During an early meeting on Mon. Sept. 17th, improving morale of citizens in the District was cited as one of the goals of the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School Board under the leadership of Board President Rachel Holmes. The board members had scheduled a thorough discussion of where they would like to see some improvements.
Board member Jeff Gross kicked off the discussion, asking the question, "How can parents feel good about the district when we had teachers saying if staff was reduced to have 16 students in a classroom that they wouldn't receive a good education?"
Board member Eric Wester agreed, "We may continue to have declining numbers and the possibility of having to cut another position next spring is real."
The board also mentioned that something needs to be done for all three of the District's buildings and departments to feel that they are one unit and need to pull together.
Gross also noted that more needs to be done on teacher evaluations, "We now know that most people were upset last spring about a situation where one really good teacher was going to get cut because that teacher was the last to be hired. Seniority shouldn't be the major influence on where the cut is. Overall we have a very good staff but teachers' evaluations need to be refined to meet goals of the district to raise morale."
Supt. Jan Brandhorst noted he will be attending classes in Des Moines on evaluations of principals which will help.
Board members noted they like hearing from staff at meetings and would encourage non-certified staff to have the opportunity to do the same. The board wants to see MMC maintain quality teachers and high academics. They hope negotiations will go more positively and with the completion of the building project, they would hope everyone will feel good about their working environment.
Principal Bill Sillau informed the board that new laws go into effect dealing with bullying. Situations could arise when students would need to be taken out of school. Also, every time a student is sent to the office, the whole staff will be made aware. After three trips to the office, the student will be removed from the classroom setting. Parents will also be kept informed.
Sillau is working on safety drills.
Plans are coming along for Homecoming which is set for Oct. 5.
Supt. Brandhorst noted he had two estimates for new lighting of the ball diamond which ranged from $60,000 to $80,000. Nothing has been decided but hopefully it will be done in time for next year's season.
The board heard a brief report from Jodi Mongan on how the district ended the last fiscal year on June 30 financially. She will present a final report next month with all the figures completed. The board made several cuts and knew they would be in the red. The report showed a deficit of just a little over $208,000.
To ease concerns over traffic safety for students, one block will be closed off from the corner of Fenton and Ash to the corner of Fenton and Beech in the afternoon as soon as the first bus pulls in.
In other business: the board approved Rachel Holmes and Eric Wester to be the president and vice president of the board for the coming year, Becky Sand is the board's secretary, Jodi Mongan is board's treasurer, Tom Whorley district attorney, Farmer's State Bank and First Trust Bank as district's depository; Joan Petersen and Bill Sillau as level one child abuse investigators and the local police department as level two and Kathy Tritz-Rhoads as special education coordinator.