By Charlene Corson Selbee
The Spring Grove School Board met on Tuesday, January 16, instead of its usual meeting date of Monday, January 15, because of the Martin Luther King holiday. In February there will be a change of date because of Presidents Day. The school board will meet on Tuesday, February 20, at 6 p.m.
The organizational meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. The first order of business was to elect the 2024 board officers: Board Chair Aaron Solum, Vice-Chair Stephanie Jaster, Clerk Kelly Rohland, and Treasurer Tonya Elton. The board approved the 2024 school board meeting dates and times. All meetings will start at 7 p.m. except for February’s meeting which will start at 6 p.m. School board meetings are held on the third Monday of the month except for January and February which are scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month. The board named Erin Benson of Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A., as the school attorney. Tanya Elton was granted authority for electronic fund transfers and Chairman Solum was appointed to the HVED Board of Directors for 2024.
The organizational meeting was adjourned at 7:19 p.m. and the regularly scheduled meeting was called to order immediately afterwards.
The consent agenda included the approval of the agenda and the minutes from the December 19, 2023, regular school board meeting, the treasurer’s report and monthly bills, resignation of paraprofessional Lynn Solum, Jalyn Dobbins’ contract as paraprofessional, and updated the 2023-24 seniority list to include Bethany Bergsgaard. Superintendent Rachel Udstuen thanked Solum for her service to the district.
Board members in attendance included Chairman Rhan Flatin, Aaron Solum, Kelly Rohland, Stephanie Jaster, Angie Solie and Aric Elton.
Staff members in attendance included Superintendent Rachel Udstuen, Assistant Superintendent Gina Meinertz, Principal Luke Kjelland, District Accountant Tanya Elton, and Administrative Assistant Rachel Bjerke.
The board was informed that the construction bonds were sold earlier that day, and the school received a rate of 3.55%, which is considerably lower than the maximum interest rate of 5%. It was noted that the market needed new money, so the school also received a premium. The lower bidder was Raymond James. The school received an A1 credit rating by Moody’s, which was excellent news. The board unanimously approved authorizing the issuance and awarded the sale of the $12,195,000 general obligation school building bonds, Series 2024a. Udstuen said, “It was a great way to start the day.”
Representatives from ISG and Kraus-Anderson participated via Zoom to discuss next steps which, as Udstuen exclaimed, is the fun part. The team is using a concept called visioning labs to get input from students, teachers, and the communities to define the school’s needs. That feedback will be used to design ideas based on what the stakeholders liked and did not like, which will then be used to design the final plan.
Highlights were shared from Student Representative Taylor Reinhardt informative report. The student council is planning a dodgeball tournament on January 24 for junior high and high school students. The annual semi-formal dance will take place on February 17. The Dessert Theater is Thursday, January 25 at the Fest building. The spelling bee is January 17. The winner goes to the regional spelling bee competition in Rochester. Carnations and roses can be ordered from Youth Development for Valentine’s Day. The money raised goes to local organizations, noting that last year $300 was donated to the Spring Grove Fire Department.
Superintendent Udstuen reported they will want to look at an adjustment to the 2024-2025 calendar because 2025 will be a “big project summer,” meaning they want to start next school year two weeks early so school can be let out early.
In other business, the board:
•Directed the administration to make recommendations for reductions in program/positions for 2024-25 if necessary.
•Approved Deb Morken’s early retirement incentive request of 13 months of insurance at this year’s rate.
•Select Viking Electric as the developer for the Solar for Schools grant if it is approved.
•Approved the first reading of the MSBA model policy updates.
•Adjourned the meeting at 8:20 p.m.
The next regular meeting of the Spring Grove Public School Board is Tuesday, February 20 at 6 p.m. in the school’s Learning Resource Center. The meeting is open to the public. In addition, the school continues to offer board meetings on Google Meet for anyone who would like to attend virtually. For assistance monitoring the meeting, contact the district office at (507) 498-3221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.