As a temporary measure for next year, the orchestra students will be allowed to participate in the orchestra program in Storm Lake, John Chalstrom, superintendent, announced to the Cherokee School Board on Monday.
The arrangements are still being negotiated, Chalstrom said, having been worked out after Gary Fridley submitted his resignation as half-time orchestra instructor two weeks earlier.
Fridley has accepted a full-time position as an instructor in Yankton, S.D. He was hired at the start of the recently completed school year to fill a position that was reduced from full-time to part-time as a budget cutting move.
Chalstrom said the position of part-time orchestra director has been advertised in the Des Moines Register at a cost of over $400 with no response. There is still the possibility that the district will fill the position but at this point, with school starting next week, that seems unlikely.
He said that the orchestra class starts in Storm Lake earlier than the regular first period in Cherokee, so students would be able to get back for second period in Cherokee. The district would transport students by bus to Storm Lake and back.
The arrangement does have some limitations. It applies only to high school students. There will be no middle school or elementary program. Fridley had taught students starting in the fourth grade.
There also are students whose early bird classes create a conflict.
Charlotte Groves, a mother of a current orchestra students and of a former orchestra student who has now graduated said that the student who is entering his sophomore year cannot go to Storm Lake because an early bird computer graphics course takes priority.
Stephanie Cosgrove, an orchestra student, and her mother, Jan Cosgrove, were also present at the school board meeting to discuss the future of the program.
Stephanie said she is interested in attending the program in Storm Lake.
There was discussion on whether to accept the resignation, since Fridley was under contract with the district. There was also discussion on charging Fridley for the advertisement to obtain someone to replace him, part of the district's policy regarding resignations past the time when contracts are renewed.
Chalstrom noted that the policy said the school district "may" charge this fee, not that it is required to. He recommended that the district consider the matter on a case by case basis. He added that as a practical matter, there is little the district can do to enforce contractual obligations when a teacher leaves the state or goes into the private sector.
Kirk Sampson, board member, didn't believe the school district should try to collect for the advertisement costs to replace Fridley.
"He put in a lot of extra time and was very dedicated," Sampson said.
"It's not worth fighting over," Kirk Ebel, board member, added.
Chalstrom indicated that the orchestra program and the possibility of it continuing will be evaluated in the future.
The board also approved resignations of Sandy Stowater, a central office secretary; Beth Olsen, food service worker; Teresa Triplett, alternative school associate; and Deb Pruett, high school secretary.
The district plans to operate with one fewer secretaries. The need to replace Triplett (who accepted a full-time teaching position in the South O'Brien District) will be evaluated after the school year begins.
The board approved a contract for Lisa Fiedler as WHS secretary/athletic secretary and a contract for Heath Hagberg as 8th grade girls' basketball coach.