The Mabel-Canton School Board unanimously approved the 2023-24 preliminary budget at the June 20 meeting.
The projected 2023-24 enrollment is a total of 274 students (250 Minnesota residents, and 24 Iowa residents), down four Decorah students. Business Manager Aimee Lake explained that the school will receive a lot of new funding this year, and since the school has yet to receive the formulas from the state, building the budget was challenging. Lake said, “There was a lot of estimating as far as what we are getting from the state.”
Superintendent Gary Kuphal said, “It seems like this preliminary budget is probably more, I’m going to use the word ‘fluid’ than in past years.” He continued, “Every district in the state has to have a preliminary budget in place by June 30.”
Chairperson Cristal Adkins called the meeting of the Mabel-Canton School to order at 6 p.m. and led the board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The board approved the meeting agenda with one addition to the consent agenda and the May 16 school board meeting minutes.
Board members present included Cristal Adkins, Chris Miller, Diane Wilder, Mark Weidemann, Dustin Tollefsrud, Traci McKenzie-Livingood (virtually), and Jason Marquardt.
Other attendees were Superintendent Gary Kuphal, Principal Michelle Weidemann, Business Manager Aimee Lake, Administrative Assistant Lisa Halverson and Title 1 staff Susie Munroe.
The board thanked The American Legion Post 400, Charaye McCabe, and Lana Hollar for the cash donations. The board accepted the resignation of paraprofessional Noelle Crawford and junior varsity boys basketball coach Heath Olson and approved hiring Katherine Hansen-Farnen as elementary special education teacher.
Hiawatha Valley Education District (HVED) is considering buying the Winona Mall for $4.5 million to combine programming into one location. Kuphal said, “HVED has been looking for property for 10 to 12 years, and this is the best deal on the horizon.” HVED will have the cost to remodel the building before the next board meeting. HVED will ask the board at next month’s board meeting to approve moving forward with the purchase agreement and selling of the bonds. The Superintendent emphasized, “Every district must approve it.” Kuphal provided an example of the tax impact on homeowners. If the total cost is $8.3 million (purchase price and remodeling costs), a $300,000 house would cost taxpayers $1.00 a month.
Principal Weidemann reported that Mabel-Canton would offer summer school for elementary students this year, “We are actually going to do three weeks this year, Monday through Thursday, July 31 through August 17, and no Fridays. Another thing we are going to offer this year is transportation to and from Canton. From the bank, we have a one-time grant we are going to use this summer to do that. Mrs. Vatland, Laura, ed teacher for many years, will coordinate it, and Steph Morken will help her.”
On the agenda was the first reading on the 2023-24 student/parent handbook, the 2023-24 extra-curricular handbook, and the 2023-24 SAC handbook. No action was required. There will be a second reading at the July board meeting.
The board approved Superintendent Kuphal’s contract for 2023-24 and Principal Weidemann’s contract for 2023-25.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the 2024-2025 school calendar.
• Approved the 2023-2024 lunch and breakfast prices.
• Approved the six-month review of the Safe Learning Plan.
• Approved retaining membership in MSHSL for another year.
• Approved rescheduling the August board meeting from Tuesday, August 15 to Thursday, August 24 at 6:00 p.m.
• Authorized Gary Kuphal as the school district’s official for the MDE External User Access Recertification System.
• Accepted the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the MSBA 2023-24 membership.
• Approved renewing the school district’s insurance through Marsh and McLennan. Superintendent Kuphal shared that it increased by $13,000 over last year.
• Approved renewing the MREA 2023-24 membership.
• Adjourned the meeting at 7:03 p.m.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for July 18 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in Mrs. Peter’s science room, number 50. The public is welcome to attend.