MENOMONIE — The Menomonie school board approved a new open records policy at their meeting Monday afternoon in hopes to clear up some confusion regarding records in the district.

In a unanimous vote, the board approved an open records policy which is more in line with the state policy that includes clearer language stating district open records are available to the public for request both physically and electronically.

Prior to Monday’s school board meeting, the Menomonie school district had a policy in which anyone can request to receive open and public records of district activities, a policy which is commonly reviewed and updated internally to allow an open-ended dialogue with community members so they can remain knowledgeable about district activities.

The added aspects to the policy now include clearer language which states individuals can now make requests for open records via email, and ensure that public documents are available to the general public.

The board’s annual review of curriculum standards was also discussed at Monday’s meeting, where some concerns were raised by a few board members.

Annually, the board discusses an updated curriculum standards document in which goals for the district’s curriculum are discussed and changed to reflect where the Menomonie school district is during that current year and where they want to end up.

The 37 goals the district had for the 2018-19 school year were slightly overwhelming to internalize and understand, board member Dan Paulson said, fearing it might be unrealistic to expect the district to succeed in achieving all of the expectations they set for themselves.

“I’m impressed with the breadth of this project,” Paulson said. “But I’m wondering if we are fully implementing all of these standards in each of these areas.”

An area in which the district needs to improve is the arts, board member Chris Freeman said.

He said he see the arts becoming less and less of an integral part of the students’ education as they progress through their academic career, but the expectations set for them in the arts continues to stay the same or even increase.

Freeman said the arts need to be addressed in the future if the students in the district are to have the best education possible.

“If we got half way to where those guidelines want us to be, we’d be doing very well in terms of the arts,” Freeman said. “I think we have to have some consensus in terms of what these types of educations do and how they operate so that we can better articulate how we position our district going forward.”

The last item discussed on the agenda was the annual district work plan. This is an annual discussion in which the district discusses proceedings for the next school year and district administrator Joe Zydowsky said it continues to be a beneficial proceeding for the board and community.

“This has been a great way for us to develop our work plan and get input on what the board wants the leadership team and the staff to focus on,” Zydowsky said. “It really helps with the communication and also sets a clear vision for what we are to do.”

No additional discussion was had on the district work plan for 2019-2020, as the document was sent out prior to the meeting to board members to ensure their understanding of the document and the plan going forward.

The next Menomonie school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 22.

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