The Laporte School Board held its first meeting Monday night since school resumed last week, and according to the administration the first week of school went smoothly.
“The first week went about like we expected. It wasn’t perfect, but we found our way,” said Principal AJ Dombeck. “I think the mask wearing became normal and our staff did a nice job of modeling that, asking for that and explaining it. It really seems now to be a non-issue. Everyone knows what they need to do.”
Dombeck said about 25 percent of the 300-plus students chose to continue with virtual learning option. There are also a few families they have been unable to contact who have decided to either home-school or enroll their child into another school district.
A board member asked if there were any issues with distance learning for any of the students. Dombeck stated there were no issues with the virtual learning system overloading. He did say a few families are receiving hard copies of student assignments until they get internet service.
Board Chair John Seegmiller said he popped in a couple times during the first week and thought everyone was in a good mood, students were behaving, and the teachers and staff seemed to be upbeat. “I thought it was a good environment.”
Superintendent Kim Goodwin said it’s a been a steep learning curve for the staff, adding, “They have gone above and beyond the first week.”
The board also authorized the administration to hire one to three paraprofessionals for new special education students who will soon be enrolling.
At the beginning of the meeting, Seegmiller announced that all board meetings are open to the public, so long as guests wear a mask and practice social distancing.
The board also certified the 2020 Tax Levy, payable in 2021, at the maximum amount, which is $502,541.71. The Truth in Taxation meeting was set for Dec. 14 at 5:45 p.m.
In other school business, the board:
Approved the Stellher contract for the 2020-21 school year, which is for a mental health provider position.
Adopted the COVID-19 face covering policy.
Approved the first reading of the Title IX Sex Nondiscrimination Policy and Grievance, which is for staff and students.
Accepted Megan Weinmann’s resignation.
Passed a motion to wait until January for church release time for students.
Three of the area churches contacted by the school preferred to hold off until January, and the board agreed.
“The risks are too high right now. We have enough going on with our staff,” Seegmiller said. “When the time is appropriate we’ll go back.”
Approved extra-curricular coaches and advisors for the school year. The only open position right now is the junior class advisor.