On March 2, the Kingsland School Board met for their monthly “work session.” Members present included Board Chair Jackie Horsman, Maranda Emig, Natasha Howard, Noella Lund, and Kyle Rader. Superintendent James Hecimovich, Business Manager Amber uhlenhake and Principal Scott Klavetter were also in attendance. Tiffany Mundfrom was absent.
The board heard a presentation entitled “Minnesota Education Funding 101,” given by Mike Hoheisel and Matt Rantapaa from the Robert W. Baird Company. Hoheisel and Rantapaa gave over an hour-long presentation on the complexities of school funding in Minnesota. They pointed out that Minnesota has an incredibly complex system compared to other states. Hoheisel said that while Wisconsin uses fewer than 10 different formulas to determine funding rates for students in various situations, Minnesota uses over 140.
The presenters summarized the various revenue and expenditure categories used by Minnesota public schools. Hoheisel mentioned that, “We often hear, as school board members and school districts, that property taxes are too high.” He suggested that the board keep in mind that local property taxes only account for about 14% of Kingsland’s total revenues. He continued, “Is 14% too high to pay for the education in our schools? Probably not.” Hoheisel shared a pie chart showing that the largest share of Kingsland’s funding is state aid, with federal aid providing only a minor portion.
Rantapaa explained that often-confusing formulas used to count students. For example, he said that students in grades 7-12 are weighted more than younger students, and other factors further complicate what goes into determining “Adjusted Pupil Units” which help to determine the funding given.
The presenters and board shared their thoughts about the recent levy that voters approved for Kingsland’s instructional needs. Regarding the communication between Kingsland and the community, Hoheisel stated, “You guys have worked so hard on messaging. Now is not the time to stop.” He encouraged Kingsland to make sure the community is frequently welcomed to “Come and see what we’ve done.”
Regarding Kingsland’s rebranding project, Superintendent Hecimovich updated the board regarding the contest to design a new logo for Kingsland. Horsman pointed out that when a new logo is decided upon, Kingsland will not immediately change everything over to the new design. Rather, she said, “This is a slow roll… The major things would be letterhead, signage, as uniforms are replaced, as new apparel is sold, et cetera.” Hecimovich added, “And it’s not a change in name. It’s still the Kingsland Knights.”
The board discussed the possibility of holding a job/career fair at Kingsland, either this spring or in the fall, depending on how quickly details could be worked out. Board members discussed inviting employers from Spring Valley and the nearby surrounding communities. Although no formal action was taken, several board members voiced agreement that the job/career fair is worth looking into. Hecimovich said he will reach out to other local agencies about starting the process. Horsman said she feels a job fair could be an excellent way to help students and employers interact, since the younger generation probably doesn’t use traditional job search resources (such as newspapers) as much as older job seekers would. She also noted that she senses the community is more supportive of Kingsland than had been the case several years ago, and she feels a job fair would be an excellent way for Kingsland to support efforts at keeping young workers in the local area.
Kingsland’s existing referendum website will be transitioned into use as a community outreach and engagement resource. Kyle Rader will continue working on transitioning the website as seamlessly as possible, to avoid confusion. Hecimovich suggested that Kingsland’s Digital Arts class could also help with this project. The next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the choir room. As always, the public is welcome at all open meetings