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Kingsland Schools receive petition, sets community meeting

Fri, Feb 21st, 2014
Posted in Spring Valley Education

Lynn Kidd presents a petition with 230 signatures to the Kingsland School Board. Photo by Barb Jeffesr

With a petition in hand, Lynn Kidd, of Wykoff, Minn. addressed the Kingsland School Board and announced, “I have 230 signatures from people who walked into my office to sign this petition to recall the motion that was made to close the middle school,” he said, and added, “I like you folks, but we all have our own jobs to do” went on to request that the school board consider getting the needed work done on the middle school in Wykoff so the facility can be used to its fullest potential.

Lynn Kidd and Jeff Erding brought the petition to the school board “as representatives of several hundred district residents,” stated Erding. Erding also expressed to the Fillmore County Journal that the signatures on the petition were from a lot of Spring Valley residents as well as those from Wykoff.

The school board recognized Kidd’s comments and then moved on to other agenda items. Toward the end of the meeting during the Facilities Discussion, board member Gwen Howard recommend that “the board formulate a new facilities committee to incorporate community members and get their input and their ideas and suggestions”, saying they could start back over “at ground zero,” she said. Howard stated they could “facilitate more communication between community members and the board and the school as to what our real needs are” and also the plan they have so far.

Howard stated she had “suggested from the start that community members be involved but that didn’t come about in the facilities committee,” she said. Gwen Howard stated “Between emails and comments in the papers, I would be uncomfortable with going forth with the facilities committee that we have.” Doug Plaehn responded, “I don’t think there is wide support on the board for any referendum currently,” adding, “If we were to call today for a vote for a referendum, I don’t think it would pass.”

“The board right now is not committed to a referendum,” said Plaehn. Kristin Beck stated she would like to see some community meetings “so the community knows the challenges we are facing because we have no room in our elementary school and I don’t think they quite understand,” saying that for the most part people don’t come to their meetings and “we can’t count on everything being in the paper and I don’t think they understand the challenges we are facing.”

Doug Plaehn then stated, “It’s clear that we are not going to go for a referendum.” The discussion continued about a public meeting. Gwen Howard stated if they have a public meeting she would like to see “the availability for transportation for some people that would like to attend the meeting but don’t have the transportation to come” so they can be included. Steve Tart commented the public needs to be aware of the amount of work needed at the Wykoff site” as many people are unaware.

Upon further discussion it was decided to hold a Facilities Community Meeting on March 11, 2014 at 7 p.m. which will be located in the KHS Cafeteria.

Following the meeting Lynn Kidd stated he was very happy with how the meeting went. He also added that he has not met anyone in Spring Valley that is in favor of building buildings we don’t need, which is why he is pleased about the community meeting that has been planned. Jeff Erding said after the meeting that things are moving in the right direction and noted that he does realize that the board has a tough job to do for the district.

Additional items on the agenda included approval of consent agenda items including board agenda, minute review of the January 22, 2014 meeting, February 2014 bills, and Policy Review-First Reading. One item under Policy Adoption - Second Reading, 527.5, was pulled from discussion upon further review per the request of board member Gwen Howard. The policy deals with parking issues and Howard does not feel the school board should dictate where staff parks. The remaining Second Readings were approved.

Recognition was given to Swiss Valley Farms for a donation of $100 for the Robotics program. Seabright Electric was recognized for the donation of wire for the electricity class and to Classic Carpets for the donation of carpet for the barnyard.

FFA representatives reported activities during FFA week including bowling, a pancake breakfast, a barnyard for elementary students, and Ag Olympics.

In Spotlight on Education, KHS Science PLC members Brad Reiter, Laurie Hendrickson, and Kristal Brogan explained that their goal has been to implement new reading strategies each week. Two of 5/6 PLC team members, Mrs. Biske and Mrs. Applen, discussed their SMART goal, MAP tests, and use of Ipads.

Business Manager Todd Lechtenberg gave his report via telephone and discussed which is a planning tool to plan 5-10 years out. There will be a demonstration at the next Finance/Facilities meeting. Financially there is currently a deficit of $41,000 partly due to purchase of ipad Air’s. Funds will be transferred at the end of the year which will clean up that deficit.

Finance/Facilities met February 3, 2014 and discussed the new purchase order forms, enrollment, school calendar, and received building and ground capital outlay for 2014/15. Air quality checks were done at the Wykoff facility and the results were discussed. Also discussed options to fix the roof leak at the Wykoff site.

