Watertown-Mayer adds first grade class

The Watertown-Mayer School Board approved the administrative recommendation to add one more first-grade class and hire an additional first-grade teacher for the upcoming school year during a special board meeting on Monday, Aug. 13.

The additional first-grade class is in response to rising enrollment. As of the date of the meeting, there were 123 students enrolled in first grade in the Watertown-Mayer district. The additional first-grade class will allow for six classes with an average enrollment of 20.5 students per class instead of five classes with an average enrollment of 24.67. Without adding a class, three of the first-grade classrooms would have had 25 students.

“In the lower grade levels, we really need to keep lower numbers,” Watertown-Mayer superintendent Dave Marlette said. “As you get into grades three four and five, the numbers can be a little higher. We have a commitment to keep those class numbers low at the lower grades, and it’s nice even to stay in the high teens. No higher than 22 has been our policy.”

In a separate measure, the board hired Courtney Johnson as the new full-time first-grade teacher.

In other business:
• The board discussed how to proceed with concerns over its failing boilers at the high school and potential problems with the roof and stucco walls at the elementary school.

The board has already approved the purchase of new boilers for the high school at the cost of roughly $160,000, but is still trying to determine how and if it can recoup costs from the construction manager for the high school and elementary school projects.

The board also decided to have an expert come look at the elementary school roof and walls to determine once and for all if they were built properly, and if there is in fact a water problem in the walls. Marlette said the district has gotten mixed opinions on the problem and whether the moisture levels are concerning, but he also expressed his belief that the construction manager should be responsible for that problem as well, if there is one.

Knutson representatives visited the school board in July to express its position that individual contractors, not the construction manager, are responsible for problems with the work that was performed, if there are any.

• The board approved ISD No. 111 policy 514, a Bullying Prohibition Policy, and ISD Policy 524, regarding Technology Resource Acceptable Use and Safety, as relating to the District’s new iPad initiative.