GHEC board talks addition

GRANADA- On Thursday evening the Granada-Huntley-East Chain School Board heard from Superintendent Doug Storbeck regarding preliminary plans for an addition to the school building.

Storbeck shared some blueprints for the project. The proposed additions include three classrooms, one of which would be an ag classroom. Another would be preschool/kindergarten room with its own bathroom.

“It does have a storm shelter. That’s a requirement if we’re adding space that we also have to add a proportional amount of storm shelter area,” Storbeck said.

He said a freezer area would also be added in the kitchen for more cold storage. Storbeck said the people who drafted the outline will put together a proposal.

“My hope was that if we dragged our feet the prices would slowly settle back down to where they were but that is not the case. I’m fearful we won’t get a price we like but I’ll hope for the best,” Storbeck said.

Board Member Chris Pytleski asked if there’s a number in mind of what they can afford. Storbeck said he’s holding conversations on how to best use the funds in the district’s fund balance and how they can best use the ag to school tax credit.

Board Member Ross Gronewald said they talked about doing it in phases if they have to. Board Member Brad Mattson added that they need the freezer regardless.

Storbeck added that he thought it would be more important to add classroom space, rather than more ag space because they can function with the current ag space.

“I think let’s get the initial amounts back and move forward with what we can afford,” Storbeck said.

He added that the district is planning on funding the addition on its own and doesn’t intend to receive help from the taxpayers.

Moving to other matters, the board also considered a three year agreement with Martin County for a School Resource Officer. The district and county had first partnered together to provide a SRO in 2019 and as that three year contract is coming to an end, the district wanted to renew it, albeit with a few changes.

It was previously a 66/33 split with the district paying the majority of the full-time position. However, moving forward the district would like to have a SRO reduced to three days a week.

“If we reduce it to three days a week, our portion of the contract goes from 66 percent to 40 percent,” Storbeck said.

Storbeck said he’s had conversations with Sheriff Markquart who was in favor of the idea. The plan will go to the Martin County Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday.

The board approved of the three year agreement to have Deputy Chris Gerhardt once again serve as SRO for the district.

In other news, the board also considered limiting open enrollment for grades 5 and 7 for the 2022-23 school year. Storbeck provided the board with a breakdown of each grade level by resident and non-resident.

“I did include second grade… we’ve had the discussion at our leadership team meetings about class size in general,” Storbeck said.

He added that the rough suggestion was 24 or 25 students in a class at early elementary grade levels, 26 for upper elementary, 28 for elementary and no restrictions within reason at the high school level because students are better spread out there.

Several questions were asked by board members regarding the number of paraprofessionals needed in a classroom.

Based on numbers for next year, Storbeck said he highly recommended putting a limit on the number of non-resident pupils for grades 5 and 7.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the grades 5 and 7. For grade 2, I don’t know if we want to do that just yet,” said Pytleski.

The board voted to limit open enrollment for grades 5 and 7 for the 2022-23 school year.


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