Class conferences changes generate debate

After about eighty-five minutes of discussion in two different increments, the Milaca School Board approved a change for a college writing class on a 5-2 vote at its April 17 meeting.

The change for the class, called a College in the Schools writing class that is taught by veteran English teacher Audrey French, will now allow time for conferences with individual students.

Board members Mark Herzing and Todd Quaintance repeatedly expressed reservations about the change during the meeting and both ended up voting against the motion to approve the change

There was discussion about the change early in the meeting, with French and Mora High School teacher Julia Blenkush, who runs a similar class there, telling board members what they thought the advantages of changing the program would be.

That discussion went for about 50 minutes and then the subject came up later on the agenda before the vote on a motion.

Included in the motion was approval of the schedule change with an off-campus component that will allow participating students to not be at school, if they choose, during the conference time for other students.

Quaintance asked about conferences in either first hour (beginning of the school day) or seventh hour (end of the day. He said he didn’t like the off-campus part of the proposal.

Herzing asked if it was fair to all students to allow such a thing, saying he was concerned about safety of students and about attendance.

Quaintance and Herzing kept repeating their concerns and finally board chair Jeff Larson asked Superintendent Jerry Hansen what his concerns were about the proposal.

“Very little to none,” Hansen answered. “What I’ve heard from Mora is nothing but positive.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, May 3 print edition of the Times.