Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom gave a preliminary damage update to the Cherokee School Board last week regarding the July 22 tornado that swept through parts of Cherokee demolishing trees and damaging vehicles, buildings and utilities in its wake.
Chalstrom said it was confirmed that there was a tornado that caused the damage and not strictly straight winds as first reported by the National Weather Service.
The School District facilities sustained heavy damage, including $25,000 to the Roosevelt Elementary gym roof, $18,000 to the visitor's section of bleachers at George Hicks Field after a light pole was snapped off and crashed down on the bleachers, $40,000 to the roof of the former Armory building that now houses the ICN Room and Braves Steelworks weight room, and $5,000 to the WHS track that was impaled with lumber, glass, and metal shards in the storm.
In addition to those damages, Chalstrom said several damage assessments were still to be determined and sorted out with the District's insurance carrier, including the lighting system at George Hicks Field with several poles snapped off and wiring ripped apart, a sports equipment shed at WHS that was blown apart and its remnants scattered for several blocks, the roof at WHS, press box damage, roof leaks and wet ceiling tiles at Cherokee Middle School, and sewer backup and flooding at Roosevelt School that damaged several rooms and hallway carpeting.
"An insurance settlement and final damage totals will be forthcoming," Chalstrom told the Board. "We're being very thorough on this because there's a concern about long-term impact of any damages for the District."
Chalstrom was quick to laud the District's custodial staff and Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Dave Moore for their yeoman work since the storm and their ability to clean and repair several rooms at Roosevelt School in time for the first day of school last Thursday.
Chalstrom also advised the Board that the District lost 22 trees in the tornado and lost a half dozen to storms last year. 'They will eventually need to be replaced," said the Superintendent.
In a related matter, the new lighting system at George Hicks Field that was already in the plans before the tornado hit, is nearing completion, Chalstrom reported, as is the clean-up of glass, wooden, and metal shards on the football field. Moore told the Board his staff was combing the field in sections and literally vacuuming the grass and hand-picking to pick up the shards.
In other action, the Board approved the recommendation of Chalstrom to terminate the contract of Val Decker, a secretary at the CMS; approved a contract for Bob Lee as 7th grade football coach; amended the contract of Scott Koch to become varsity assistant football coach; amended the contract of Mike Nixon to become JV football coach; approved a contract for Bruce Dagel as freshman football coach; approved a contract for Nikki Lundquist as a special education associate at WHS; approved a contract for Roger Sleezer as special education associate on the ECLC bus; approved a contract for Mike Rundall as 8th grade football coach; approved a contract for Jody Mongan as 8th grade volleyball coach; and approved a contract for Olivia Watts as Spanish Club Advisor.
The Board also approved various annual appointments as recommended by Chalstrom. They are:
*Equity & Affirmative Action Coordinator - Chalstrom.
*Title 1X Coordinator - Chalstrom.
*Child Abuse Investigators, Level 1 - Chalstrom, Barb Radke.
*Harassment Investigators - Chalstrom, Radke.
*Level II Harassment Investigator - Jolleen Hunecke.
*Legal Counsel - John Cook, Steve Avery.
*Teacher Quality Team (Administrative Representatives) - Chalstrom, Larry Hunecke, Larry Weede, Radke.
Chalstrom also said the public is prohibited from using the WHS track for walking and jogging until the facility is cleaned up, the lighting project completed, and the facility declared safe for all.
District Food Services Director Quinn Woods also advised the Board that new State and Federal "Healthy Foods" regulations will greatly affect the ala cart menu as Districts are required to offer healthy food choices that limit sugar, sodium, and fat content.
Woods also said the 7-week free and reduced summer lunch program at Roosevelt School averaged 90-110 students per day this summer until a drop-off about July 4, when the average number of students fell to about 40 per day.