At their May 5, regular meeting, the Houston School Board approved a new phone system update for the school with a monthly cost of $2,400. This is a bit over $100 in additional cost. Internet-based phones will be installed throughout the school’s buildings. Josh Norlien expressed concern about phone service during power outages, but the school has battery backups for some elements of the school and it was quickly pointed out that most staff have cellphones as well. Custom Alarm will be working with AcenTek to ensure the alarms work properly throughout and after the transition to the new system.
With MNVA scheduled to move into the ABLE building once school’s out, the phones will need to be installed early in the summer.
The insurance coverage for property, liability, auto, cyber and worker’s compensation for the school increased significantly from last year. Total premium went from $101,616.00 to $119,029.75, a 17.14% increase.
According to Superintendent Mary Morem, the school had been underinsured; the school could be fined for that it something happened. She pointed out that there were more teachers and more buildings now; the newly purchased ABLE building was now included in the quote. The school does not have possession of the church building yet, so that was not included at this time and will be added later. Property value changes to update to replacement costs went from $23,207,552 to $28,781,833, a 24.02% increase.
Update on new purchases
The new doors for the school purchased earlier are arriving now and will soon be installed.
The replacement school bus that had been ordered will not be arriving until January. The Blue Bird bus company has major delays throughout the country. As a result, more expensive repairs will need to be made to keep the old bus in operating shape.
High School Principal Michael Mangan shared that the new projector purchased for the high school gym should be installed before graduation and used for the senior slideshow. Graduation is scheduled for June 10 at 7 p.m.
Mimi Carlson reported on the recent finance committee, noting that the school had more expenses this past year. One expense being looked at closely was the two full-time subs. The board will need to decide if they feel the subs are necessary for next year.
The board will add a special meeting on June 20 at 6 p.m. to approve the 2022-2023 budget. “There are a lot of moving parts — it’s a little more uncertain,” Carlson stated.
In other business the board:
•Heard that SitelogIQ will be in the building after graduation to begin work on the approved summer projects;
•Learned the entire teaching staff was recognized as Hurricane Heroes for May;
•Completed necessary paperwork to switch their banking to the Houston branch of Rushford State Bank;
•Changed the school’s policy on employment background checks to match with the MSBA policy; a new form will be used with some changed verbiage and the school will be able to require fingerprint cards from new teachers;
•Approved the IEA three-year contract renewal; IEA provides environmental, health, and safety management for the school and holds safety meetings monthly as well as helping with getting asbestos abatement. The $4,352 expense is up approximately $500 from last year;
•Closed the meeting for a negotiation strategy session.
The next Houston school board meeting will be held June 2 in the high school media center; the public is welcome to attend.