School Board decides on new calendar

HURON — At a previous school board meeting, a discussion was held regarding the pros and cons of altering the school calendar to a before Labor Day start. The discussion was taken to the calendar committee for further review at that point, and returned Monday to tell the board that the vote was to stay with the post Labor Day start, which has been in place for the previous four years.
Superintendent,Terry Nebelsick said, “The vote was about 9 to 7 to stay with the current status quo calendar. I think its best we keep the community together and begin after Labor Day.”
The motion to approve the post Labor Day calendar was moved and seconded before discussion opened up.
School Board Chairman Tim Van Berkum said, “It was a great discussion to have, and I think, moving forward, we need to continue having this discussion.”
Daivd Wheeler highlighted that the academic benefits for a pre Labor Day start were significant; however, the overwhelming feedback he received was in favor of the post Labor Day start.
“I was inclined to going before Labor Day because of the academic benefits, but I am going to support this calendar because the calendar committee did come back in favor of this,” Wheeler commented. “It’s a community-orientated decision, we want to honor what the community wants because our calendar does affect the community a great deal.”
One of the topics of debate included that the rest of the state supports the before Labor Day start; however, Huron’s uniqueness with the State Fair raised the question of what is best for the community.
Garrett Bischoff said, “It’s good being leaders in the state, not followers, and it’s good that we are going for a post Labor Day start. It was a great discussion, I’m glad we had it, and I’m looking forward to a post Labor Day start next year.”
Shelly Siemonsma also commented, “I appreciate the work that went into this, the work the community did and the comments. I will for sure support the calendar.”
The motion carried unanimously to continue with a post Labor Day start for the coming school year calendar.
The board also revisited an issue that was raised at the previous meeting regarding a project on Highway 37 and Dakota Avenue, east of McKinley Elementary School, where the state is required to provide a sidewalk. Currently, there are large mature trees inside the Right of Way (ROW) and beyond that is a sidewalk leading up to the school building.
“The State approached us and the ROW office from the department of transportation brought a proposal to the board,” explained Business Manager Kelly Christopherson. “They must provide a sidewalk in that location so they either have to somehow get control of our existing sidewalk or they need to remove those trees and put in a brand new one.”
The options highlighted by Christopherson included to grant them permanent easement of the land, to take the warranty deed offer, or the option to reject both offers.
“If we reject the permanent easement offer and the warranty deed to buy the old sidewalk, they would go ahead and take out the trees in the ROW, put in new sidewalk and possibly extend our sidewalk coming out of the building down to the new sidewalk and obliterate the old one,” Christopherson explained. “We would still be responsible for snow removal and lawn care.”
The direction the board decided to follow is to reject the offer of the permanent easement and offer to give them the land in exchange for doing all of this work. The conditions the board agreed on were that  the state would tear out the old sidewalk, extend the sidewalk from the building to the new sidewalk and maintain the existing sprinkler system in a workable manner.
The motion carried and Christopherson will discuss making that offer with the state, with the intention of making a decision at the next meeting.
In other action, Crystal Whitney was presented the Classified Employee of the Month for February by Washington 4-5 principal Beth Foss.
“We are very excited to nominate Crystal as Employee of the Month,” Foss said. “She always projects a warm and cheerful attitude to everyone she works with.”
The board also heard successes in the district, where Nebelsick extended congratulations and thanks to those recognized.
The next School Board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 26, in the Instructional Planning Center.

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