The Mineral Point School Board held a special meeting Monday morning to discuss the Early Childhood/Pre K classroom location. (Scroll past video for more article text)
Following recommendations from FEH to relocate EC/Pre K to the ground floor for safety reasons, and parents suggesting the same, it was the recommendation of Superintendent Luke Francois to wait to see if the Board puts a November referendum on the ballot to either plan for a remodel, or if a referendum would fail, plan for relocation next summer, given summer school is currently in session.
It was Francois’ understanding at the time that, as long as an idea was in place to move EC/Pre K (either through a referendum or in the summer of 2019), the district would be in compliance with fire code in the interim.
However, Kevin Eipperle of FEH Design returned a letter from the State Fire Marshal stating that a plan for a move does not address the issue of fire code entirely, and being the district was aware of not complying, the district would be solely responsible.
As presented to the Board, the only viable options are to move 2nd grade or the library upstairs and move EC/Pre K into one of either two spaces.
Principal Matt Renwick suggested prior that the best course of action would be swapping the 2nd grade and EC/Pre K classrooms as Kindergarten and 1st grade cannot go upstairs. The problem with moving 2nd grade is there will not be private bathrooms for potty training and diapering EC students. In addition, there are many accidents in both EC and Pre K that need a space to assist with changing. Given this, it was suggested that Jill McGuire and Bridget Beinborn, teachers in Kindergarten, move to 1st grade rooms so that EC/Pre K can utilize the bathroom that joins the two rooms. Another suggestion was to repurpose the old locker rooms or investigate slides out the windows of the EC/Pre K classrooms upstairs.
Francois recommended assuming the risk and resolving the matter through a referendum or, if not passed, address the move next summer. He reached out to the district’s insurance company who stated it is documented the district knows the fire code, and if the Board chooses not to address the issue (regardless of having a plan to remedy it in the future), liability may exist that could jeopardize insurance coverage.
The insurance company apologized for the oversight in the original safety study, but reaffirmed this matter might not be covered if not addressed.
Renwick pointed out the report detailed other code violations in the building as well, but questioned why this violation is being singled out by the Board at this time.
Board member Aaron Dunn agreed and said fixing this violation shouldn’t necessarily be a higher priority than the other code issues.
Elementary custodian Steve Gorder echoed these thoughts, saying there are other violations, but because they are minimal risk, they are not addressed. He expressed concern that it is too close to the start of school to have to move six classrooms.
Board President Jeff Basting said he is not willing to put the risk on the district’s taxbase, should something go wrong and the district be liable.
Following a tour to the classrooms, a motion was made to leave the EC/Pre K rooms as they are now, and re-evaluate after the 2018-19 school year. This passed with Aaron Dunn, Everett Lindsey, Nate Chambers, Larry Steffes, and Andy Busch voting yes. Voting no was Jeff Basting. Kelly Gundlach was absent.
— By mandate during the month of July, the Board unanimously approved the Academic Standards that will be in effect for the 2018-19 school year. Those can be found here: https://mineralpointschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2018-19-Academic-Standards.pdf