The Kingsland School Board meeting originally scheduled for March 15 was postponed to March 18, due to a snowstorm. The meeting was held via Zoom technology.
Heather Zweibohmer addressed the board to share her thoughts on Kingsland’s learning model. Explaining that she is a parent of three Kingsland students (in grades three, four and seven), Zweiboihmer said, “I just want to address the board today about my concerns about getting our high school students back into full distance learning.”
She went on to say that she’s aware of the recent new guidelines from Governor Walz about requiring only three feet of distance between students, and she said she has closely monitored the COVID-19 numbers in Fillmore County. She added, “My concern is that we are not going to be able to get back to full in-person learning based on these numbers… So I just am here to ask that we move beyond the county numbers and try to come up with a solution on how to get these kids back into school… I would like to see the students back after Easter break, April 6.”
Superintendent Hecimovich shared that Kingsland has already taken a number of steps to split students into smaller groups and facilitate social distancing. Regarding the suggestion to use the gym or other spaces for classes, he said at this point, “We have no space… and to haul the technology with us in order to do it (is not feasible).” He reassured Zweibohmer that the administration shares her goal of in-person learning as soon as possible.
During the Buildings and Grounds report, Hecimovich said that a radon test was recently done throughout the school, and a couple of areas tested higher than expected. He said mitigation steps are already underway to seal out these areas, so radon will no longer seep up from the ground and into the building. Kingsland is also working on a plan to address issues such as the recent water pipe breakage, so that knowledgeable staff able to handle such problems can always be reached promptly when needed.
Gwen Howard asked about a situation she’s noticed, saying, “There’s a bus, number three, that’s been sitting across the road, and I’m wondering why a Kingsland school bus is just sitting over there.” It was explained that the bus was sold to the city, so it is no longer a Kingsland bus, even though the Kingsland name is still on the bus.
Business Manager Amber Herbrand gave a budgetary update. She summarized year-to-date revenues and expenses, saying, “No major concerns on the revenue side.” She went on to explain that expenses are down, particularly in wages, due to some turnover and staff vacancy issues, as well as some other pandemic-related issues. The board approved the revised 2021 budget as summarized by Herbrand.
Regarding sports and activities, Hecimovich quipped, “I think all the spring coaches are going to be in a tizzy,” as they scramble to find ways to comply with new guidelines from the state, regarding social distancing. Hecimovich said this seems to be especially challenging for the track and field team, but he shared confidence that coaches will find creative solutions.
The board heard a summary of the recent audit of the Southern Minnesota Education Consortium (SMEC) given by Don Armagost. The audit was completed by the accounting firm of Smith Schafer & Associates.
The Kingsland Board’s next meeting will be a “work session” on Monday, April 5, at 6 p.m.