic Achievement and Innovation and Community Engagement.  

Over the weeks that followed, the administrative team developed rigorous focus areas to implement the strategies developed.  The focus areas were shared with the strategic planning committee and approved with minor revisions.

The final strategic plan was presented to the board of education for final approval Monday night.  Once approved, the administrative team will write SMART goals to assign responsibility to time bound action plans.

Board member Hay had some questions surrounding the focus on professional development, stating she would like to see what has been spent in the past and encourage future money to be spent on achievement areas that are deficient.

Board members Basting and Gundlach stated they had concerns about losing traditional literacy skills in favor of new forms of literacy.

Elementary principal Matt Renwick stated that digital literacy provides an audience not available before. “Good writing is good writing, whether it’s print or digital,” he added and said new literacies would only serve to complement and supplement traditional literacies.

Hay also questioned about the possible need to hire additional staff in order to be able to offer the additional academic courses desired. Basting asked if the BOOST telepresence consortium might be interested in sharing more course content and Francois said that yes, there is certainly an opportunity to leverage technology.

There was a discussion about video recording meetings. The strategic planning committee had expressed a desire to video all meetings of the Board where a quorum is present and official Board business is being conducted.

Several members of the Board had concerns with videoing committee meetings. Currently, committee meetings are open for all Board members to attend, which means there may or may not be a quorum present.

Board president Larry Steffes stated he believed the productivity is higher at meetings that are not recorded, but fully understands the committee’s desire for transparency and supports videoing regular and special full board meetings, but not committee meetings.

Basting added that at committee meetings, no action is taken and the topics are always brought back to a full Board meeting for a vote anyway.

Stephenson said however, the Board makes recommendations at committee meetings, and then if those meetings aren’t recorded, the backstory is missing for the public when the vote is taken at a regular meeting.

Members of the audience spoke up in favor of video for many reasons–it allows more flexibility in people’s schedules (not everyone is able to attend a meeting so they can watch the video on their free time). Video also is able to show tone, body language, and other non-verbal cues that aren’t available through the written word. But ultimately, it helps build trust and transparency with the community.

The Board voted 4-3 to change language surrounding videoing of committee meetings. Only regular and special full board meetings will be videoed (not committees). Busch, Hay, and Stephenson voted no.

The Board then voted to approve the strategic plan with the above amendment. This passed 6-1 with Stephenson voting no. (Go to the 31 minute mark)

The Academic Achievement plan is viewable here:

The Community Engagement plan is viewable here (without the above amendment at this time):

— The Board unanimously approved the Elementary and Accessibility Committee. The committee’s role will be advisory, researching issues, and evaluating options to formulate a recommendation for the Board.

Monthly progress reports will be made with final recommendations due in May.

Gundlach questioned the need for teachers to serve on the committee, since they have already provided input on the topic through a survey.

Hay said she found a benefit to having staff serve because they know more about the building than almost anyone. (Go to the one hour, 58 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the 2016-17 financial audit. The entire audit presetnation for the Board is available for viewing here:

(Go to the 24 minute mark)

— The Board approved the credit card statement and bills payable by a 5-0-2 vote with Basting and Stephenson abstaining.

— It was decided the Operations Committee would decide on next steps with regards to the School Safety Committee’s timeline for recommendation implementation. (Go to the two hour, 35 minute, 30 second mark)

— Following closed session, the Board voted to update Policy 533 which deals with the hiring of professional staff (teachers). The main change states parents will no longer be able to serve on a hiring committee for teachers. This passed 4-2 with Stephenson and Gundlach voting no. Basting had left the meeting. (Go to the three hour, 47 minute, 45 second mark)

— Following closed session, the Board voted to approve Gabor Construction LLC as the selected contractor to install the secured entrance at the elementary, along with Quality Door and Hardware or equivalent providing door systems.  The project total is $14,890 not including Johnson Controls door reader, position switch, and exit motion which brings the cost to $19,027. This was approved by a 5-1 vote with Gundlach voting no (Basting had left the meeting). The district is looking at a Spring Break installation for this project. (Go to the three hour, 50 minute, 50 second mark).

— Following closed session, the Board voted to hire Abbi Ewert to a full-time position as an Instructional Assistant.  Ewert replaces Cait Finley who replaces Blair Lingk who replaced Bethany Payne. The vote was 4-1-1 with Gundlach voting no and and Busch abstaining. Basting had left the meeting. (Go to the three hour, 46 minute mark)

–The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is set for January 8 at 6:30 pm.