The Kingsland School Board met January 18. Members present were Doug Plaehn, Deb Larson, Ann Oeltjen, Jackie Horsman, Tiffany Mundfrom, and Heather Betts, along with Superintendent John McDonald.
The board approved the consent agenda items, including resignations of Randy Smith (JH baseball) and Dan Copely (B Squad/9th Baseball), and hirings of spring coaches, including Paul Eckheart (JH Golf), David Delaney (JH Baseball), Al Williams (B Squad/9th Softball), Rialie Fenske (JH Softball), and Missy McElroy (JH Softball). The board also OK’d “lane changes” for Amanda McCarty, Stephanie Derby, Ann Halloran, Brent Stinson, Rachael Burt, and Amanda Harms.
Superintendent McDonald gave public thanks to the following donors: Struzyk’s (English muffins to the weekend food program), Osterud Scholarship ($15,316 distribution for scholarship fund), St. Ignatius ($300 to Targeted Services), Faith United Methodist Church ($375 to SACC program), Chuck Emig (help with iPad updates), Marilyn Erdman (Christmas cookies and decorations), Essig Agency (calendars), Stier Welding (72 pairs of gloves to KES and KIS), and he praised the custodians for plowing and keeping sidewalks clear and safe. The board then opened the floor for public comments to the board, but there were none.
Business Manager Amber Uhlenhake gave the board a budgetary update, stating that Special Education funds have been lagging behind, not just for Kingsland, but for many districts. But she added, “There’s a glimmer of hope” that the funds may be received in February. She shared the timelines for the FY17 Budget Revision, and said it’s about 95% complete. She also shared the general timelines for the FY18 budget.
Superintendent McDonald gave a legislative update, including the upcoming legislative breakfast to be held on February 4. He also stated that Kingsland submitted a childcare grant application, and expects to hear results by the end of January. He then talked about Kingsland’s Flexible Learning Day program, and the overall impact of “snow days” on the Kingsland calendar. He explained that Kingsland “builds in” a few snow days, and if it’s a particularly harsh winter with more weather cancellations, additional days would be made up at the discretion of the school board. He explained that Minnesota no longer has a set number of days for schools to be in session, but rather has minimum numbers of hours for various grade levels (425 for kindergarten, 935 for grades 1-6, and 1020 for grades 7-12). He said if a school does not meet these minimums, that school would miss out on some state aid. But he added, “At Kingsland, we’re well above the minimums.” McDonald also shared that the ALC (Alternative Learning Center) was recently visited by Mary Barrie from the state Department of Education, and she was very impressed with what she observed. McDonald also shared that Kingsland has documented the reasons behind enrollment decline, and the largest factor is families that simply move away. He said quite a few had moved out of the state. Jackie Horsman asked about Kingsland documenting this data, saying, “Is this a new thing?” McDonald replied that Kingsland has been tracking the data on specific reasons for declining enrollment for about a year and a half.
Kingsland senior student Zach Buckholtz then spoke to the board about the proposed plans for a senior class trip to Wisconsin Dells in May. He said that nearly every senior student has expressed interest. The trip would include a visit to The House on the Rock, and then would stay at The Wilderness indoor waterpark and theme park. The cost is expected to be $150 per student. Jackie Horsman asked how many chaperones would be on the trip. Buckholtz said it would be based on a ratio depending on how many students go, but probably three or four chaperones. He also shared that the students have been fundraising for the trip throughout this school year. It was also pointed out that parents and students would get information about the behavioral expectations for students on the trip, and violators would have their parents contacted to come pick them up in Wisconsin Dells. The board voted unanimously to OK the trip as planned.
The board OK’d a maternity leave request from Ann Halloran. A presentation on Kingsland’s Flexible Learning Day program was postponed until the February meeting. Because of Presidents’ Day, the board set the next regular meeting for Wednesday, February 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the district conference room. The public is welcome.