By Wanda Hanson
The Lanesboro School Board spent much of their January 17 meeting organizing their operation for 2024. Superintendent Matt Schultz presented the mandatory Health and Safety Plan for the school. This is required as long as the school continues to receive and spend ESSER money. The plan remains the same as it has been for the past 18 months. Parents are asked to keep ill children home. COVID at-home tests are available from the school if families need them.
Elections were held for board positions. With no other nominations, the following were returned to their positions: Christine Troendle, chair; Steve Snyder, vice-chair; Sarah Peterson, clerk; Steve Storhoff, treasurer.
Meeting date, time and location will be the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Lanesboro Forum at the school.
Merchants Bank was designated as the district depository; Fillmore County Journal was named the official newspaper; the board legal counsel will be Nethercut Schieber Attorneys for general business and Squires, Waldspurger, and Mace for school law. Superintendent Schultz and Chari Troendle were named the contacts.
Board salaries which were last updated in 2018 remain the same – chairperson, $1,500; clerk, $1,200; treasurer, $1,200; directors, $1,000; chief negotiator, $500; negotiator, $400; education district representative, $300.
Board committees and representatives remained the same as last year.
The monthly revenues for the district were $855,437.31 while the expenditures were $65,680.03. When Sarah Peterson asked if there was always such a discrepancy in the amounts, it was explained that money from taxes had recently been received.
The resignation of custodian Sandra Sjarpe and Jim Schott’s planned June 30, 2024, retirement from his position as maintenance/custodian were approved.
The board directed Superintendent Schultz to make recommendations for adjustments in curriculum, programs, and staff for the coming school year as needed. This is done each year; no adjustments are expected to be needed this year.
December donations were accepted. The music department received $200; TEX Mex donation was $526; cross country donations totalled $1,000; lunch/milk fund received $100; daycare had a donation of $250; a scholarship donation of $15 was received.
Christine Troendle reported that HVED had completed and approved its strategic plan. The departments are now working on their specific goals for the plan. Work continues on the purchasing and planning for the newly acquired HVED building in Winona.
In his superintendent report, Schultz shared that the school will be using its new reading curriculum in the lower elementary for the READ directive. Upper elementary has not yet decided on what they will use.
Schultz reported that the school did not receive the grant for electric buses; he plans to reapply. The buses that the school is looking at would not have issues with battery strength since they have a separate heat run by diesel. This saves the battery life to actually run the buses.
Another grant for which Schultz is applying is a $150,000 grant to remodel some school bathrooms; this application is due February 1.
Schultz shared that a new job posting site is available for the school’s use. For many years, the required job posting site has been EdPost managed by St. Cloud State. With the possibility of St. Cloud dropping EdPost, a new site will need to be used. Schultz had recently signed up for the Handshake site. This job posting site allows employers to choose specific colleges and majors when searching for applicants; EdPost only allows the schools to post their openings.
Christine Troendle shared information from the MSBA convention. The keynote speaker spoke to the attendees from Switzerland about the use of technology and computer science classes. Code.org is the non-profit website which works to get more computer science classes in schools. At this point, Minnesota is dead last in the nation in the number of computer science classes offered.
Troendle also shared what she learned at an AI (artificial intelligence) session. Her takeaway was that schools need to embrace AI since it is already there, and get value from it. The question to answer is, “How can we use it to our advantage in schools?”
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be February 14 at 7 p.m. in the Lanesboro Forum. The public is welcome to attend; a public comment period is available at the beginning of the meeting.