In a perfect world, graduation would be held in the gym, Nate Meissner said at the Brandon-Evansville School Board meeting Monday, May 18.

Meissner, high school principal and athletic director for the B-E district, said instead, because of COVID-19 and the guidelines set forth by the state, he is hoping the upcoming June 27 graduation ceremony will go as planned on the football field. He also said that depending on how things go, it could turn into a parking lot ceremony.

“If we are ‘forced’ to do the parking lot, it will be in Evansville. And if restrictions get more firm, then it will be a virtual ceremony,” Meissner told school board members. “Right now, there is a lot up in the air. We will see what transpires.”

Meissner, who will be leaving the district at the end of the school year and is moving to the Minnewaska School District, said prom was canceled and that the prizes will be given away in a drawing that is set to take place on May 26.

As for summer recreation, Meissner said it is still in limbo, but that summer rec programs for June have been postponed and will hopefully open back up in July.

The last day for seniors will be May 22, while May 27 is the last day for all the grades. Materials that students have had at home during distance learning will be turned in between May 21-27.

Meissner also told school board members that a big discussion right now for principals is what will be transpiring this fall and if distance learning is still going on, what will it look like.

“We are hoping to get some direction (from the state) sooner rather than later,” he said.

School board members approved the hiring of a new high school principal, who will be Meissner’s replacement. Brian Novak, who joined the meeting virtually for a few minutes to introduce himself, said he is looking forward to joining the B-E School District.

Originally from Grafton, North Dakota, Novak is currently a high school principal in the Lake of the Woods School District and has been for the last seven years.

He received his superintendent/principal licensure in 2007.

Trent Hintermeister, B-E Dean of Students, gave an update on the school district’s new website.

The school district will be using a new program called Apptegy and the new website is expected to be up and running by early June.

“It is going to be really cool and I am excited about it,” Hintermeister told school board members.

Superintendent Don Peschel talked about the staffing situation for the district, indicating that the district will soon be fully staffed in certified staff members and have a couple of non-certified staff members left to hire.

“I feel comfortable in the staffing realm,” Peschel said.

Peschel also provided an update on incoming kindergarten numbers for this fall. As of May 18, he said there are 36 confirmed kindergarten students that will be starting this fall, which he said is a good number at this time of year.

The school district is looking into new smart boards for the district and is considering leasing rather than buying, Peschel said. To purchase the number that is needed for the district, Peschel said it would cost around $96,000. However, by leasing the boards the cost would be spread out over a five-year period, which the district could work into its budget.

Peschel will be gathering more information about leasing versus buying and bring the information back to the school board.

He also touched on budgeting for the 2020-21 school year and said he has some concerns about finances. Peschel said the district is starting to take a look at everything, including programming.

“We want to do what is least impactful to students and staff,” he said. “I want us prepared for next year. I don’t want to alarm anyone, I just want you all to be aware.”

In board action

The school board approved the following items:

  • Resolution for Minnesota State High School League membership.

  • Resignation of Audrey Bramwell, cook.

  • Resignation of Scott Steele as student council advisor.

  • Contract for Brian Novak, principal.

  • Contract for Michelle Firchau, art teacher.

  • Contract for CJ Peeters, business/technology teacher.

  • Athletic director position change. Instead of an assistant athletic director and a director, there will only be just one position, the athletic director.