By Barbie Porter
The Frazee-Vergas School Board heard a resident express concerns about the loss of “good teachers” and reports of low moral from district employees.
During the monthly meeting on Monday, June 14, Kerry Strand, Vergas, said the concerns he has heard involves a person at the district. He asked the board to investigate concerns and figure out a solution.
“We have great leaders here and we are losing them one by one,” he said. “Why?”
He added that he was sad to see a respected teacher resign and take their talents to a neighboring district. Strand noted that he felt there was a “gray cloud hanging over the school” and encouraged the board to find out why.
No teacher was named, and it was not stated if the teacher resigned recently or was one of the board approvals on the June agenda.
Strand added, he is also unsatisfied with providing an option to students when it comes to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and believed it was unsatisfactory that phones and headgear were allowed in classrooms.
Board hears about
District Technology Director Gretchen Norby informed the board the elementary improved the sound capabilities for a teachers to utilize a microphone in the classroom. She said the microphone is worn around the teacher’s neck.
Norby stated the district switched from iPads to Chrome tablets in the younger grades, and the teachers have adjusted well. The annual cycle of bringing in new Chromebooks was done. Norby said new books go to seventh graders, who utilize the same machine through ninth grade. As a sophomore they are assigned a new Chromebook through their senior year.
Norby reported the district “upgraded to the latest and greatest technology” to handle the devices and increasing work load on the network.
It was noted some purchases presented to the board came from COVID-19 funding.
In other news
• The board also discussed reducing staff and class sections. The concerns expressed included not having enough students to warrant the expense of an additional section. It was noted that if more students enrolled the district would always have the option of hiring a teacher.
• The board agreed to bring back activity fees next year. The past few years the district offered fees to be waived for activities and events as long as the parents of the student filled out and submitted a Free and Reduced Lunch form. The district thought the amount of eligible families gained from the forms would bring in enough additional funding to cover the fees, but after a few years it was determined to create a loss in funding.
• The board approved hiring: Michelle Midthun, high school science teacher; Lexy Dunbar, elementary special education teacher; Lorie Totland-Kern, food service and Ryan Vigen as head boys basketball coach.
• The board approved resignations of: teachers: Andrew Paulson (industrial tech and robotics advisor), Shelley Day and Colton Bakkila, paras.
Sports and activities resignations included: Jason Bauer, summer rec baseball director; Holly Westad, assistant dance coach and honor society advisor; Katrina Courneya, head girls volleyball coach and head girls dance coach.
Jessica King, custodian, also resigned.