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PCM Explorer

Grass added as new school board member

The PCM School Board welcomed its newest member, Scott Grass, during the regular August meeting. Grass will be serving District 2 which was vacated after former member Mindy McCarthy passed away in July.

A Minnesota native, Grass said he always saw himself getting involved with the school and knew this was the right opportunity for him.

“It was a phone call from Mitchell (Chipps). I had thought about it in prior years and he said if you are ready to do it, this is the time to step in and get your feet wet and go with it,” Grass said. “With our kid getting old enough and going through school now, it was time to go on.”

Grass has been in the area for the past 11 years. Growing up, he said his parents were very active with the school, even serving as a school board member.

“They were on the school board, one of them if not both of them sometimes,” Grass said. “It was funny because I was north fishing this summer and my dad said I think it’s time you get on and I said it is something that interests me.”

The board had only a month to fill the seat after it was vacated. Grass joined just three days prior to the deadline, relieving the district of having to hold a special election which can cost upwards of $3,000-$5,000. With Grass joining the board, it is once again full with seven members.

“I enjoy knowing what is going on,” Grass said. “I don’t usually ask a lot of questions and this will be a great experience.”

In the ongoing renovation of the school, the board approved a payment to Riser Incorporation in the amount of $37,000 and $1,500 for bleacher repairs. The board initially approved a payment of $36,200 earlier this year but upon starting work, the contractor found 821 seats needed to be repaired versus the estimated 700 in the original quote.

“Troy (Graen) got a hold of us and he said he was off and he asked if it was alright to install the rest of the bleachers,” director of facilities and transportation Jeff Shannon said. “We talked to Brad (Jermeland) at the time. Troy wanted to know if he could bill us for the whole thing. Greg (Bonnett) and I, we thought it was more than fair that we pay for half of them and he pay the other half. He does a lot of work for us and he comes down whenever we need him.”

With the new school year starting, students and families had a couple of options for learning. Superintendent Michelle Havenstrite reported more than 60 students across the district have selected the At Home Learning option for the next semester.

“We’re actually having more families than we initially thought,” Havenstrite said.

Those who chose to participate in At Home Learning were required to sign a contract with the district. In the contract, it lays out the expectations for not only the school, but the student and support system for the semester.

“I don’t want any misinterpretation or confusion,” Havenstrite said.

To facilitate the At Home Learning, K-8 will use Edgenuity while the high school students will use APEX. Havenstrite said most districts are using online programs with very few schools steaming into the classroom for learning.

“One of the reasons is the liability with that,” Havenstrite said. “We would be streaming into someone’s home and it is hard to control what will happen in that home that would come across the screen.”

The district is currently using the services of a substitute teacher at this time to facilitate the program due to the large numbers of students and age of students. With it being new, Havenstrite said they feel more consistent monitoring may be necessary at first.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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