The Mabel-Canton School Board discussed the Decorah tuition agreement in length at the board’s October 17 regularly scheduled meeting. The agreement ends at the end of this year unless it is extended.
Superintendent Gary Kuphal first shared with the board that prior to the school board meeting Iowa families met to discuss the agreement and possible options. Kuphal has met with some of the families several times and is under the impression that “the majority of them are not looking at going to Decorah.” They are looking at other options.
In July, Kuphal met with the Decorah Community School District Superintendent Tim Cronin. After a 2 1/2-hour meeting, Kuphal recommended as a next step, the school superintendents and board chairs meet. That has not happened. Superintendent Cronin informed Kuphal in September that he felt that with the upcoming school board election the meeting should wait until after the election.
Decorah did not notify M-C or the families that the board would be discussing the agreement at their regularly scheduled October 9 meeting. Kuphal explained, “They record their minutes and unfortunately, four minutes into the discussion about reviewing it, the sound and the pictures went away.”
During the four minutes Cronin shared some data. Kuphal said, “I felt the data was accurate for what he provided but there are always additional details related to that.” Kuphal would like an opportunity to fill in the details.
Kuphal again stressed that he only heard four minutes of the recording, but he did not hear anything about what the families want and what the students want. Kuphal feels that “there is a story to tell from the families and a story to tell from our district.”
The board gave their blessing to Superintendent Kuphal to continue “to try and appeal to the Decorah School Board that this agreement is good for our families that are here.”
Chairman Adkins called the October 17 meeting of the Mabel-Canton School to order at 6 p.m. and led her colleagues and the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The board unanimously approved the meeting agenda as revised and the September 19 minutes as written.
Board members present included Cristal Adkins, Chris Miller, Mark Weidemann, Dustin Tollefsrud, Jason Marquardt and Diane Wilder. Traci McKenzie-Livingood attended virtually.
The board unanimously approved the consent agenda including the 2023-24 budget, bills, donations from the Salvation Army, Michael Hosting and Scheie WELCA, and accepted the resignations from Stephanie Morken as Drama and Speech coach and Tyler Augedahl as JV basketball coach.
The board accepted the results of the 2022-23 audit ending June 30, 2023. Andrew Forliti, Smith Schafer and Associates, Rochester, Minn., stated. “The audit opinion is a clean unmodified opinion. We believe everything is fairly standard in accordance with GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles). It is the highest level of assurance you can receive on a financial statement.”
The school received an anonymous donation of $30,000. According to the donation form the donation is to be used for “the K-12 needs of the M-C school district.”
“While it has not been cold in here it has not been comfortable,” said Kuphal. The state inspects the school’s boiler mid-September. It did not happen this year because the state inspector is out on medical leave, and they are bringing in an inspector from Texas. The boiler inspection is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24. Last year the boilers were fired up on October 11. As soon as the school is given the “green light” by the state inspector WHP who does the repairs and boiler inspections for the school will be here on October 24 to fire them up. Kuphal said, “Starting next Tuesday or Wednesday it should be much warmer in here.” Kuphal offered his apologies to everyone.
In other business, the board:
•Approved the 2023-24 seniority list.
•Set the meeting date and time for the joint board meeting with the Canton and Mabel city councils for Wednesday, November 15 at 6 p.m. Alternative dates are either November 14 or November 29.
•Approved the 2-year transportation contract with Bernard Bus Service.
•Accepted Adam Wilder’s resignation as the girls varsity basketball coach. The school will begin searching for a new girls basketball coach.
•Adjourned the meeting at 7:40 p.m.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for November 21, 2023. The following two meetings are December 19, 2023, and January 16, 2024. Meetings start at 6 p.m., and are held in Mrs. Peter’s science room, number 50. The public is welcome to attend.