Menomonie Schools approve fall sports and activities, broadband resolution, defeat Native American Mascot resolution | Wis.Community

Menomonie Schools approve fall sports and activities, broadband resolution, defeat Native American Mascot resolution

August 24, 2020 - 5:45pm
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Menomonie School Board 8/24/2020

Menomonie Schools Annual Meeting

In a wide-ranging and very long meeting tonight the School Board of the District of the Menomonie area took many actions relating to the opening of schools, and held the Annual Meeting. The evening's agenda was to hold the School Board meeting before the school's annual meeting, but the board meeting was much too long to fit into the allotted one-hour slot, so it was continued after the Annual Meeting. The first live-stream video here is of the portion of the board meeting before the Annual Meeting, and the second includes the Annual Meeting and the balance of the School Board meeting.

School Board Meeting:

III. ACTION ITEM

A. Action to Approve SDMA Student Participation in Fall Sports and Student Activities 14:20

There was some contentious discussion on this item, particularly in regard to the higher-risk contact sports such as football. The Dunn County Health Department had recommended that the high-risk sports not start in the fall, but was not willing to forbid the sports program. Several of the board members wanted to follow the more stringent path that would do more to prevent the students' exposure to COVID-19, while other board members felt that if there was no order not to have the sports programs and other extra-curricular activities it was more important to provide the programs in the schools since there are also considerations of mental health of the students involved. This motion passed 5-3 with members J. Swanson, A. Swanson, and Freeman voting against.

B. Approve Update to 2020-2021 Staffing Plan 59:00

Several additions were approved to the staffing plan for the school year that were required due to the pandemic. The vote was unanimous.

The board then adjourned for the Annual Meeting (below.) The board meeting resumed at 1;11 in the second video on this page.

C. Approve 66:0301 Special Education Cooperative Agreement between SMDA and the Eau Claire Area School District - passed unanimously

D. Approve Resolution Regarding Retirement of Native American Mascots, Symbols, Images, Logos and Nicknames in Public Schools  - 1:14 in second video

After some discussion, this resolution was defeated 3-5. The resolution had been approved last year and went to the state WASB convention, where it was denied by the state group. 

E. Approve Resolution Regarding School District Funding To Ensure Act 31 Compliance - 1:19 in second video

After a brief discussion this was passed on a 5-3 vote

F. Approve Resolution Regarding Expansion of Affordable, Accessible Broadband In All Wisconsin Communities Along With School District Funding To Ensure Broadband Access For Students and Staff - 1:26 in second video

This was approved unanimously by the board.

 DISCUSSION ITEMS/POLICY REVIEW

A. COVID-19 Report - 1:28 in second video

B. Review Updates to SDMA Reopening Plan - 1:29 in the second video

Much of this discussion revolved around issues with the bus and asking parents to provide their own transportation to the schools if possible, and  other things  that may be done to protect students and bus drivers. There was also a discussion of whether face masks would still be required after the state masking order expires on Sept. 28. There was no resolution to whether there would be a requirement through the end of the semester, and that it will be re-considered in September.

C. Discuss SDMA Face Covering Guidance

D. Policy 171.1, Agenda Preparation and Dissemination (First Reading)  2:00 in second video

E. Correction of Previously Discussed Private School Voucher Information

F. WASB Resolution Related to Private School Vouchers

G. Review Extracurricular Staff Contract Requests

H. Items Related to Next Meeting Dates, Board Committees, and Reports

Annual Meeting: 

The board meeting will be followed by the School District of the Menomonie Area Annual Meeting. The agenda for the Annual Meeting is also attached below. The second video will include the Annual Meeting AND the second half of the board meeting.

As is normally the case, the bulk of the meeting revolved around budgeting issues that were presented in detail both in the meeting and with the booklet provided. We will be uploading more of the budget information and slides from the presentation on Tuesday once they become available.

One surprising issue in the Annual Meeting took place when resident and former school board member Margaret Breisch introduced a resolution to amend the censure motion against Jim Swanson that was passed at an emergency meeting (42:00 in the second video). The original resolution also called out board member Penny Burstad for using the same inappropriate epithet in response to Swanson's outburst. Burstad denied using the language and the resolution was amended to simply withdraw the police report of disorderly conduct against Swanson. The motion failed 11-19 so the charge against Swanson will not be withdrawn. 

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