February is Minnesota School Board Recognition Month. During the February 21 regular school board meeting, Superintendent Gary Kuphal recognized the board for their service to the school, staff, and students of Mabel-Canton. The board is responsible for an annual budget of $6 million, 275 students, and 50 employees.
The seven-member board has dedicated a combined total of 56 years to the Mabel-Canton school; Cristal Adkins, 19 years; Chris Miller, 7 years; Diane Wilder, 6 years; Jason Marquardt, 6 years; Traci Livingood, 4 years; Mark Weidemann, 11 years; and Dustin Tollefsrud, 3 years.
Kuphal presented each board member with a certificate of recognition. He thanked the members and noted that the community, including himself, does not realize the amount of time board members put in. “It is sometimes a thankless job,” he said. Nevertheless, it is a benefit to have a stable and dedicated board.
Chairperson Adkins called the meeting 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 minutes from the January 17 regular school board meeting.
Board members present were Cristal Adkins, Chris Miller, Diane Wilder, Mark Weidemann, Dustin Tollefsrud, and Traci McKenzie-Livingood. Jason Marquardt was absent.
The board unanimously approved the consent agenda in its entirety, including the 2021-22 budget and claims report, accepted an alto saxophone donated by Chelsey Peterson, sewing supplies donated by Lori Wilhelmson, Sue Christiansen Barker, Lorna Solberg Kaysten, Linda Payne Schwenn, Marsha Tollefson, Marilyn Eiken, Nicky Halverson, Brenda Ardinger, and Joan and Harlan Thilges, and the resignation of Susie Munroe as JH softball coach.
Matthew McClimon, Student Council representative, announced that the council is organizing a dance for the first weekend in March. In addition, the Dorian Band Festival is at the end of the month, the raffle is complete, and the council is recruiting five teachers willing to kiss a pig.
Principal Weidemann thanked the Mabel Telephone Cooperative for the $2,500 TCUP foundation grant. The funds will be used for presentation equipment.
If anyone knows anyone looking for work, the school has an opening for a custodian after school. The school would consider a custodian before school. The job announcement will be posted in three papers.
The board was presented with a current enrollment report. According to the report, the school started the school year with 273 students, and the January count shows 270 students. Other numbers on the report show include open enrollment out – Rushford-Peterson 1; Spring Grove 15, Lanesboro 23; Houston 0, Fillmore Central 0; Caledonia 1; and Rochester 1, plus open enrollment in – Rushford-Peterson 0; Spring Grove 0; Lanesboro 3; Houston 0; Fillmore Central 5; and Caledonia 0. In addition, Decorah tuition-in students K-12 is 28, and home school/online school (without Amish) is 12.
Superintendent Gary Kuphal announced that he will return as the school’s superintendent for the 2023-24 school year. The board will take action at a future meeting after negotiations with Kuphal are completed.
Spring coaches are softball – Kati Bergey (varsity) and volunteer Trisha Ryan. Due to the resignation of Susie Munroe, the school will begin a search for a JV/JH softball coach. Baseball coaches are Paul Tollefsrud (varsity) and Tyler Augedahl (JV/JH), and volunteers Russell Larson and Karl Urbaniak. Trap coaches are Logan Henry and volunteers Doug Ward, Jason Marquardt, Chris Miller, Bruce Michels, Todd Snell, Don Tollefsrud, Jamie Kelly, and Steve Slafter.
A motion to recess the meeting at 6:30 p.m. was approved. Executive Director Debbra C. Marcotie, Hiawatha Valley Education District (HVED), was scheduled to arrive at 6:45 p.m. The meeting reconvened at 6:53 p.m.
Marcotie mentioned the organization’s vision statement, “Exceptional Teams Empowering Exceptional Students,” throughout her presentation. In addition, HVED’s mission statement states, “in partnership with member districts, will be a progressive educational agency that embraces modern technology and data-driven, research-based methodologies and resources to provide a high-quality education to all students so that they may reach their full potential.”
Marcotie reviewed HVED structure and the programs and services they provide to the schools they serve: Bluffview Montessori, Caledonia, Chatfield, Dover-Eyota, Houston and Minnesota Virtual Academy, La Crescent-Hokah, Lanesboro, Lewiston-Altura, Mabel-Canton, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Ridgeway Community, Rollingstone Community, Rushford-Peterson, Spring Grove, St. Charles, and Wabasha-Kellogg and View Connections Academy.
Marcotie said, “Special Education is the “lion’s share of what we do.”
Additional information about HVED and its services and programs can be found on the organization’s website at hved6013.org.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 p.m.
The next school board meeting is March 21 at 6 p.m. in Mrs. Peter’s science room #50. The public is welcome to attend.
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