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Chamber Hears Of Teacher Shortage, Fair Meal Planned

Culbertson’s Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture met at Me Too Pizza Monday, Aug. 7, to discuss the upcoming chamber evening meal at Roosevelt County Fair and other reports from Culbertson Public School and Roosevelt Medical Center.
The chamber meal at the Roosevelt County Fair will begin serving at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11. The meal from last year was estimated to cost the chamber under $1,600 and the same is expected for this year. For this year’s meal, the plates have been updated due to reports that last year’s plates tended to fold and spill food. Preparation for the meal will begin an hour before serving.
Chamber members are continuing to search for volunteers that are willing to help set-up and serve at the fair. Anyone who is interested in volunteering their afternoon to help the chamber can contact any chamber member or call 787-6643.
Ken Forbregd gave the chamber a report on the possible fish pond, sharing that he is currently negotiating with the property owner.
“We are at a standstill, but there is still a strong possibility,” said Forbregd.
A report from the hospital was given by Jaimee Green, RMC marketing and foundation director. Green mentioned that the mid-level provider, Patti Alderson, is no longer working with the hospital and that they are actively recruiting for another provider to fill the position.
Fall Fright Fest’s entertainment was discussed, with Green stating that, last year at the event, a survey was handed out to attendees. One of the top entertainment interests was magic and hypnotism, so a hypnotist and magician will be the entertainment for the evening this year. Green is searching for volunteers that would like to be hypnotized.
Larry Crowder, chamber secretary/treasurer and superintendent at Culbertson Public School, said that school will be in session once again Wednesday, Aug. 23.
Last week, the individual that was offered the third-grade teacher contract declined, so the school is continuing to actively search for another to fill the position. A sixth-grade teacher is also needed, as well as two custodians.
If the sixth-grade and third-grade teaching positions are not filled, Crowder explained an “optional but not optimal” plan of action that the school could consider. This would be that the two third-grade classes are to be placed into one classroom, instead of broken into two separate classes. Then, they would have the sixth-grade class move into a junior high setting.
Another option that Crowder discussed would be to hire individuals to teach that are not certified, but will be placed into an “emergency certification” program, which he said is unfortunately becoming more common.
It was said by Crowder that 95 percent of school districts in Montana are considered rural by federal definition and 76 percent of all schools are rural by federal definition.
“The teacher shortage is at a nationwide level. I hope that we can be looked at by the rural perspective and not just looked at through the scope of bigger schools in the state that are often referred to as the ‘Big Seven’ that includes Billings, Great Falls and so on,” shared Crowder.
The next chamber meeting will be held at the town hall Wednesday, Nov. 1, at noon.