The Mabel-Canton School Board held a regular monthly meeting on June 21. Members present included Jason Marquardt, Diane Wilder, Traci Livingood, Cristl Adkins, and Mark Wiedeman. Superintendent Gary Kuphal, Principal Michelle Wiedemann, Business Manager Aimee Lake and Lisa Halverson also participated. Chris Miller was absent, and no student representative was present.
Regarding the ongoing facility upgrade project, Kuphal informed the board that some of the “contingency funds” built into the project’s budget are now available if the board wishes to invest them into making a few improvements. He shared that the Facility Committee suggested possibilities include installing air conditioning in the media center and/or the band room. He said air conditioning could also be added for the gym, using the existing vent, or with new duct work. Another idea was to install humidity control for the gym, to protect the new gym floor from warping. He pointed out that there isn’t enough money to do all of these items, but the board could select priorities. There was also discussion that the locker rooms are in need of an upgrade, but Kuphal said the expected price of that was too high to consider at this time.
Kuphal said there is roughly $500,000 remaining in contingency funds, but that he doesn’t recommend spending all of that, since some should remain for any unexpected expenses that may pop up. He went on, “So, ultimately, what the Facility Committee came up with and wants to recommend to the board, is that we spend money on the media center… and put in temporary humidity control” (in the gym). He explained that this would allow the district to see if a similar but longterm (and more expensive) humidity control system should be installed.
Kuphal added, “I should mention that I talked with Chris Miller, who’s on the Facility Committee but couldn’t be here, and his reaction… he said ‘Go out for bids, on all of it.’” Kuphal said he isn’t comfortable asking for bids on work the district doesn’t realistically aim to do. Jason Marquardt made a motion to get bids for air condition of the media center and band room, and to use temporary humidity control in the gym. The board voted in favor of this.
The board discussed a one-year contract for Kuphal as Superintendent. Kuphal said the proposed contract is for him to work 100 days, which results in a savings for the district, compared to the year just ending. The board voted to approve the contract. Aimee Lake gave an update on the preliminary budget for the upcoming school year. After discussion of the major assumptions and pieces of the budget, the board approved it as submitted.
There was discussion of the tuition agreement between Decorah Schools and Mabel-Canton. This agreement allows student families to cross the state line to attend school where they prefer. Kuphal pointed out that the current agreement has two years remaining, so the board should start having discussions with Decorah schools if a continuing agreement is to be sought. He added that the number of students making use of this current agreement represents a significant amount of revenue for Mabel-Canton. The board agreed to start meeting and having conversations with Decorah schools on this issue.
Kuphal pointed out that a few board members have terms that will expire later this year, and that the window for anyone to file as a candidate to join the board is August 2-16.
The board’s next meeting will be July 19 at 6 p.m. The August meeting was changed to Thursday, August 25, due to Kuphal’s vacation in mid-August. The public is welcome at all open meetings.