Concerned parent at BEA board meeting
Janel Buseman, mother of Blue Earth Area High School senior Zach Buseman, addressed the BEA School Board at the last board meeting on Oct. 16. Buseman contended that outdated and inconsistent school policies led to her son’s recent suspension.
According to Ms. Buseman, Zach missed two academic school days beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 3 after admitting to school officials of using a vaporizer and having the vaporizer, or vape, in his vehicle.
Despite the student using a non-nicotine product with the vape, and also testing negative for marijuana, heroine, and nicotine, possession of a vape is in violation of the Blue Earth Student Code of Conduct regulations because it is considered as tobacco paraphernalia. After listening to Buseman, the board took no action on the issue. In other matters at the School Board meeting, BEA’s 6-12 grade choir teacher Paul Johnson updated the board on his plans to organize a three-day trip to the Quad Cities. From April 6-9, BEA choir students will be going to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Activities on the trip will include a riverboat cruise, a visit to the famous I-80 truck stop, and a possible Broadway play.
On the way back from the trip, students will visit Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Wartburg’s Dr. Lee Nelson will work with BEA students in a master class setting, as well as an exchange concert with the Wartburg choir. Johnson estimates the cost of the trip will amount to $500 per student.
In addition, Principal Rich Schneider and newly hired business teacher Holly Christian organized a video presentation for the board.
As part of the presentation, the video detailed the need for more skilled labor within the United States. In an attempt to guide students back towards the skilled labor field, elective courses such as introduction to agriculture and intro to engineering, are available to BEA students. Vocational opportunities with the Future Farmers of America are also available to students.
In superintendent Evan Gough’s report, the board learned BEA student enrollment currently stands at 1,085. In October 2016, student enrollment was 1,124. Since October 2012, enrollment numbers have declined each year at BEA.
Action items from the meeting included:
Approval of the master contract with the Blue Earth Area Education Association.
A motion was carried to authorize the Bullying Prevention Proclamation.
The board approved the high school concert choir’s tour to the Quad Cities.
A check in the amount of $9,986.18 from the Midwest Dairy Council Super School Breakfast Grant was accepted by the School Board.
Contracts for the following school employees were approved by the board: Holly Stevermer of the Agri-Science Extended Program; Gifted and Talented coordinator David Kittleson, youth development coordinator Shannon Swanson; technology coordinator Jennifer Berkner; and accountants Karen Hougen and Heidi Olson.
The resignations of paraprofessional Karen Zabel and Little Giants Marvel Hiniker were approved by the board.
Sara Rothmeier’s leave of absence, which will approximately begin on Jan. 25, was also approved by the board.
The next regular School Board meeting will take place on Nov. 20.