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Houston School Board makes changes to MNVA program

By Angie Rodenburg

Fri, Jun 20th, 2014
Posted in All Education

The Houston School Board sailed through their June 17 meeting despite the long agenda for the evening. The majority of the meeting’s items called for action on topics that were discussed at previous meetings.

The board started out approving a change to the “Resolution Establishing Dates for Filing Affidavits of Candidacy”. The original document erroneously stated that the date of the general election was to be held on November 3. The board approved the correction of the document to state that the date of the general election will be on November 4, 2014.

The board also approved the 5 percent rate increase to the FY2015 Dental Insurance Plan for employees, as well as a $0.10 increase in the cost of school lunches. This raises the price of school lunches to $2.20 for K-6 and $2.45 for 7-12.

At the meeting, the board approved the FY2015 Proposed Budget, which included the Health and Safety Budget. The board also approved the Teacher Development and Evaluation Plan that was presented by Krin Abraham at the last school board meeting.

The board decided to approve the change proposed at the last school board meeting by Principal Lundberg to make June 5 next year’s graduation date rather than May 29. The MNVA graduation date of June 7 was also approved.

Several policies were also approved by the board, including policies on employee background checks, video recording on school buses, drug and alcohol testing, and several others. The board also approved the renewal of their MREA membership.

The high school boys and girls locker room demolition project was also approved, as well as the proposal to install a wheelchair lift for the high school stage. The wheelchair lift itself and installation will cost $18,880.

Scott Gottfried, IT Director, submitted a technology plan for the 2014-2015 school year. The proposal requested the purchase of teacher desktop systems, library/lab Chromeboxes, student laptops, laptop carts, and Chromebooks. The board approved the purchase of all but the teacher desktop systems. The teacher desktop systems purchase will be discussed at the next school board meeting.

The board also approved a one-month extension to Interim Superintendent Rick’s contract. The new contract will give Superintendent Rick’s contract an end date of July 31, 2014. Dr. Rick will also work three days a week rather than four, with compensation adjustments made to reflect the change. Board member Wilson took a moment to thank Dr. Rick for his willingness to stay on for an additional month.

The board also approved the termination of 26 MNVA employees based on the uncertainty of online enrollments. This is something that is done every year, with the hopes that they will be able to rehire the terminated employees if online enrollments allow for it. Board member Carlson said during the Online Committee’s update that re-enrollments are up from last year, so she is hopeful that those terminated will be rehired. Carlson was also happy to announce that next school year they will be able to offer Spanish to both 5th and 6th grade.

Cody Mathers presented an update for the MNVA on behalf of Justin Treptow, saying that an audit will be done by K12 on June 24 and 25. A K12 internal review and compliance team will evaluate Houston to make sure they are compliant with the K12 policies. They will be looking into the school’s health and safety, human resources, staff development, etc. Mathers was not worried about the audit and informed the board that they had already started an internal audit. They expect to get the results of the K12 audit at the end of July.

During the meeting, Board member Bonner thanked Anne Markegard for the 16 years of service she gave HPS as a Physical Science teacher. Bonner wished her the best in her retirement on behalf of the school board. The meeting was ended by board member Wilson thanking Randy Muller for accepting the Robotics coach position.

The next school board meeting will be held on July 15 in the Houston High School Library at 6 p.m.

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