The Lanesboro, Minn., School Board heard at their regular September 13 meeting that the school was fully staffed for the year, unlike last year when staff openings had existed and resulted in a need for creative staffing to cover classes. At this time, there is only a paraprofessional opening left to be filled.
Superintendent Matt Schultz shared that a full-time K-3 reading teacher funded in part by an ADSIS (Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services) grant has been added to the staff.
Schultz continued to refer to specific sections of the school’s strategic plan as he updated the board on recent work at the school. He noted that the teaching staff is being trained on use of the new school website app to increase communication between the school and the community.
He applauded the board for passing the HVED joint agreement which would help the school ensure that all Lanesboro students receive the best possible education
The upcoming small school conference will be held Wednesday, October 18. Approximately 100 teachers from the area are expected to attend. Speakers and presenters will include a nationally known motivational speaker as well as teachers from local colleges. Topics included in the sessions will be science of reading and AI. New Lanesboro teacher Michelle Leon will present on the basics of reading. The day will close with an address by National Rural Teacher of the Year, Jenny Maras.
Transportation Director Chad Wangen reported to the board. After having two bus drivers retire last year, Wangen is still looking for more drivers. Routes are longer this year; the school is transporting 300 students daily. In order to transport for activities and sports, some buses may need to leave school earlier to get the buses back in time for those trips.
Wangen stated they’d be happy to add routes if additional drivers could be found. In response to a question from the board, Wangen replied that the changes in the street in front of the school had caused no issues with loading or unloading buses.
A new diesel bus will be arriving at the end of October. The new bus will need to be stored outside since it won’t fit in the old bus garage. Mark Holmen asked if there was any more consideration of building a new bus garage.
Schultz responded that when they had last explored the idea, the approximate cost was $500,000; the cost has increased since then. Schultz pointed out that more money has to be spent on buses currently because they are stored in the old garage. Brake lines need to be replaced more often and smaller tires need to be ordered to fit the buses into the garage. The doors of the garage have already been replaced once; the door openings cannot be made any larger.
Building a new garage would require a bond and asking the voters to approve a replacement. Construction could be done at the same location.
According to Schultz, he has not yet heard back regarding the school’s application for an electric school bus grant.
The board certified the proposed levy of $1,100,061; this is a 2.43% increase from last year’s levy of $1,074,012. The maximum levy is wrapped to home, ag, and commercial property values in the district. The levy can be adjusted lower if the board decides to later.
The Truth in Taxation meeting was set for December 13 at 7 p.m. At that time citizens can ask specific questions about their school taxes.
In other business the board:
Approved the year’s crisis management plan for Lanesboro School;
Approved the hiring of Steve Storhoff as head girls basketball coach and Matt Asleson as head boys basketball coach;
Granted a FMLA leave for Melissa Johnson from December 6 to March 24;
Once again had no athletic training service agreement available to act on; the athletes are still receiving services with the payment at the old contract rate;
Received a list of upcoming MSBA workshops and training sessions for school board members;
Discussed having an onsite board training session later in November or early December;
Heard a report from Christine Troendle about HVED; while Lanesboro approved the HVED joint powers agreement for the proposed building purchase, a couple schools have not. Currently the project is at a standstill; a special meeting of the HVED board may be called next week.
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be October 11 at 7 p.m. in the forum. The public is welcome to attend; a public comment period is available at the beginning of the meeting.