School Board Roundup
School Boards met for January
Ennis School Board approves Virginia City bus route hires; transportation director retires
The Ennis Public Schools Board of Trustees held their regular board meeting on Jan. 12. Here’s a recap of what was covered, according to Ennis Superintendent Casey Klasna.
•On the school bond communications front, representatives for the Ennis School District were preparing to attend Lions Club meeting later that evening as well as hold a public open house on Jan. 22. Informational pamphlets and an invitation to the open house were mailed to residents within the district. Other plans include reaching out to media outlets for coverage.
• The board approved a resignation request from Transportation Director John Lee. Lee, who also drives bus, will finish out the school year before retiring from the position on June 30. Other approved resignation requests included Betty Klein as head volleyball coach and Rachel Stevens and Laura Jensen, custodians who finished out their positions at the beginning of 2022.
• A request to require face masks at the upcoming science fair was brought to the board. The board denied the request and instead approved recommending but not requiring masks.
•Athletic Director Chris Hess laid out the latest Montana High School Association proposals which included adding baseball as an approved sport as well as basketball 35-second shot clocks. Hess represents the board when he attends and votes at the upcoming MHSA annual meeting. The board agreed Hess should vote in favor of both additions.
• The board discussed an upcoming county-wide school board meeting which would bring all five Madison County school boards together along with county commissioners and interested members of the public. It’s a long-standing tradition that had been cancelled in recent years due to the pandemic. This year is Ennis’ turn to host; it’s tentatively set for Feb. 28.
• The board approved the hiring of Jon Paisano as a fulltime summer custodian. Paisano currently drives bus and works in the cafeteria.
• Superintendent Klasna’s evaluation was performed in a closed session.
• The board will meet again for a regular meeting on Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. At a special meeting on Jan. 19:
• Following weeks of negotiations, the Ennis School Board approved the hiring of three Town of Virginia City employees to drive the Virginia City school bus route for the remainder of the school year. Pending certification, the drivers will hit the road starting the first week of February. This short-term fix is the result of bus driver staffing shortages which Superintendent Klasna said will likely continue; anyone interested in driving bus is encouraged to apply.
Harrison trustees consider sports proposals, advertise for new health coordinator position
The Harrison Public Schools Board of Trustees held their regular board meeting on Jan. 10. Here’s a recap of what was covered, according to Harrison Superintendent Billi Taylor.
• The board introduced the possibility of adding golf as another extracurricular activity for the next school year. The discussion will continue in February.
• Montana High School Association proposals related to the addition of shot clocks for all varsity basketball games as well as the addition of baseball as a Montana sport. The trustees will vote on the proposals.
• Through the state of Montana, the district received a School Workforce Grant to be used to hire a school-based health coordinator. The position is open and would run until June of 2023.
• Through the Office of Public Instruction, the district received an After School Program Grant which, following OPI approval, will be used to offer on and offsite activities, supplemental learning, tutoring.
• Stipends were approved for teachers that have signed up to help clean the school due to custodial staffing shortages.
• Academic eligibility requirement language was updated for clarity.
• Superintendent Taylor’s contract was considered and approved. The superintendent evaluation was performed in December.
• Final reading was completed on several policies. • Next month’s agenda will include clerk’s evaluation, tenure contracts and the board will start looking toward the next school year. The meeting is set for Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
Twin Bridges trustees approve football, discuss bond
The Twin Bridges Public Schools Board of Trustees held their regular board meeting on Jan. 11. Here’s a recap of what was covered, according to Twin Bridges Superintendent Thad Kaiser.
• The district’s special education program was found to be up to the standards of the Office of Public Instruction.
•Robotics Club, several grades, business and art classes and other student groups all received funds from the Hamilton Community Grant. •Both Sheridan and Twin Bridges School Boards approved the formation of an eight-player football cooperative. Paperwork must be filed with the Montana High School Association by Feb. 1. Team name and mascot have yet to be determined.
•Teacher housing was discussed in the Twin Bridges School and Community Foundation Report. It’s a big project for the foundation; the district owns a vacant lot and has plans to build two small rental units on the lot. Discussions were had regarding possible funding sources and partnerships, potentially with Habitat for Humanity or Headwaters C&D. There are two donors interested in participating and a retired district teacher is looking into grant funding.
•A closed-session superintendent evaluation took place. In the coming months Superintendent Kaiser can negotiate additional salaries and to extend his contract.
•In response to a vacant seat on the board, trustees appointed Twin Bridges alumni Luke Banks, owner of Ruby Valley Fence Company. The official board election is in May, at which time Banks can run for the spot if desired.
•The school building project bond planning process continues. The school has ESSER money, earmarked for an aging portion of the building which was built in 1954 and needs air quality improvements. With that project, an air handler and heating controls will be installed. Other needs were discussed, including air ducts, drop ceiling, lighting and so on. LED lights will be installed by working with Northwestern Energy. The building’s envelope will also be addressed for efficiency. A new addition to the project is the main gym, built in 1963, that could use some upgrades related to safety and code issues. The bond election related to this project will take place June 7, 2022.