Spring Grove assistant superintendent Gina Meinertz announced at the April 17 school board meeting that the school has been approved as a Head Start site for next year.
According to Meinertz the Head Start partnership will fund a paraprofessional for the school’s preschool. Meinertz continued, “They will provide different aspects and more support for our families to help create relationships. They do home visits. They meet with families about dental records and things like that. So, there are just a lot of services that come along with the Head Start program and funding that can help our families.”
Board members in attendance: Chairman Aaron Solum, Rhan Flatin, Stephanie Jaster, Angie Solie, Kelly Rohland, and Aric Elton.
Chairman Solum called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.
ISG strategic planning and facility project strategist Sue Peterson and colleagues presented the results of the community survey. The purpose of the survey was to determine the community’s interest in supporting a bond referendum to fund upgrades and improvements to the school’s facilities and building systems as well as a performing arts center and adding gym space. Of the 1,027 postcards sent out, 337 people responded to the survey.
Peterson explained, “The goal as we move through this is to organize projects based on support and what your community’s tax threshold is.”
The data illustrates strong support for funding building system updates including windows and doors, expanding, and updating the kitchen and cafeteria as well as updating the CTE (career and technical education) space and updating the bathrooms and building new locker rooms.
Based on the findings, the community’s tax threshold is $12 million. A second question could be added to the ballot for an additional $2-4 million to fund outlaying projects.
The board approved “putting the gas on.” Superintendent Rachel Udstuen emphasized that this is not the final answer, it just means that they will continue moving forward.
The board approved the consent agenda with one unanimous vote including the agenda as revised, the minutes from the March 20 regular board meeting with one correction, the treasurer’s report, and paying the bills.
Student council representative Kendal Van Minsel proudly announced that the basketball game between the seniors and teachers ended in a tie. Van Minsel thinks that the game should become a yearly event because everyone had fun. The student council is partnering with the Caledonia Interact Club to collect shoes for the children in Kenya, Africa. Gently worn, used or new shoes, any size, can be dropped off between March 27 and May 19 at either the school or Little Gnome Daycare.
Principal Luke Kjelland reported that testing is underway for the next three weeks followed by makeup days. In addition, the National Honor Society induction is on April 26 in the gym at 6 p.m., prom is on May 6, the awards ceremony (time TBD) is scheduled for May 31, followed by the senior cookout and graduation practice at 2 p.m. May 31 is the senior’s last day.
Udstuen estimated that the school has received approximately $95,000 in grants this year due to the Meinertz writing skills.
The board approved the revised 2022-23 revenue and expenditure budget. Tanya Elton, district accountant explained, “It looks worse, but it is not ” said Elton. “We had the school water damage this year, so I had to add in some stuff for that and then we are going ahead with the science room, so I had to add some expenditures in that area. We never did hire an on-staff sub, so I had to take that out.” There was a lot of moving money from one account to another. Enrollment has remained constant throughout the school year. The budget was developed based on 350 kids and the current enrollment is 351 kids. Elton noted that she is fiscal conservative and estimates revenue low and expenses high, which has been helpful.
The board voted not to renew two employment contracts. Udstuen explained that it is difficult not to renew teacher contracts. Special Education teacher Blaine Storlie’s contract was not renewed due to the school’s workload analysis which showed that the school only needs three special education teachers next year. The other special education teachers have a tier 4 license, whereas, Storlie has a tier 2 license. Spanish teacher Megan Jones’ teaching contract was not renewed because her current license is for a short call substitute teacher, not for Spanish. Both were thanked for their service to the district.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the 2023-24 school calendar and the draft of the 2024-25 school calendar.
• Adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.
The next regular meeting of the Spring Grove Public School Board is Monday, May 15, 2023, at 6 p.m. in the school’s Learning Resource Center. 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 email@example.com.