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School board reflects on new school's smooth opening

Superintendent Barry Cain said the first day of school at the new Ellsworth Elementary went even more smoothly than expected. Photo courtesy of Mindy Anderson

Ellsworth School District Superintendent Barry Cain was pleased to report on the successes of the new elementary school's opening at the Monday, Jan. 8 school board meeting.

"I think our staff as a whole was was quite thrilled on Thursday and Friday when we transitioned back following the winter break," Cain said. "Quite frankly, it went very well."

The district's high school and middle school students returned to classes on Thursday, Jan. 4, and elementary students were welcomed into their new school on Friday, Jan. 5. Cain told the board that bussing went smoothly on both first days back, and recognized Mike Chisolm, Denny Langer and the entire bus garage staff for managing their new bus routes.

"Many people wondered if we could properly bus our students in the timeframe that we did, and quite frankly, we got it done," Cain said.

According to Cain, the longest student bus ride time is 50 minutes, which he said will be shortened in the future once improvements to the route system are made.

"These are a lot of logistics things that may not mean a lot to other people, but we want to make sure we fulfill the promises we made," Cain said.

Cain also mentioned the food service employees, Panther Kids' Club staff, and the high school volunteers who serve as bussing mentors for younger students who all contributed to the trouble-free transition.

"When a day goes as smoothly as it did last Friday, it's easy to forget the work, the time, the effort, the hours, the arguments and everything else that went into [the transition], we take it for granted." Cain said. "A lot of people did great work."

The school board is hosting an open house for Ellsworth Elementary School on Monday, Jan. 22 from 5-7:30 p.m. A tab for the event was included in the Jan. 10 issue of the Herald.

Attendees will be given a chance to tour the new building, which the district plans to not only use as a school, but also as a community resource capable of hosting a wide variety of events.

"We're looking to get as many people from the community as possible to come in for the open house," Cain said at Monday's meeting. "It could really be a neat event for a lot of different people."

Board committee reports

The Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee met on Dec. 19 and looked at the list of current maintenance projects in the district along with the proposed projects for the 2018-19 school year. Prior to the Jan. 8 board meeting, the committee met to discuss solutions and costs for future repairs of the high school's kitchen floor and old restrooms.

Other business

The board unanimously approved the following:

• A resolution that authorizes the school district budget to exceed its revenue limit by $1 million per year for four years for non-recurring purposes

• A resolution that provides for a referendum election to carry out the above-mentioned resolution.

• The hiring of Buena Farrell (middle school study hall supervisor) and Brandon Voelker (high school C-team boys baseball coach)

• School board candidate ballot order for spring election (1. Steve Mark 2. Gary Brown 3. Katie Feuerhelm)

• Open enrollment space availability

The school district audit was tabled for the upcoming February meeting.

Board member Dana Glor was absent for the January meeting.

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