South O'Brien 2019-20 Proposed Academic Calendar Approved
April 25, 2019
By Mari Radtke
The South O'Brien School Board met in regular session on Wednesday April 17. The second readings of Policy Codes 700 and 900 Series were approved with no material changes. Those policies, as written, will be in place for the coming school year.
New business presented to the board for consideration are the bids submitted for painting the east gym at the Paullina facility and new chairs. The idea is to give the space as much of an auditorium feel as possible. The bids met with some questioning from board members Kevin Nelson and Todd Faust. Nelson asked about "another separate facility somewhere else with a gym, auditorium, seating and if we get wrestling..."? Faust asked, "How much value to we get as a gym?"
The questions led to deep discussion about the update project to the space with Nelson commenting that the item was suddenly on the agenda for approval. Superintendent Dan Moore explained that the board had discussed the project prior and that a "facelift" to the space was desperately needed.
The board discussed how the space is currently used and any additional needs that space might need to be a fully functional gym or auditorium or used for another purpose.
The current seats are 100 years old and do not meet code requirements for size. Seating in a must was the consensus that the slim quorum of board members came to. The space currently is used for Dinner Theater, JH athletic practices, homecoming and FFA. The sound system has been replaced. The board finally approved accepting bids for painting and new seats delivered and installed. The school will handle removal of existing seats. The painting bid is $23,400.00. The auditorium seating is $29,838.00.
The board was presented with a proposed 2019-20 academic calendar for approval. Gina Paulsen said, "As an educator, I have big issues with early dismissals for professional development days on weeks when lots of snow days come in the same week." The proposed calendar scheduled early dismissals every other Wednesday throughout the school year. Paulsen explained that as an educator, she feels that during weeks when difficult weather causes a lot of snow days, late starts and early outs, the disruptions to students' learning and routines are severe and should be limited as much as possible. Her objection was not about professional development, but rather finding an alternate to the early outs in weeks where frequent and unplanned changes to the Schedule keep kids out of school for what seems to be exceptionally often.
Other board members seemed to be in agreement with the concern, which Paulsen has brought up prior and said, "I will say this forever." Superintendent Moore even saying, "I hear you. But we are not changing early outs, at least not on this schedule."