Superintendent Matt Schultz finally got to report to the Lanesboro School Board at their March 8 meeting that the solar panels were installed and hooked up to the grid. After an inspection on March 9, the meters will begin recording exactly how much energy the panels collect. Schultz said they were hopeful for $20,000 in savings each year.
Since there are no tiered electric rates in Lanesboro, the school pays a higher rate than most area schools.This will allow for a payback of expenses sooner. With the solar panels and the installation of LED lighting in the building, Schultz is optimistic that electric costs will be reduced to $55,000 a year. He noted that another such project could be completed later since the school has two separate meters. That project would require a different installation, however, since it would be on the slanted roofs of the school. With the completed project having taken three and a half years, Schultz wanted to wait with any further solar projects until they could see the results of that installation. He anticipates that a lot of energy will be fed into the grid during the summer months.
Five-year strategic plan
As promised last month, Superintendent Shultz brought back specific examples of what the school would do to follow the proposed five-year strategic plan. Focusing supports to meet the academic, behavioral, and emotional needs was one aspect of the plan. Schultz shared that the school was applying for ADSIS (Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services) funding grants to provide academic support. A guide of available resources for mental and emotional health will be created and made available to parents.
In order to engage students and families through connection and communication, the school has begun switching the school website to Apptegy, a phone app site that will be easier for users on mobile devices. The new website is scheduled to be up and running in the fall.
To emphasize strong reading and math instruction, the school will be reviewing the curriculum for the current reading class at the middle school level. Schultz noted that metrics will not necessarily be used in this process. Since Lanesboro is a small school, metrics have too much variation to be very useful.
Forward-thinking educational, workforce, and facilities planning will be undertaken by using workforce recruiting. In order to be prepared for future needs, the superintendent will report to the board on budget and future student numbers, staffing needs, facilities, and equipment so planning can happen.
Steve Snyder commented that he feels it is important to continue to spend more time one-on-one with sophomores to focus on potential careers. Schultz agreed and pointed to the success of the current job skills class in helping students think about their future and select appropriate classes to prepare themselves.
Board chairwoman Christine Troendle opined that the strategic plan was a great place to go to as a reminder of what the school needs to focus on. The board approved the five-year plan and asked Schultz to highlight ones or two areas the school was working on at monthly board meetings.
Elementary principal report
Elementary principal James Semmen shared next year’s academic calendar. September 5 will be the first day for students, and May 31 will be the last. The successful teacher workshop held for the first time on Thursday of MEA break will be moved to Wednesday before the break to provide a longer break for families. Spring break will be March 29 and April 1.
I Love to Read Month was celebrated with a book fair, an author visit, and a Books for Breakfast event. The book fair garnered $2,200 in books for the library after bringing in $4,700 in purchases. The Books for Breakfast event was extremely well attended. Around 500 pastries and doughnuts were enjoyed by students and families.
In other business, the board:
• Heard that HVED was moving forward on purchasing part of the Winona Mall for a central facility; a memorandum of understanding will soon need to be completed by the board;
• Accepted the retirement of substitute van driver Don Bell;
• Began salary negotiations with the teachers’ union;
• Gratefully accepted a $1,000 donation;
• Were reminded that the school musical “High School Musical” will be presented March 17-19.
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be April 12 at 7 p.m. in the forum room. The public is welcome to attend.