Superintendent Matt Schultz brought up the need for a new bus garage at the regular Lanesboro School Board meeting on July 13. The current bus garage is over 50 years old and has outlived its usefulness. Two buses must be stored outside the facility and a third extends beyond the doors because it is too long. The garage is too short and narrow for today’s buses. Care has been taken to purchase smaller buses in past years, but, with growing enrollment, larger buses will be needed.
Because the bus garage has a dirt floor, moisture builds up and damages the buses. According to Schultz, the school has been spending an “inordinate amount” of money replacing rotors on buses. It costs $2,500 each time to repair a bus, and usually two buses need to be repaired each year. Both Schultz and Chad Wangen of transportation feel they are losing trade-in value and longevity of the buses.
The garage roof leaks; the roof cap is suspected to be failing. There are gaps in the doors which allow animals access. In addition, the school is going to apply for a grant for an electric school bus; if the grant is approved, such a bus would need to be parked inside to protect the battery.
While Schultz didn’t have a solid price on a garage, he roughly estimated the cost to be in the neighborhood of $500,000. He had checked into funding a capital facilities bond through Baker Tilly. A seven-year bond would cost the district $82,000 in interest. Schultz suggested exploring other funding options.
Board member Sarah Peterson opined that she felt it was worth looking into it and learning the options. With board consensus, Schultz was directed to find out more specifics.
Meal prices for 2022-2023
New meal prices needed to be set for the 2022-2023 school year. Because of COVID and free meals for all students last year, the last time prices had been set was in 2019-2020. At that time, breakfast was $1.60 for K-12 and $1.85 for adults with additional milk costing 35 cents. Lunch in 2020 was $2.45 for K-6, $2.75 for 7-12, and $4.25 for adults.
After considering the mandatory 10 cent yearly increase for meal prices, the board set the prices for 2022-2023 at the following rates: breakfast for K-12 at $1.95 and adults at $2.65; lunch for K-6 at $2.85, 7-12 at $3.15, adults at $4.60; extra milk will be 50 cents.
Milk breaks will increase from $40 to $70 a year, and snack breaks for K-6 will change from $60 to $90 a year.
Schultz pointed out that if there are large food cost increases this fall, funds in the current food service budget could help cushion the impact.
Schultz reported that the usual summer maintenance of the school was being completed as well as the moving of several classrooms to accommodate added elementary classrooms. Carpet quotes are being obtained for the SPED rooms and blinds are being added for the whole building.
Two teaching positions are still open for elementary SPED and industrial technology. A full-time bus driver is also needed. Schultz said transportation of students remained a big challenge.
A countywide school safety meeting between superintendents and law enforcement was held at Lanesboro School this past week. According to Schultz, the meeting provided useful insight into how law enforcement and other schools operate.
In other business the board:
• Hired elementary teacher Hayley Schaub, business teacher Nancy Earnhardt, and elementary SPED teacher Jo Schultz;
• Approved renewal of membership in MSBA and MREA;
• Completed the annual review of policies and approved them;
• Approved the long term facilities maintenance plan and the local literacy plan;
• Called for milk bids;
• Established the dates of August 2-16 for filing affidavits of candidacy for the three open school board positions (an open position and the positions held by Steve Snyder and Steve Storhoff will be up for election);
• Kept daycare rates the same as last year;
• Approved handbooks for the middle school/high school;
• Decided to wait until August to appoint a new board member to join the board in September.
The next board meeting will be held August 10 in the Lanesboro Schools Forum at 7 p.m.; the public is invited to attend.