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Mabel-Canton Board of Education discusses technology fees

Fri, Sep 20th, 2013
Posted in Mabel Education

By Hannah Wingert

The Mabel-Canton Board of Education met on September 17, 2013 at 7 p.m. All members were present.

The board wished to welcome the students and staff back to school for the 2013-14 school year. Congratulations were given to volleyball coach Lonnie Morken on his 500th winning game and to Chris Loppnow for completing the MSBA Phase I, II, and III Leadership Development series.

The consent agenda was approved. It included approval of Roger Lamm as FFA advisor, approval of Heidi Myhre as vocal advisor, approval of Michelle Logan as health secretary/elementary special education paraprofessional, and approval of Jill Dawley as title I paraprofessional. The consent agenda also included the approval of the Assurance of Compliance Certification, the second reading of the Student Representative on the School Board policy, the approval of Superintendent Jennifer Backer as District Title IX and human rights coordinator, and approval of the 2013-14 Mabel-Canton advisors.

Superintendent Backer gave the financial report. She advised the board to consider maximizing the levy. The budget she presented was preliminary and will be finalized after the audit is complete. She did not think it was in the district’s best interests to increase spending on anything at this time.

The payment of the district bills was approved.

Principal Jeff Nolte reported on the ACT scores from last year’s college bound seniors. The scores and number of students who took the test were both positive. Principal Nolte also discussed the Technology Committee’s latest meeting. The committee’s goal is to keep the fees for students to “check out” laptops and tablets affordable for everyone. It was proposed to the board that a yearly fee of $40 be charged for laptops and $15 for tablets. The committee also proposed setting a $50 spending cap for families with more then one student eligible to take home an electronic device. The fees will help cover the inherent costs of upkeep and repairs on the laptops and tablets. The fees will need to be paid before students can take the devices home, and students will be expected to use either the school provided cases or purchase their own to avoid damage. A concern was raised that students would access inappropriate sites while using the devices in their homes. Superintendent Backer stated that, because they are the school’s property, the school can search the history any time and students will be held accountable.

Superintendent Backer reported that the enrollment numbers for the 2013-14 school year are up 10-12 students from last year.

There have been questions about crossing the Minnesota/Iowa border to transport students to and from school and how to transport students who are residents of the district, but attend daycare outside of the district. Open enrollment also generates a transportation challenge. The board discussed the issues and possible policies to address them. Several parents of current and future students spoke to the board about their concerns as well. The board will work on setting policies at the next meeting to handle transportation.

Band Director Katie Larson asked the board for permission to begin planning a band trip in June 2014. The band students have two destinations to choose from, Tennessee and Florida, with the Florida trip being more expensive than Tennessee. The majority of the students voted for Florida. The destination and other details of the trip will be finalized at the parents’ meeting in October. The band will need to increase its fundraising efforts during this school year to raise enough to cover the trip.

The Truth and Taxation meetings were set for December 10 at 6 p.m. in Canton. Minn. and December 17 at 6 p.m. in Mabel, Minn. with the regular board meeting immediately following.

The junior class asked the board for permission to change its fundraising efforts for prom to a 50/50 raffle at football games, a 5K color run, and the selling of class t-shirts. The board approved the changes.

The board approved a motion to increase special education paraprofessional Jill Kleckner from 0.8 to 0.9.

Meeting adjourned. The next meeting will be held October 15, 2013 at 7 p.m.

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