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Building Updates Highlight Meeting Of Emmetsburg School Board

By Staff | Aug 26, 2009

An update on buildings with an informal tour of the new auditorium highlighted the August meeting of the Emmetsburg Community School Board on Aug. 17. Superintendent John Joynt guided members of the school board through the new auditorium, the third and final phase of the district’s current building project.

“The seats for the auditorium were delivered today (Aug. 17),” Joynt reported to the school board members as he began the update. “The installation will begin on them in the next couple of days, when the ceiling tiles are completed. Outside, they’ll begin on the sidewalk to the main doors, and that will take about a week, and then a week after that to cure.”

According to Joynt, a date of Aug. 28 had been mentioned for completion, but he felt there might be a few more days needed. “All in all, things are going well, however.”

Joynt also reported that a group working with Emmetsburg Community Economic Developer Steve Heldt was still evaluating the former Middle School for purchase.

“Should that group wish to make an offer, we could conceivably execute a sale in 21 days time, allowing for proper published notices and public hearing requirements, “ Joynt explained.

Joynt was asked in the other parties interested in the building were still in communication with the district. “Mrs. Gross is still on board for seeing the building used for some kind of offices, and at this point does not want to be competitive with the other group on their project. As far as the party from California, we’ve heard no more from him. I think we’re all in agreement that offices would be the best use for the building at this time.”

In a related item, Joynt also reported that construction on the new Casey’s store adjacent to the old Middle school had started, and that the contractors had approached the district regarding some sloping along the south property line, which Joynt agreed to. The contractors are also placing some dirt from excavation and fencing on the parking lot of the Middle School on a temporary basis, but will remove it as soon as possible.

In other business, the board accepted the resignations of Latasha Bruhn and Angie Strohman from their positions as Early Childhood Education aides at West Elementary. The board then approved the hirings of Jen Muhlbauer and Molly Burdorf upon the recommendations of Elementary Superintendent Matt Pugh to fill the vacancies created by the resignation of Bruhn and Strohman.

High School/Middle School Principal Jay Jurrens reported to the board that after study and discussion with middle school staff, the Middle School day was going to be lengthened by 10 minutes, to start at 8 a.m. each day.

“We reached our reading progress goal, but only by averaging our test scores over a three-year period,” Jurrens explained. “Naturally, we want to improve on that. Our Middle School teachers feel that the students don’t have enough reading time, because in fourth grade, they have 90 minutes a week, but in fifth grade, that drops to 45 minutes a week. “

“But, there is an easy solution to give us back some minutes,” Jurrens continued, “We will start the Middle School day at 8 a.m. and make that first period longer, which was something the Middle School thought unanimously was a good idea.”

The move adds 10 minutes to each school day for the Middle School students, which would easily provide more reading time in a week.

“Will this work OK with students at the Catholic School?” Board member Steve Pelzer asked.

“I would think they would be able to adapt with very little problems,” observed Board member Dave VanOosbree.

“Actually, the Catholic School students wouldn’t be affected by this time change,” Jurrens replied.

With no other concerns or questions, the board agreed with the plan, and asked to be updated on the move during the September board meeting.

“I think it’s a good idea if it brings up reading scores, because that’s still most important,” commented Board Member Linda Tienter.

Jurrens also reported to board that Emmetsburg will host three foreign exchange students this year, Caroline Flom, from Norway, who will be living with the Gary Garrelts family; Lucia Saenez of Germany, who will be living with the family of Rev. David Morris and Ana Fierco of Mexico, who will be living with Greg and Mary Moser.

The board members also approved various appointments for the coming year, and approved a resolution allowing deposits of up to $5 million of district funds at Iowa Trust and Savings Bank, Laurens State Bank and Wells Fargo Bank offices in Emmetsburg.