Following the resignation of one board member and the expected resignation of another, the Eden Prairie School Board plans to discuss and vote on a process for filling board vacancies at its Sept. 27 meeting.
In May 2021, Veronica Stoltz resigned her seat and Karla Bratrud was appointed on a 4-2 board vote June 18 to fill the position until a special election on Nov. 2.
At that time, the board was split on the best way to make that appointment. Some favored an open process allowing community members to apply, others for appointing the next highest vote-getter from the last election. Still, others believed picking someone with previous board experience made the most sense.
Bratrud had served on the board from 2012-16 and again in 2019 to fill another 11-month vacancy. She made it clear when she was appointed in June that she would not be running for the seat in November.
Five candidates are running for Stoltz’s open seat in the special election: Steve Bartz, Albert Born, Michelle Mattison, Francesca Pagan-Umar and Darryl Stanton. See profiles on the candidates here.
Second resignation coming
On Aug. 19, board member Beth Fletcher announced her intention to resign this fall. As of Sept. 25, she had not made that resignation official.
At a Sept. 13 board workshop, members discussed how best to fill Fletcher’s position, since the resignation will come too late to allow it to be placed on the Nov. 2 special election ballot.
A few options for special election dates in 2022 were discussed, but all agreed that a process was needed for selecting temporary board members.
The Sept. 27 agenda lists a vacancy process that will be up for a board vote.
Superintendent Josh Swanson is scheduled to present an update on the COVID-19 situation in the district.
Two Eden Prairie schools – Oak Point Elementary and Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion – were reported by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Sept. 24 as having five or more confirmed cases of COVID-19.
EPLN has reached out to MDH for clarification of whether data reported is for each school or the overall building they are in, but they did not immediately respond. Oak Point and Eagle Heights are both located in the same building campus.
“Schools that have five or more confirmed cases within a two-week period are included in the named list of schools on our situation update webpage,” according to the MDH website.
The site also says that schools will be removed from the list after 28 days with no new lab-confirmed cases.
MDH updates its case data in school buildings every Thursday.
Eden Prairie’s case rate up
Hennepin County’s COVID-19 Public Dashboard reported Eden Prairie’s case rate for Aug. 31-Sept. 13 at 34.4 per 10,000 residents, up from 30.8 the previous two-week period. The city’s case rate has been rising slowly since the beginning of August when it was at 22.7.
The district recently began publishing a COVID-19 Dashboard, which it had discontinued at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
As of Sept. 24, 33 cases were reported in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade students, up from 16 reported on Sept. 17.
In the same period, seven cases were reported in grades 6-12, including the TASSEL program. That figure is up from five Sept. 17.
Three cases were reported among staff Sept. 24, up from two Sept. 17.
Data is reported for the previous 14-day period. Eden Prairie has 9,331 students and 1,825 staff members, which includes coaches, advisors and reserve staff.
The district’s COVID-19 Safe Learning Plan requires masks for students when indoors in pre-K through 6th grade and recommends them for all students in the district.
All staff are required to wear face coverings if they are unvaccinated or when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance from students.
Staff who are fully vaccinated and maintain social distance in the school may remove their face covering when it “supports educational outcomes.”
Due to the highly contagious Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status,” according to its most recent update on Sept. 13.
The school board meeting begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Administrative Services Center, 8100 School Road. The public is invited to attend. Anyone planning to make comments to the board should check the procedure here. The meeting also is available on Zoom here.