Chinook School Board discusses plenty at October Meeting
November 4, 2020
Chinook Public Schools held their regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, October 13, 3030. Present were Trustees Jamie MacLeod, Kevin Elias (ZOOM), Mitzi Cecrle (ZOOM-8:46PM), Daniel Dahl, Scott DePriest, Frank Billmayer, Russell Alisch, Shane Stroebe, and Vanessa Schoen.
Welcomed visitors included Matt Molyneaux, Shane Bartschi, Kendall Harwood, Shandel Fouts, Rebecca Stroh, Tammy Jungers, Nathan Jungers, Cherie Edwards, Tammy Edwards, Chrissy Downs, Michael Jones, Emily Scofield, Sheena Barber, Kelsey Harry, Jill Paulsen, Linda Thompson, Sue Reid, Julie Terry, and Laura Kellam. Zoom: Kristi Seymour, Callie Hines, Karyn Billmayer, Halvor, Valerie, Anderson, Janelle Deanon, Kasie G. Strobe, Melinda Jones, Kelly Anderson.
One big topic early on in the meeting included the resignation of Shandel Fouts. She will be leaving her position of Fourth Grade Teacher and Technology Coordinator. Her last day will be June 30th, 2021. Chairman Dahl read aloud her resignation letter and she thanked everyone for her chance to work for Chinook Public Schools. Chairman Dahl stated “We will be losing a great teacher.”
Chairman Dahl goes over the goals that have been written out for the Board. Chairman Dahl opened discussion among the members and asked if anyone would like to add anything. Trustee DePriest suggested that the board have quarterly committee meetings in an effort to stay on top of projects and achieve more. Depriest would like to see the board become more organized. Chairman Dahl agreed and encouraged Board Members to get the training that we all need. DePriest added “The board and administration should be more willing to get involved in the community. Get out in the public and communicate more.” DePriest added that he would also like to see more emphases on education over extracurricular.
In further discussion Trustee Billmayer and Trustee DePriest asked if Board minutes could be published in the local newspaper the following week. The goal to increase communication between the School District and the community. Billmayer and DePriest added that they would also like the minutes posted on Facebook.
Another topic discussed was a question brought by Trustee Schoen saying that he would like to work on how to retain teachers. Trustee Billmayer agreed with the suggestion and added that he would like to see conversations between teachers, board members, and administration take place to help solve and answer question on how to retain teachers in the district.
Trustee Billmayer suggested that Board Members go over one policy once a month to help fine tune some policies that work in the gray area. Trustee Elias agreed and added that there are a lot of policies that contradict themselves and would like to see the Board revisit policies. Trustee Strobe is in favor of more communication, but he would also like to add, “Be more prepared.” He believes that if the board comes prepared to board meetings that they can make an informed decision on action items. Instead of taking 2 hours, the board can make an informed decision in 5 minutes on action items.
Chairman Dahl recommended adding: Review all policies and amend them when needed. Create new policies. Quarterly committee meeting and more training to the final Board Goals. A Motion to table the final reading of the Board Goals and Expectations for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 until November was made by Trustee Billmayer and seconded by Trustee DePriest. There were no public comments made.
New business began with Chairman Dahl stating that the Board is not comfortable making decision right now on Certified MOU for 2020-2021 because there was something new added. He suggested that we table this item until November.
Ms. Fouts explained that tabling this until next month is disheartening. This is a major breach of their contracts and stated that she is working an extra 15-20 hours a week for her online kid. Mrs. Paulsen asked the board if the two other changes (#5 Workday and #6 A and C) could be approved during the meeting and the third (compensation #6B in the MOA) tabled until a later day. Trustee Elias stated that the board should hold a special meeting to finish the discussion sooner than later.
Chairman Dahl stated that specific parts of the MOA could be approved during the meeting and recommended the approval of items 1-4 and 7-12 of the MOA. A Motion to approve 1-4 and 7-12 of the MOA was made by Trustee Elias and seconded by Trustee Billmayer. There were no public comments or discussion made and the motion passed unanimously.