Curriculum/Personnel met on February 10, 2014 discussing the secretary position, the My Foundations program Accuplacer test and gave a curriculum update for the 2014/15 school year. The committee recommended purchasing the Music Curriculum. It was recommended to discontinue services with ProCare.

Policy/PR committee discussed several items during their meeting including the possibility of having make-up games on Wednesdays. A student from another school requested to go on the Costa Rica trip with Kingsland students and due to liability issues the request was denied. The committee recommends forming a Branding & Marketing Committee.

Principal Hecimovich discussed lack of attendance at conferences and discussed having targeted conferences for students who are most at risk. He reported on plans for a video conference with Sanford Deep Underground Research Facility on February 26, 2014. Peggy Norris, consultant, will be at Kingsland on February 28, 2014 and will meet with staff members and students. Hecimovich discussed registration planning for 2014/15 school year, updating the manual, and course descriptions.

In First Robotics the Kingsland team’s robot has been tagged and bagged for the Northern Lights Competition in Duluth on March 6, 7, and 8, 2014.

Fillmore County Public Health is offering free meningococcal vaccinations for students in grades 7-12. Immunizations will be March 4, 2014 and forms have been sent out along with phone messages. Academic Concern Meetings were discussed. In RUR letters have went out with login information.

There is a Solo/Ensemble contest at Rochester Community College on Monday, March 17, 2014. A Blood Drive will be held in the KHS Gym on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Auditions have started for the musical Bye Bye Birdie.

Hecimovich thanked the FFA students and student council for all the work they did for FFA week. Hecimovich discussed the Accuplacer test for tenth graders. Hecimovich also asked the board to take a look at adjusting the number of snow days to the calendar to build long-term stability. The school board was urged to look at the art work that the Art Department has done around the school.

Principal Priebe reported on Measure of Academic Progress as winter data is coming in. Discussion on the Watch D.O.G.S. program took place and thanked the support from staff and parents. The second semester has started. Priebe experienced huge turnout for Parent-Teacher conferences. P.B.I.S. teams have February themes with the elementary having an olympics theme and the middle school with a Valentine’s theme.

Micki Breitsprecher submitted a written report. The paperwork celebration night was discussed. Gwen Howard mentioned possible tele-conferences instead of staff having to drive to Harmony, Minn. as it is not centrally located. Howard asked the board to consider getting involved in a consortium with aspect to Special Education to save on costs.

Superintendent McDonald discussed Achievement Gap Reduction and what areas need improvement. Graduation rates have come out and Kingsland has done well. Rochester Lourdes has visited Kingsland to view programs. Kasson-Mantorville and Faribault schools will be doing a site visit, and schools in North Dakota and South Dakota have shown an interest in visiting Kingsland to view Kingsland’s STEM program.

A Legislative Breakfast was held in February with area administrators, superintendents, and school board members meeting with area legislators and sharing concerns. Items discussed were equity and funding, school security, technology, mandate relief, legislation, and student assessments.

McDonald discussed One to One Technology which is a partnership with Best Buy. The Edina School has partnered with Best Buy with this program where students of all means can eventually own their own computer. A trip to Edina, Minn. to view the program may be planned in the future. McDonald discussed the hot lunch program policies. Governor Dayton is trying to supplement $3.5 million to the budget to find ways to get more money to schools so students of lower economic means can receive a hot lunch no matter what school they go to.

Other Business

•Approval to end the contract with ProCare

• Approval to accept the resignation of Jackie Whitacre as head volleyball coach

•Approval of the hire of Amber Uhlenhake as head track & field coach

•Approval of the hire of Emily Hahn and Megan Oakland as spring musical directors

•Approval of the hire of Brent Stinson as assistant football coach

•Approval of the hire of Jacob Vetter as B-squad baseball coach

•Approval of the hire of Brian Feight as shared school psychologist

•Approval of the hire of John Fenske as a regular route bus driver

•Approval of the opening of 9th grade and B-squad football coaching positions

•Approval of the formation of a district Branding & Marketing Committee

•Approval of the Open PO Process for local vendors using Local Purchase Orders

•Approval of the resolution directing the administration to make recommendations for reductions

•Approval of the teacher seniority list as presented

A discussion was held as to the cost of internet and ways to raise bandwidth while lowering costs. There are several options which will be looked at.

The next Regular Meeting will be held on Monday, March 17, 2014.


Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.


3:16:25, Feb 24th 2014

TY says:
THANK YOU FCJ! I am not sure any of this would have happened without the excellent reporting done by your paper!! Thank you Jackie and Lisa for opening the eyes of the Kingsland school community and thank you Gwen and Steve for listening to us as a community!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

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