The Lanesboro School Board opened their January 21 meeting by seating re-elected board members Christine Troendle and Sarah Peterson and new board member, Mark Holmen.
The board meetings will continue to be held on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the elementary library. Merchants Bank of Lanesboro was approved as the district depository and Fillmore County Journal was set as the district’s official newspaper. Nethercut Schieber Attorneys, PLLP was approved as the district’s general business legal counsel and Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, PA as the legal counsel for school law. The superintendent and board chair were set as the contacts for both.
The school board members’ compensation was reviewed and approved with no changes from the previous year. Christine Troendle will serve as the board chairperson, as well as the HVED representative and the legislative liaison. She will also continue to be on the advisory committee and the policy committee with Mark Holmen. Steve Snyder will serve as the vice chair. He and Steve Storhoff will be on the Finance, Facilities, and Long-Range Planning committee and the Personnel committee together. In addition to those committees, Storhoff will also serve as the MSHSL representative. Sarah Peterson will be the board representative with the Lanesboro EDA and will also continue to be the liaison between the school and the City of Lanesboro.
Snyder mentioned that he has received multiple questions from the community asking when the facilities project will be completed. Superintendent Matt Schultz gave an update on the construction on which a lot of progress has been made. The daycare was moved into its new space over winter break and the old daycare rooms are being painted and converted into classrooms and office space. The parking lot will be paved in the spring once the frost is gone. The main office is complete and the kitchen is on its way to being finished as well. The walk-in freezer and refrigerator arrived on January 20 and are being installed. The floor in the kitchen and the chemistry lab will be done soon and the equipment will be able to be moved into those rooms after that.
Superintendent Schultz reported that the school recently submitted a grant application to the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council for welders and received four. The school is currently in the middle of its Learning Academy, which is helping to keep the number of students in the building low, allowing for social distancing. Approximately 20 students are enrolled in the school-age care program, most of whom are children of Tier 1 employees.
Deb Schott was hired as a daycare worker. A resignation from night custodian Kevin Hendrickson was approved.
The board discussed procedures for board meetings and agendas. Peterson asked if the school is required to post the agenda on the website prior to meetings. Superintendent Schultz said that according to Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law, the only responsibility the school has is to notify the public of the date, time, and place of the meetings and give three days notification if anything changes along with posting the change on the door of the elementary library the night of the original meeting date. Notifications are also posted on the message board in the school lobby and sent to the official school newspaper. An email with the agenda is sent to Principal Brett Semmen and the newspaper reporter three days prior to the meeting. If anyone else wishes to be notified of the meeting each month, they can request to be added to the email. “I just want to make sure we’re being transparent,” Schultz commented.
Peterson asked why agendas for upcoming meetings are not posted on the “Agendas” tab on the school website. Schultz informed her that the tab is actually for agendas for previous meetings and that the school is not required by Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law to share agendas. Sometimes the agenda changes before the meeting as well so he finds it more appropriate to post them after the meeting is over. Peterson recommended changing the name of the tab from “Agendas” to “Past Agendas” on the website to make its purpose more clear. Schultz agreed to make the change.
The board approved a motion to direct Superintendent Schultz to make recommendations for adjustments in curriculum, programs, and staff for the 2021-22 school year.
Since winter break ended, 6-10 new students have been enrolled at Lanesboro Schools. This school year alone, the enrollment numbers have increased by approximately 40 children. Superintendent Schultz noted that when he began his job at the school in 2016, there were 333 students and the school now has over 400. Adjustments to staff for the 2021-22 school year will be made accordingly.
The board approved a donation in the amount of $185 to the scholarship fund with gratitude.
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be held on February 18 at 7 p.m.