The December 21 Lanesboro School Board meeting was opened with the annual Truth in Taxation meeting. The total revenues for the year of 2017 came to $4,360,124.00 and expenditures equaled $5,029,047.00. The expenditures included the purchase of a school bus, van, new playground equipment, new roof for the gymnasium, a copier, and new servers. The school has a five million dollar fund balance and has been purposefully spending it down by slowly updating various aspects of the school.
The proposed 2018 budget showed a total of $4,975,022.00 in revenue and $5,143,412.00 in expenditures. The school board reduced the budget by $60,000 in general supplies, $13,500 in equipment purchases, and $95,000 in pupil transportation as they will not need to purchase a new bus in the coming year as originally thought. The $168,500 in reductions will help to balance the budget.
A comparison of Lanesboro and other local towns showed that the school taxes paid on a home with a value of $160,000 are the lowest in Lanesboro with homeowners paying $290 during 2017. The next lowest was Spring Valley where homeowners paid $517 in school taxes during 2017.
The Truth in Taxation meeting was opened up for public input. Lanesboro resident Dale Forster asked several general questions about his property tax, which were answered by Superintendent Matt Schultz.
The Truth in Taxation portion of the meeting was closed and the regular school board meeting opened.
The early childhood committee has met twice now to discuss aligning their curriculum with the preschool. On January 22, a day has been planned for professional development for all preschool, kindergarten, daycare, and ECFE staff. “Our goal this year with our early childhood group is to try to align our social emotional learning curriculum from birth through kindergarten,” Schultz noted. “We have approached it (daycare) as childcare, but now we want to approach it as learning.”
Schultz reported that the teaching staff is on track to meet the goals they set for the 2017/18 school year. Two substitutes have been hired for January 9 to allow the regular teachers to spend some time that day doing a peer observation of one of their colleagues as well as being observed themselves. They will discuss their findings afterwards.
On January 22, every person on staff at the school will participate in ALICE training for potential active shooter situations. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.
A resignation was accepted from Lanesboro Childcare Center worker Deb Lawstuen.
The second readings of policies 506 regarding student discipline and 532 regarding the use of peace officers and crisis teams to remove students with IEPs from school grounds were reviewed and approved by the board.
Jason Boynton from Smith & Schafer Associates presented the 2016/17 audit report to the board. He was able to issue an unmodified or “clean” opinion on the audit.
The board passed the Certification of Truth in Taxation Compliance and Final Property Tax Levy resolution with a final number of $423,478.95.
On December 20, three architectural firms presented their plans and quotes for the proposed project from the Long Term Facilities Committee. “It’s a project that is fairly encompassing,” board and committee member Steve Snyder remarked. The committee recommended modernizing the 1959 portion of the school which would include replacing the lighting, flooring, lockers, and furniture, improving the technology infrastructure for the whole building, and changing the main entrance to funnel visitors through the office instead of through the commons area to increase security and student safety. They also proposed the addition of a second gymnasium to allow students to stay active even during inclement weather and enhance community engagement, and moving the cafeteria and kitchen from the basement of the school to an upstairs area.
The committee asked the school board to approve a motion to enter into a contract with HSR Associates from La Crosse, which was their formal recommendation. The company has worked with many schools, including a number of local ones. The recommendation was approved.
A resolution to combine polling places for special board elections was approved by the board.
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be held on January 18 at 7 p.m.