On November 17, the Kingsland School Board held a regular meeting. All board members were in attendance (Jackie Horsman, Noella Lund, Natasha Howard, Tiffany Mundfrom, Maranda Emig, and Kyle Rader), as well as Superintendent Jim Hecimovich, Principal Scott Klavetter, Athletic Director Mark Fitzpatrick, and Business Manager Amber Herbrand.
Superintendent Hecimovich shared that although Kingsland is currently using a “distance learning” model because of staffing shortages, he described it as “kind of a hybrid model of distance learning.” Jackie Horsman asked if, during distance learning, students would still be able to set up appointment times for Wednesday help if needed. Hecimovich replied, “Absolutely, we are going to be wide open. Teachers would actually welcome kids…”
Hecimovich and Herbrand pointed out that the state traditionally pays using a 90/10 formula, meaning that 90% of the state funding comes within the fiscal year, and 10% is funded to the schools later. There are hints that the state may switch to a 60/40 split, which would create some cash flow problems for schools.
Athletic Director Mark Fitzpatrick gave a report on the status of sports and other activities. Fitzpatrick’s written report also stated, “Basketball: Boys has a full schedule and will work around the final weeks of volleyball as there is a crossover time. Girls – We are working on trying to find two more non-conference games. A lot of schools I have spoken to do not wish to travel outside of their conference. Dance – We are looking for a venue to practice dancing in. With limited space in school and Five Wynds asking for funds this year for heating as they do not have anyone in the building, it will be about $500 per month. I am trying to work with others about locations and possibilities.” Regarding Kingsland’s efforts at finding an affordable site to hold dance team practices, Fitzpatrick was asked if Wykoff Commons may be an option. He replied that, “They’re asking for a multi-year contract and it’s a lot per month.”
Business Manager Amber Herbrand submitted a report that showed for the current school year-to-date budget, overall revenues are at $1,479,349, with local revenue down due to interest rates and activity fees, but federal revenue has increased. Expenditures are at $1,382,917.
A written report submitted by Community Education Director Becky Bicknese stated regarding the Summer Food Service Program, “We have received the announcement that meals will continue to be free through the school year. We are currently just waiting on direction from the State of MN to tell us what forms we need to fill out next to secure our district’s funds.” Bicknese’s report also stated that the planned trip to Washington, D.C. has been canceled due to the pandemic.
Superintendent Hecimovich stated that, “Our goal is to get out of distance learning as soon as possible. Staff shortages… right now, I’m anticipating our two staff members returning…around the second (of December).” The board approved the hiring of a full-time substitute teacher for the second semester. Horsman and Hecimovich shared appreciation for the way teachers have pitched in during the current staff shortage.
New hires approved as part of the consent agenda items included Skylyn Vaith (art teacher), Michael Elzy (custodian, full-time days), Geoff Erdman (junior high boys basketball coach), and Joe Haynes (van driver). The board shared appreciation for a donation of $1,465 in unused CARES Act funding from Beaver Township.
The Kingsland Board’s next meeting will be a “work session,” at 6 p.m. on December 7. The next regular board meeting with be December 21. On that date, the annual Truth in Taxation hearing will begin at 6:01 p.m., with the regular board meeting to follow, at around 6:15 p.m.