At the March 18 Lanesboro School Board meeting, Superintendent Matt Schultz updated the board on the upcoming senior class trip. The tour bus company canceled the original trip to Washington, D.C., as the city is mostly shut down right now. After looking into different options, it was decided to book a trip to Florida with the same company. The trip will include various stops at educational sites. “We feel comfortable to do it. That’s our plan right now, but the world can change before then,” Schultz said, adding that students’ families can decide for themselves if they’re comfortable with the trip.
The school is also planning to move forward with the 2021 prom, while staying within safety guidelines. “I think it will be a good event,” Schultz said. “Again, we’ll do everything we can to make it a safe event.
After many delays, the school’s kitchen has finally been approved for occupancy. “It was supposed to be open in September,” Schultz said. Other projects that are being completed are putting in ceiling tiles, painting, and installing the PA and clock systems. As the weather continues to warm up, more work will be done outside the school. The summer worklist is being put together as well.
Board member Christine Troendle gave the HVED report. Special education teachers are very hard to find, especially ones with specialized degrees. Troendle recently learned that there is an HVED employee who is working from Pennsylvania in Southeast Minnesota schools via a robot. Using the robot, she can observe students in their classroom and then provide input to the students’ educational team. “It’s fascinating that something like that is being used to utilize a special ed teacher,” she said.
Troendle recommended that the board follow and learn more about the proposed constitutional amendment which says that it would ensure equal rights to quality public education. Several of the board members questioned how that would be carried out, what the standards would be, and if it would increase testing in schools.
In his report, Superintendent Schultz was proud to announce that senior Cale Anderson is going to state for wrestling. The spring sports season is starting soon. He recently had a discussion with the City of Lanesboro’s engineer about a potential street project on the road that runs in front of the school. Schultz will update the board as he learns more.
The school is conformed to the new state guidelines for quarantining which state that if someone comes in close contact with an individual with COVID-19, they can get tested on day five after that exposure and return to school on day eight if the test is negative. If they choose not to get tested, they can return to school on day 11 if no symptoms have developed. The school has created a Google survey that can be sent out to those who have been exposed to help them determine how to proceed.
Principal James Semmen reviewed the 2021-22 academic calendar with the board, which they approved as presented. He noted that the state has funding available for summer school programs and that he is waiting to see if the Lanesboro school will be approved. He would like to hold a two-week summer school session for students in all grades who need extra assistance and is working on identifying those who would benefit from it.
Anna Vanravenswaay was hired as the band teacher for the 2021-22 school year. The 2020-21 teacher seniority list was approved.
Superintendent Schultz asked the board to review a teacher contract item stating that teaching staff who asked to be released from their contract after June 15 must pay a $1,000 fee for breaking their contract. In the past, the fee has been waived if the district was able to find a licensed teacher with which to replace them. Schultz found that most districts have a similar statement in their teacher contracts and those that do not, don’t let teachers break their contracts. “I think ours is pretty generous,” he said. “I think it’s lenient and I think it’s fair.” He noted that while it has never been an issue in negotiation meetings, the board should be aware that it could be at some point. After discussion on the difficulties and costs of finding last-minute replacements for licensed teachers and the effect it can have on students’ education, the board decided to leave the contract statement as is.
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be held on April 15 at 7 p.m.