Ironmen KOd from playoff chase

by Tom Coombe -

Ely School Board members heard from some of their youngest constituents on Monday night.
While reports from the high school student council are a regular agenda item for monthly board meetings, this week marked the first time the board heard from the fledgling elementary student council.
About a dozen Washington Elementary student leaders, from third through fifth grade, talked to the board about items ranging from hot water for school bathrooms to sanitary issues in the delivery of school lunch.
Formed in 2016, the elementary student council provides a forum for students to lead, and for students to bring requests and ideas related to school operations and activities.
Students are nominated by their peers and approved by their teachers, with one boy and one girl selected in each third through fifth-grade classroom in the school.
One of the volunteer advisors to the student council, elementary teacher John Meyer credited the students for their leadership and initiative.
“It’s really impressive to us how these kids are leading,” said Meyer.
The elementary student council helped organized a “Veterans Wall,” that included tributes to veterans and was on display in November, when the school hosted its annual Veterans Day program.
This winter, the young student leaders also stepped up when they noticed that some of their peers had insufficient apparel to deal with cold temperatures.
“The students came to us and said we noticed that some kids at recess had holes in their gloves and mittens,” said Meyer.
The result was a glove and mitten drive, with the student council collecting additional gloves and mittens to distribute to students in need.
The council meets on a monthly basis and has, at times, sought meetings with principal Anne Oelke.
Oelke lauded the business-like approach the council has taken, to the point of requesting formal meetings with the principal when an issue arises.
Some of the students addressed an inquisitive board Monday, with third-grader Grant Chittum talking about a future mural project and Otto Devine asking for progress on efforts to make sure elementary school bathrooms had hot water.
The district is addressing the issue, and a report from facilities manager Tim Leeson on the regular meeting agenda indicated that the district is waiting for bids from contractors for the project.
The students also asked that district food service staff be require to wear hair nets, although superintendent Kevin Abrahamson said that only hats are currently required.
Other student leaders in attendance Monday were Sova Meyer, Mattie Lindsay, Wyatt Devine, Bela Moskowitz, Brooks Brenny, Isabella Macho, Axel Skustad, Alison Poppler and Sabrah Hart.
Both Meyer and elementary teacher Nancy Preblich serve as advisors.
Board members invited the students to return to a future meeting.
In other business, the board:
• Retroactively approved the hanging of a banner in the Ely Arena honoring 1965 graduate and West Point Athletic Hall of Famer Dave Merhar.
Merhar was recognized at a ceremony prior to a recent high school hockey game.
Board members also suggested that the district come up with procedures to handle future requests to display banners at school facilities.
• Approved the high school band trip to Chicago, set for early-April.
• Hired Mataya Barrett for a part-time paraprofessional job.
• Approved a revised staff development plan.
• Accepted a revised 2018-19 budget, showing a roughly $168,000 deficit in operating funds. The district has built substantial reserves the last several years, including unrestricted fund balances of more than $2.5 million.
• Accepted the resignation/retirement notice submitted by elementary school teacher Darren Visser, who will move on after 22 years with the district.
• Agreed to explore scheduling a meeting with district attorney Kelly Klun, if any new information emerges in the ongoing conciliation court case brought against the district by 16 teachers over payroll deductions.