The Mabel-Canton (M-C) school held its annual Truth in Taxation hearing on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at the beginning of the regularly scheduled school board meeting. Time was allotted for public comment and discussion as required by state law. Business Manager Aimee Lake reviewed the process and the 2023-2024 school budget as it pertained to the certification of the levy.
The board unanimously approved setting the 2023 levy to be collected in 2024 at $1,085,076.60, a 4.5% increase over last year.
Vice-chairman Chris Miller called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. and led his colleagues and the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The board unanimously approved the meeting agenda with the addition of one action item and the November 21 minutes.
Board members present included Chris Miller, Mark Weidemann, Dustin Tollefsrud, Jason Marquardt and Diane Wilder. Cristal Adkins was absent and Traci McKenzie-Livingood attended the meeting via Zoom.
The consent agenda approved in its entirety included the final 2023-24 budget, claims report, and resignation from Tyler Augedahl as the junior high baseball coach. The board thanked the following community members and organizations for their generous donations: $30 from Sharon Borcherding for the senior class trip, $1,600 from the United Methodist Church of Mabel for the 2023-24 Scholastic Reading Program, $650 from Mabel Lions for the pep band bus to the state volleyball tournament, $1,720 from the Mabel Lions for the fan bus to the state volleyball tournament, $50 from Larry Gifford for the shop class as a thank you for assembling bar stools, and $1,200 from Diane Wilder/Collins Aerospace for the volleyball and football programs.
Student Representative Rachelle Tollefsrud reported that the FFA fruit has been delivered, concerts have taken place, and this week students can sign up and have candy canes delivered to friends and family on Friday before early out, and midterms were last Wednesday, December 13. Winter break starts on Friday, December 22, at 12:30 p.m. Upcoming basketball games – the boys are playing on December 21 and the 22 and girls are playing on Thursday, December 21.
Wilder reported that the Hiawatha Valley Education District mall purchase is moving forward and will close on April 1, 2024.
PreK-12 Principal Michelle Weidemann updated the board on HUDL offers M-C fans an opportunity to watch the school’s sports, concerts, and other programs live. The cameras have been installed and a pilot program was implemented which allows fans to watch a few events for free in December. According to the school’s website “…starting in January all home athletic events that are streamed on HUDL will have a subscription fee. Other school events to be determined.” More information will be forthcoming. The link to access HUDL is available on the school’s website.
Superintendent Kuphal shared that the Decorah Community School board meeting did not go as expected. The board did not have any objection to Kuphal consulting with the school’s lawyer and seeking outside legal advice.
No action was taken on the proposal presented by the Mabel Ambulance Service as the school board and administration are in general agreement that the school should help the city. Adam Wilder read a letter from Ambulance Director Sarah Mengis. The city is having difficulty finding volunteers to fill the daytime hours. Due to the lack of businesses in Mabel residents must leave town for work. School staff, teachers, and students grades 10-12 will be offered the opportunity to volunteer for the Mabel Ambulance Service as has been done in the past. The board was in agreement that staff will not have to use their personal time off (PTO) when called out during school hours. Training is paid for by Mabel Ambulance Service. Spring Grove is offering training through Riverland Community College starting January 11. Classes will take place in Spring Grove and online. The deadline to register is December 22.
M-C graduate Travis Vatland, a full-time EMT at WinnMed in Decorah, shared his experience as a student EMT volunteer for Mabel Ambulance Service during his career at M-C. Vatland emphasized how his service as an EMT in Mabel has helped him get “community-based scholarships for colleges. Thankfully, I was able to get quite a few of those.” He also explained that in terms of a career, it is a good way to test the water especially if a student is planning on going into the medical field. He also emphasized the importance of doing community service in your town.
The board approved the second reading of the 12 policies presented for a first reading at the November meeting and the first reading of the remainder of the MSBA policies, which required no action. The second reading of the MSBA policies will take place at the January meeting.
The board voted for one teacher, Craig Brenden, and one administrator, Nels Onstad, to represent the south zone on the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA) board.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 p.m.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16, 2024. The following two board meetings are scheduled for February 20, 2024, and March 19, 2024. On January 17, 2024, there will be a joint school board/city council meeting. Meetings start promptly at 6 p.m. and are held in room number 50. The public is welcome to attend.