The Houston School Board welcomed two new members to its ranks at their organizational meeting January 5. Marissa Bailey and Nickki Johnson were elected this past fall to replace long-time board members Tom Stilin and Gene Lundak.
The first order of business was to elect new officers. Mimi Carlson was elected board chair with Josh Norlien elected vice-chair. The new treasurer will be Arlin Peterson, and Mark Swenson will be the clerk.
The official depository will continue to be Rushford State Bank. The board chose Fillmore County Journal as its official newspaper. Legal notices and official minutes will be published in the Journal. Reasons given for the selection of the Journal were that it is delivered free to all residents of the school district and the paper provides a free online paper as well with easy access for anyone.
Wire transfer authorization which is necessary for the school to transfer funds to cover expenses was once again given to Gwen Rostad, director of finance, and Mary Morem, superintendent. The board chose to remain with their current legal council upon recommendation of Morem.
The board meeting calendar was accepted. Regular meetings will occur the first Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. The third Thursday of the month will be used if an additional meeting is needed. This will be announced at the regular meeting of the month. The board will continue to receive $50 compensation for each board meeting.
Committee appointments were made, adjusting for the departed members and including the new ones.
MNVA teacher Rana Bell was recognized as the Hurricane Hero of the month. Bell, who is in her 19th year as an MNVA teacher, recently took the position of reading specialist. In an email, parents of a young student sang her praises as they shared that their child was able to achieve fluency under Bell’s tutelage this current school year. Bell’s colleagues enthused that she is an amazing teacher, colleague, and mentor. They pointed out her dedication and positive attitude.
According to Superintendent Morem, the Hurricane Hero award was instituted to acknowledge students and staff who work to make Houston the great school that it is.
MSBA Leadership Conference
Some board members and Morem will be attending the MSBA Leadership Conference January 11–13. Morem will be presenting at two of the sessions as well. She will join Baker Tilly to present a session about finance.
Morem will also present a session on MNVA’s career ready program, Heavy Equipment Operating Engineering. In addition, MNVA will have a booth at the conference to highlight and promote the Houston schools.
In other business the board:
• Learned the audit deadline was extended to March 31; two employees of the audit company had resigned during the time they were to complete the audit; the audit will be shared by Morem with the board as soon as she receives it;
• Approved administration’s beginning of the budget process including possible reductions to staff if necessary for next year;
• Did first and second readings of policies; new board member and newly appointed policy committee member Nickki Johnson surprised the board by having already read both sets of policies and being ready to advise the board on them. Johnson, who deals with policies in her regular job as well, noted that she enjoys dealing with policies. Policies are reviewed on a three-year rotation.
The next regular monthly Houston School Board meeting will be held February 2 at 6 p.m. in the high school media center. A special meeting will be held January 19 at 6 p.m. to discuss work being done by SiteLogiQ regarding possible future projects.
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