Item Number 5: (The Workday) of the MOA was read aloud by Chairman Dahl, “A teacher’s workday shall be of a similar length to that which is considered a normal duty day for that teacher and prorated for those working part time. Students shall be releases at 12:30 p.m. every Friday. Students will be given an at-home assignment to complete during the hours they are not at school. Staff will stay for the remainder of their contracted time. This time will be designated for staff preparation.” Motion to approve number 5 of MOA was made by Trustee Schoen and seconded by Trustee MacLeod.
Public comments were made by Mrs. MacLeod and Mrs. Scofield as they voiced their concerns. Both explained that having an online student is a lot of extra work and it is taking away from their family time. Having this extra time (early release) would help tremendously. Mrs. Edwards acknowledges that this is a different kind of school year and that teachers are getting worn out. Approving the early release would alleviate a lot of stress. Mrs. Terry stated that the early release is definitely warranted, teachers are no longer having their lunch period/prep to better review their materials for classes. Mrs. Paulsen reads aloud a letter from CEA.
Chairman Dahl asked for discussion and Trustee Alisch asked how they came up with the early release time. Chairman Dahl explained that the union came up with it. Trustee Strobe asked why school couldn’t just dismiss early every day. Trustee Billmayer answered that the teachers prefer to have a block of time instead of dismissing early every day.
Trustee DePriest and Trustee Elias had questions on lunch duty. Mr. Bartschi answered their questions and explained how many people would be needed for lunch duty every day. He added than they are working on a rotation to give teachers a break. Mr. Bartschi added that they are seeking a full-time applicant to help with the online classes/students. Mr. Molyneaux stated, “We have tried to get slots for online learning for the elementary school but there are none.”
Ms. Kellam suggests to the board to be realistic, “We have had an opening for an online teacher for a long time and we can’t get applicants. We need to help and provide for our teachers.”
Chairman Dahl then asked the administration how fast can we get early release done? Mr. Bartschi and Mr. Molyneaux said that they can get schedule changed as soon as the start of the 2nd quarter. Mr. Molyneaux explained to the board members that the high school might be dismissed before 12:30 p.m. due to bell schedules and the Board of Trustees said that it was okay.
Chairman Dahl amended the motion to be for the approval of #5 in the MOA would have a start date of November 13th, 2020 with a review (if still needed) at semester’s end. Motion passed unanimously.
Chairman Dahl reads aloud section #6 A & C of the MOA.
6A: The District shall compensate and shall also maintain all health and other benefits for all teachers performing designated job duties through teleworking approved by the District, as if those teachers are on site attending to their normal and regular duties. Teachers shall also be compensated for any time they are required by the District to be “on call” status.
6C: Teachers shall be compensated $10.00 per day for any additional lunch duties beyond the one (1) regularly schedule lunch duty. Compensation for additional lunch duty shall be retroactively accrued from August 26th, 2020. Motion to approve #6A&C of the MOA was made by Trustee Billmayer and seconded by Trustee DePriest. There were no public comments. Chairman Dahl then asked for discussion. Trustee Strobe asked questions on what “on-call” means in this situation. Mr. Hannum answered. Motion passed unanimously.
The Board then addressed the next issue: Consider Certified Employee Termination Hearing. Chairman Dahl read aloud the closed session clause. The Board Meeting went into closed session at 8:53 p.m. and was reopened at 9:54 p.m. A motion was made to approve closed session decision by Trustee Billmayer and seconded by Trustee MacLeod. No public comments or discussion was had and the motion passed unanimously.
Mrs. Cherie Edwards made a request to address subbing. She talked about sub pay for the school district and explained that the responsibilities and demands of being a substitute has increased. Mrs. Edwards talked about what other schools are paying their substitutes and stated that the Chinook school district is behind in the pay scale. Mrs. Fouts added that substitutes are life savers and supports an increase in pay. Chairman Dahl said that this would be put into next month’s agenda. Finance committee will meet on this.
The Board then asked Mrs. Edwards what she would recommend the pay should be. Mrs. Edwards would like to see the substitute daily pay be increased to $85 and extended substitute daily rate be $10 more to $95.
Ms. Kellam conducted the National Honor Society new member induction ceremony that was postponed from last spring. Liam Edwards, Ginger Hauer, Allison Powell, and Kinley Roberts-Hamilton.
Trustee Billmayer motioned to adjourn the meeting at 10:23 p.m. Trustee Schoen seconded. Motion passed unanimously.