Goessel board hears of small kindergarten classes for next 2 years

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
John Fast, Goessel superintendent/K-6 principal, told the Goessel school board at its Aug. 9 meeting that small kindergarten classes projected for this fall and next fall could result in a “significant” enrollment drop for the district.

Fast said he expects this year’s kindergarten class to be very small, probably 10 students-two boys and eight girls. He said the district had 289 total students during the 2003-04 school year, and is projecting 280 students for this year.

Fast’s projections show another small kindergarten class-nine or 10 students-for 2005-06.

“This is an extremely serious situation for us,” he said.

Fast said he had checked the enrollment history of the school district and found there have been small classes before.

He said he plans to discuss the matter with the city council, stating, “The two have to work together…. This is not a situation for just one committee or one board to solve. It’s not just the school’s responsibility.”

The school district will again issue an invitation to home-school families to be involved in part or all of the school day if they wish.

Junior/senior high principal Curt Graves said the VIP program will include junior high and high school students this year. He said it will be an incentive program to motivate students in a positive way to improve academically.

Any student who is on the honor roll or who improves his or her grade-point average will qualify. The VIP program will be based solely on academics.

But Graves said he also plans to implement a student-of-the-month program, which would include more than academic achievement. He plans to have three students selected each month.

Darla Meysing, president of the Parent-Teacher Organization, discussed with the board the possibility of installing new gym flooring at the elementary school. She said the gym is used every school day by every student. In addition, junior high basketball players use it for practice and the recreation commission uses the gym for Biddy Ball games.

Meysing said some are concerned about the slick floor. She said the PTO is designating fund-raising money for a new floor.

Meysing is also on the recreation commission and said the commission is willing to help fund a new floor.

Fast showed samples of flooring that could be installed over the existing floor. Sweeping and washing would be the only maintenance required. Fast showed several color choices. It would be multi-purpose flooring that would cushion falls and comes with a 30-year warranty.

Asked by board member Dewayne Voth about the cost of the flooring, Fast estimated the price tag at $50,000.

Board member Mary Rosfeld asked if students can skate on the flooring. Fast said yes, but the steel casters on the roll-out bleachers would have to be replaced.

Board chairman Lynel Unrau said floor has been on the capital outlay list. The board did not make a decision on flooring.

Architect Wally Schultz attended the meeting to discuss track and football bleachers. He had revised his drawings since the last board meeting.

Schultz said that six handicap-accessible seats are required for bleachers that seat up to 600 spectators. The plan calls for seating for 529. Fast said the west gate would be available for handicap-vehicle transportation.

The board discussed a concrete pad under the bleachers versus gravel.

“I don’t know how much we’d save by going with gravel, but I’d like to see it done right,” Rosfeld said. She recommended a concrete slab and board member Dan Miller agreed.

Schultz said bleacher manufacturers recommended a concrete slab because it doesn’t erode. Fast asked about life expectancy of the proposed bleachers. Schultz said he thinks the bleachers would last 20 to 30 years. But, he added, rules and codes change.

Schultz said the bleachers would cost between $67,350 and $75,000, including installation but not the slab. Board members estimated $30,000 for the slab.

Schultz estimated the press box/concession/restroom building would cost $60,000. Together, Miller estimated it would take $160,000 to finish the stadium project by putting in bleachers and erecting a building.

Putting the project in perspective, Fast said the entire stadium would cost and estimated $300,000. Half of that amount has already been spent on the completed track.

Fast said he the coaches would prefer that bleacher installation and building construction wait until this football season is over.

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