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Kingsland questions i4Knights effectiveness

Fri, Nov 20th, 2009
Posted in Education

The Kingsland School Board met at its regular meeting on Monday, November 16, at the Kingsland High School District Conference Room. All members were present. The agenda was approved with one minor change, moving the audit report earlier in the meeting to accommodate CPA Darwin Viker's schedule.

Audit Report

CPA Darwin Viker, representing the accounting firm of Larson/Allen, presented required communications with the board regarding the 2008-2009 financial statement and audit findings for the district. After a lengthy presentation, Viker summarized that the district is currently positioned well, but with state funds diminishing, the board and staff, like with other districts, will be facing some tough years ahead.

Public Thank You's

Superintendent of Schools Darren Strosahl thanked the Minnesota Department of Transportation for 30 new computers and the United Way for monitors. He also thanked the Spring Valley Exchange Club for their donation of the Freedom Shrine, a wall consisting of a collection of 29 original historic American documents that have been reproduced in a way that can be displayed and shared. Strosahl also thanked the many IBM employees in the community who have stepped forward to help out the district with volunteer hours and computer equipment through the On Demand Program. More than $200,000 in equipment and thousands of volunteer hours have been donated to the district in the past 12 years, thanks to IBM and its employees, Strosahl stated. Since it is American Education Week, Strosahl thanked everyone involved with education - teachers, parents and community members- for supporting students and education.

Public Comments

Sandra Nauman addressed the board meeting with concerns about low math requirements set by the State of Minnesota. She urged the board to set higher standards in the district to better prepare students for college and future careers. She also had concerns about school activities being scheduled on Wednesday evenings, which traditionally has been set aside as a night for church-related activities. Nauman also asked the board to allow for more open discussions for community members during board meetings.

Old Business

The board discussed the i4knight program and some of the misconceptions that exist about the pilot program. The program touts integrated learning, institutional empowerment, independent acceleration, and igniting imagination. Strosahl stated that some of the concerns about the program are due to misunderstanding and that the program is an additional curriculum to enhance learning.

Kingsland Elementary and Middle School Principal Jim Hecimovich updated the board about math improvement areas at the middle school. He informed the board about tech nights during school conferences where parents are updated about Think Central, and given demonstrations and access to the online math program.

High School Principal Jon Ellerbusch updated the board on his action plan to improve the environment, both academically and behaviorally, at the high school. He stated that he plans to share the action plan with teachers this week.

Business Manager Kathy Beevers gave the treasurers report, noting that declining enrollment is upper grades and increased enrollment in the kindergarten class is something the board is going to have to focus on. She reiterated some items from the audit report given by Darwin Vikers, and concurred with his findings that decreased funding from the State will make operations more challenging in the next few years.

New Business

The board approved the resignations of Pete Reck, custodian; Jackie Carr, head softball coach; and Wally Beevers, jr. high softball coach. They also approved the hiring of Deb Westphal as School Age Child Care assistant, and Marit Janssen as employee wellness coordinator, whose salary is paid by a grant from the Southeast Service Coop.

The board also approved the posting of several policies online.


Brief reports were given by John Fenske, athletic director and representatives from the Kingsland Student Council.

Strosahl told the board that he planned to share an article on the economic condition of the State of Minnesota and the budget reductions that are forthcoming. He asked the board for their help and recommendations for options that will help the district work through the process.

The meeting was adjourned.

The next regular meeting of the Kingsland School Board will be conducted at 6 p.m. on December 21 in the Kingsland Conference Room and will include a special Truth and Taxation Meeting.

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