The Watertown-Mayer School Board held its annual reorganizational meeting at Watertown City Hall on Jan. 3, but given that all seven school board members return this year, very little was changed.
By a unanimous vote, John McCain was re-elected board chair. Also by unanimous votes, Chad Koehler was elected board vice chair, Jennifer Janikula was elected treasurer and Jennifer Hoover was elected clerk.
With only subtle changes, the board committees will also remain largely the same. Steve Burns will be the chair of the operations committee, where he will be joined by Janikula and Tim Thompson. Chad Hoover will chair the Personnel and Negotiations committee, where he will be joined by Burns and Thompson. Janikula will chair the Budget and Finance Committee, and will be joined by Hoover and Therese Salonek. Janikula will be the Carver-Scott Education Co-op representative, Chad Koehler will be the Community Education Representative, and Tim Thompson will be the Minnesota State High School League Representative.
The most significant change made was in regard to the start times for four meetings. The meetings in January, February, March and December will be held at 5:30 p.m., while the remainder will continue to be held at 7 p.m. Regular meetings are still scheduled for the fourth Monday of each month.
In other business:
• The School Board approved a new program called Read 180. The program is designed to help special education students and other students who struggle in reading to begin to catch up to their grade-level peers. The board approved the purchase of 45 lifetime licenses at $1,000 apiece, which will allow 45 students at a time to participate in the program, beginning in third quarter.
• Superintendent Dave Marlette indicated that the new boilers that were installed recently in the high school have been functioning perfectly. The old boilers had become a source of controversy and finger pointing between the district and several contractors over whether the boilers or the system was causing the poor performance. The district had contended all along that it was the boilers, not they system, that was the problem. Marlette said that despite a few bugs early on, the new boilers are providing more even heat throughout the school with fewer pockets of cold air, and there are far fewer warnings and errors with the system.
• Marlette reported that the fire department was called to the high school on the weekend before Christmas to investigate smoke coming out of the building. He said it was eventually discovered that the smoke was caused by a faulty belt and pulley on an air handler on the roof. Because the problem was with an air handler, as the belt burned, the smoke was pulled into the building and dispersed throughout, making it difficult initially for the fire department to find where the smoke was coming from.
Contact Matt Bunke at firstname.lastname@example.org