GHEC hires new leader, SRO

GRANADA — The Granada-Huntley-East Chain School Board on Thursday approved a contract for Doug Storbeck as superintendent/principal for the 2019-22 school years.

Storbeck is currently principal at St. James Public School. He will begin his new position July 1, taking over from GHEC Superintendent Mandy Fletcher, who has accepted a position as superintendent at Blue Earth Area Schools.

The school board also accepted a school resource officer memorandum of understanding with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, which is a three-year commitment beginning Sept. 1 and ending Aug. 31, 2022. Fletcher said it is typical for the commitment to be three years.

The board has been working with the Sheriff’s Office for many months to get a SRO at the school. The school and county agreed on a 66/33 split to pay the cost of the full-time deputy, with the total coming to about $108,000. The school will pay the 66 percent.

Moving to other matters, the board heard an update from Ron Lenz, owner of the Truman Bus Company, with which Granada contracts for bus services. Lenz said he really appreciates the support from the school and community this past year in dealing with all of the inclement weather.

“Ninety-nine percent of parents have been supportive, but 1 percent have been frustrated, but it’s not just here,” he said, noting that other communities have been dealing with the weather as well.

Many bus companies in the area have said they will only drive on hard surfaces. Lenz said 75 percent to 80 percent of students attending GHEC live adjacent to hard surfaces but some live next to gravel. The company takes students to the nearest corner. Even now, Lenz said bus wheels spin badly on the gravel and all the rain is not helping.

“We hope we get back on them soon but only time will tell and we’ll contact everyone when we’re back to normal,” he said.

Lenz asked people to remain patient, since safety comes first.

“We make the decision in the interest of the children,” he said,

In other business, the board heard a brief update from activities director Erin Roiger, who said spring sports are in full swing but the district has had to remain flexible with make-up dates because of the rain.

Roiger noted that the middle school and high school spring concert is set for 7 p.m. Monday while the elementary spring concert will take place at 1:45 p.m. May 21.

“I will be starting fall activity signups next week,” Roiger said. “We’re excited to be offering a couple more options for our students next year with the addition of tennis with Fairmont, and also knowledge bowl will be on the list.”

Superintendent Mandy Fletcher provided an update on water leak and tornado damage from the storm last September. While roof damage was repaired immediately, some projects were able to be put off, but all projects should be completed over the summer. Once students are out, the carpet will be replaced in the media center and main office, with the work covered by insurance.

A new scoreboard should be in by the end of July. Fletcher said the district is still waiting on some quotes for new bleachers on the visitors side of the football field.

While the school got some new landscaping at the front entrance last summer, it did not survive the storm. Fletcher said some middle school students will help teachers do some landscaping May 31 during community service day. They will lay down new fabric, dig out old plants and put in some mulch.

Fletcher also reminded the board that graduation rehearsal is May 24 and the ceremony is May 26. Eight seniors will graduate this year.

In other action, the board:

o Approved a contract for Taylor Topinka as assistant principal for the 2019-22 school years.

o Approved a contract for Stephanie Topinka as a third-grade elementary school teacher for the 2019-20 school year.

o Approved a contract for Zac Huntley as the district IT coordinator for the 2019-20 school year.

o Approved a contract for Gary Holmseth as the district technology coach for the 2019-20 school year.

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