The Spring Grove School board gathered on Monday evening, December 21, 2020, at 7 p.m. in the school’s media center, while adhering to the governor’s guidelines for capacity (maximum 10 people). The meeting was broadcast live on Google Meet for the public and media. Board members in attendance were President Aaron Solum, Stephanie Jaster, Christian Myrah, Kelly Rohland, Jenny Stender, and Rhan Flatin.
The board unanimously approved the consent agenda: 1. Resolution to combine polling places if the district needs to hold a special stand-alone referendum; wage increase for Janet Sand, head cook; hire Jordan Anderson as a Title 1 teacher focused on secondary grade; and 2020-21 Seniority List.
Luke Greden, Clifton Larson Allen (CLA) presented the 2019-2020 audit findings. CLA issued what is known as a “clean” audit report. Greden explained to the board that there were three deficiencies in the internal controls over financial reporting. The deficiencies identified relate to oversight of the financial reporting process, controls over cash receipts, and controls over timely completion of the bank statement. Greden summarized by stating that, “Overall, it was a healthy year. The school is putting money where it should be – into the students.”
Principal Kjelland report
Kjelland shared with the board two of the activities developed to keep staff and students upbeat as school headed into December and students could not participate in traditional school activities. The first activity is the Christmas Door decorating contest. Staff decorated the door to their room; the doors were judged on creativity. The winner was Mr. Lockner for his “bah” door. Another activity, the 12 Days of COVID-19 to keep us students and staff engaged. The students were involved in several holiday service projects during December: designing community signs, creating care packages for the nursing home, and participating in field clean-up. The middle school wrote thank-you cards, and the pre-school students also did a make-it project. Kjellaland heard from teachers and students that this is “One of their better years.” Visit Spring Grove Public School Facebook pages for photos, presentations, and videos of their activities.
Assistant superintendent report
Assistant Superintendent Meinertz’s monthly report highlighted the Showcases of Learning and the new Tech Club. She shared that the staff is excited to see the school’s successes being documented. She explained that she had created numerous videos of what kids are doing, such as art design, weather projects, nutrition staff.
Meinertz explained that a group of kids approached her about creating a technology club. The club had their first meeting and are meeting monthly. These students are interested in technology and are currently reviewing the school’s programming and exploring the possibility of offering coding competitions at a school or higher level and sharing processes, resources, and methods.
Superintendent Udstuen shared with the board that the kids have expressed that it is much easier to learn at school; a lot nicer hearing those words from students than, “I do not want to go to school.”
Udstuen proposed moving to a targeted distant learning period, allowing space between New Year’s Eve and bringing back students into the building on January 14. Udstuen explained, “We did not get a huge bump after Thanksgiving in our school, and now we are staring at a long winter break.” Udstuen empathized, “We know it is a burden on our families.”
The student, parent, and staff surveys will be presented to the board at the beginning of 2021.
Udstuen reminded the board that the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) 2021 Leadership Conference will be held virtually three Thursdays in January, the 14th, 21st, and 28th. The Spring Grove High School Band will perform during the conference.
The superintendent presented the 2020-21 Budget and Proposed 2021 Property Taxes report with the board and public as required by the 1989 Truth in Taxation law.
The board unanimously approved the 2019-20 Audit and the 2020 Payable 2021 Levy Limitation and Certification.
The board approved Leanne Kingsley’s request for the Early Retirement Incentive.
The board unanimously approved the 2019-20 World’s Best Workforce Report. The report spells out “the District process for ensuring all students have equitable access to experienced, in-field, and effective teachers.”
Udstuen emphatically announced that the replacement of the stage curtains is finally happening. The board unanimously approved spending $19,915.00 to replace the stage curtains. The cost includes an inspection and the replacement of the track and curtains.
Unanimously approved was the School Learning Model as presented by the superintendent. Udstuen was reminded by the state to “do what is right and safe in your community.” Udstuen will draft a letter and get it out to families. The motion was amended to include activities and sports.
A resolution to agree to waive 2% of the school’s basic revenue for staff development requirement was approved.
The Coaches and Advisors Letter of Agreement was approved, noting that it applied only to activities during 2021 and related to COVID-19.
E-Learning Plan Memorandum of Understanding for this school year only was also approved. If the school is using the distant learning model, there will be no snow days. If the school uses the in-person learning model, the first three weather-related days will not be made up. The school will have distant learning on days four and five.
The superintendent recommended, and the board approved the Personal Time Off Memorandum of Understanding as presented with a few minor adjustments. The Employee Group Average was removed for this school year, and the banked day ranges were increased.
Board member Myrah was thanked for his 12 years of service to the Spring Grove School Board. Myrah thanked the superintendent and shared that it was an honor to serve in this capacity for the last 12 years. Myrah has the utmost confidence in the future of the school. He finished by expressing that he enjoyed working with the Board.
The next regular meeting of the Spring Grove Public School Board of Directors is scheduled for January 19, 2021, at 7 p.m. The school board, administration, and business manager will meet in person (10 max). The school will continue to offer the board meetings on Google Meet for anyone else who would like to attend. For assistance monitoring the meeting, contact the district office at (507) 498-3221 or email email@example.com.