Board member Steve Snyder gave an update on the Finance and Facilities Long Term Planning Committee at the November 16 Lanesboro School Board meeting. The committee has been working to fulfill its mission, which is to empower students and offer them a quality education. “We have a fund balance so we can make some smart, proactive decisions,” Snyder said. He added that the last payment will be made on the elementary school addition in 2019.
“Student enrollment is trending upwards,” Snyder noted. Superintendent Matt Schultz estimated that the enrollment will be around 390 by the end of the 2017/18 school year. For comparison, enrollment at the end of the 2016/17 school year was 376.
The committee would like to modernize the portion of the school built in 1959, replacing the lighting, flooring, lockers, and furniture. They would also like to improve the technology infrastructure for the whole building.
“A lot of learning that’s done at the collegiate level is collaborative,” Snyder pointed out. The committee is interested in improving the space in the school to allow for collaborative learning. “We’re trying to better prepare them (the students) for college and life,” he said.
“We would like to improve the main entrance,” Snyder said. Currently visitors to the Lanesboro school enter into the commons area and are then directed to the district office. Changing the entrance to funnel visitors through the office instead would increase security and student safety.
Another goal of the long term planning committee is enhanced community engagement and early childhood education. They would like to add an additional gymnasium to the school building which would allow the kids to stay active even during inclement weather, provide space to hold multiple sports practices at one time, and improve extracurricular activities. There is also the possibility of opening the proposed gymnasium to the community on weekends and after school hours. “We have done so much with the city of Lanesboro, and this opens up even more opportunities,” Snyder expressed. The committee is researching options for adding a stage to the area as well.
Currently the cafeteria and kitchen are in the basement of the school with no windows or natural lighting. The committee would like to move them upstairs and use the cafeteria as an area for group meetings, collaborative projects, and more.
The long term planning committee asked the board to approve a proposal for architectural or engineer project services to help them achieve their goals and plans. The request was approved.
“That was a nice summary of our facility needs,” board member Dave Lawstuen remarked. The whole school board thanked Snyder and the rest of the long term planning committee for their hard work and dedication to the district.
Superintendent Matt Schultz reported that the football field project has been brought to a halt by the discovery that it is in a floodway. Because of that, the school won’t be able to haul dirt onto the field to raise it and prevent standing water. He will continue to research options and report back to the board as he finds out more.
A community wellness and flu shot clinic was held at the school and hosted by the Winneshiek Medical Center on November 8.
Principal Brett Clarke presented the World’s Best Workforce summary from the state of Minnesota. In the report of how the program went last year, the school was given high marks in many areas. The district is successful at identifying and enrolling children who can benefit from the Birth to 3 program. The report also found that almost the entire class was proficient in reading by the third grade. The high school students are given the opportunity to take the ACTs every year, and their scores rank above state average. Principal Clarke noted that the national average graduation rate is 74%, but Lanesboro is at 100%. “In the 13 years that I’ve been here, I can probably list on one hand the number of students who haven’t graduated,” he remarked.
The board approve the hiring of Colleen Lawstuen and Cynthia Ruen, both in the daycare.
A resignation from elementary school para-professional Pam Flattum was accepted.
The second readings of school board policies 501 regarding the school weapons policy and 502 regarding the search of school lockers policy were reviewed and approved.
The board reviewed the first reading of policies 506 and 532. Policy 532 pertains to the use of peace officers and crisis teams to remove students with IEPs from school grounds. Policy 506 outlines student disciplines. Some changes to the language were made to bring it up to date.
The Lanesboro school district received multiple checks totaling $190 on behalf of the Diane Roddy memorial. The money is to be used on the girls athletic department. The school board thanked the individuals for their donations.
The next Lanesboro school board meeting will be held on December 21 at 7 p.m.