During the January meeting of Amery’s Board of Education, Shawn Doerfler, District Administrator, said he and school nurse Linnae Seaman are working with Polk County Health in regards to COVID-19 vaccination. He said they have been told by the State and Polk County Health that after the essential workers at long-term care facilities, educators will be next on the list. 

He said, “We are working to determine when that will be.” Doerfler said all staff that has interest in being vaccinated has declared so. “We are hopeful it will be sooner rather than later,” he said.

School Nutrition

During her yearly school nutrition update, Stacy Nelson shared there is some kitchen equipment that will soon need to be replaced. She said there is an oven and kettle cookers at Lien Elementary that are original to the building from 1967. There is an oven at Amery High School that has been there since 1975. The Board said she should start getting estimates for new equipment. 

She said the summer food service program from last year saw 34,322 breakfasts and 34,286 lunches being served from seven days at the end of March through June 2020. This was a combination of bulk meals that were picked up by families while students were not in school and meals served at Clubhouse. 

Nelson said the current percentage of students on free and reduced lunches in the district saw Lien Elementary with 44%, Amery Intermediate with 38%, Amery Middle School with 38% and Amery High School with 29%. This averages out to a number of 37% district wide.

AHS Gymnasium Flooring

“I feel like every time I come up here I am asking for something,” said AHS Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Jeff Fern as he opened conversation about replacing the wood flooring in the school’s gymnasium. He jokingly said he was asking to replace something that is only 44 years old compared to School Nutrition Director Nelson, who was asking to replace something 54-years-old. 

He said the gym might be the classroom that is used the most when you look at the high school on a calendar year. It is used for a variety of things including, classroom, athletics, graduation, assemblies and other large events. “It is 44-years-old. It is like playing on concrete. Floors are built significantly different now days,” he said. Fern said the floor has zero flexibility, give, rebound and absorption.

He had a contractor show him how the floor is constructed. “A clip and channel floor is what we have,” said Fern. He relayed that the contractor said if a tornado comes through, that floor is not moving, which is a good thing. “But, if you see one of our players hit the deck and you hear that crash; there is no absorption and no vibration. There are dead spots. When you walk across it, it creaks. It is definitely something we need to look at,” Fern said.

Options include possibly sanding down the floor once again or installation of a new floor. Sanding the floor down might get another six or seven years out of it, but Fern said George Sigsworth, Facilities Director, is unsure how much is left to sand down. 

If they decide to have a new floor installed and ready for the fall volleyball season, Fern said they would need to make a decision sooner rather than later to get on an installation list for the summer. The district has secured bids from Baseman Floors, Inc., Jwood Sports Flooring and Schmidt Custom Floors. Fern said he had looked at a variety of floors that Jwood has done in the area and added they had done the floor in Lien Elementary, so the district has a prior relationship with them. “I am not an expert on these floors but I have talked it over with George and we are very confident about Jwood out of Hudson.”

Shawn Doerfler told the Board, “This purchase, if it occurs would be part of the $700,000 of the April 2017 referendum.”

Board member Char Glenna asked if Fern had gotten any references from the other two flooring companies. He said he had not, but he could. It was decided that some more legwork could be done and it could be rediscussed at February’s meeting.

School Board election:

There are two At Large positions the public will be voting on in April, which are seats currently held by Keith Anderson and Char Glenna. Both have decided to re-run and thus far nobody else has tossed their name into the hat. 

Personnel

New Employees/Athletic Contracts were approved for: Destiny DiCosimo, Clubhouse Lead Teacher; Noah McCoy, Bus Driver; Kylee Olson, Clubhouse Assistant Teacher; Heidi Pearson, Clubhouse Assistant Teacher; Tracy Pratt, Custodian – Middle School; Jessica Wittkop, Library Media Paraeducator – Lien Elementary.

Resignations approved were: Lori Swiontek, Custodian – Middle School.

Retirements approved were: Lisa Hill, Montessori Teacher – Lien Elementary

Doerfler said, “I have a little recognition on Lisa Hill and her retirement. She has been here in Amery for 23 years. She taught prior in Texas and Minnesota. Her favorite memories would be all of the things students have said to her over the years. ‘Great stories and answers to questions that I have never even thought about. Also, I treasure the memories I have made with wonderful coworkers and have been blessed with over these years. Amery has great staff and great students.’” Doerfler shared Hill is looking forward to selling her home and most of her belongings and traveling around the country with her husband in their camper. Their first stop will be visiting granddaughters near San Antonio, Texas.

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