Spring Grove School Board members met Monday, December 20, in the school’s Learning Resource Center from 7 p.m. to 8:24 p.m. Board members present, Chairman Aaron Solum, Stephanie Jaster, Rhan Flatin, Aric Elton, Kelly Rohland, and Jenny Stender. Aric Elton was not in attendance.
Chairman Solum welcomed Interim Superintendent Bruce Klaehn. Klaehn is filling in for Rachael Udstuen, who is on a three-month sabbatical.
The board approved the resignation of paraprofessional Amanda Buckland and accepted the employment contracts of Jessica Sherburne, school nurse, Harlee Gavin, paraprofessional, and Danielle Youngberg, long-term substitute.
The board extended their thanks to Jim and Karen Gray for two cash donations – $600 to pay for Christmas at Luther and $664.99 to pay for a bus to take the choir to Eau Claire for a performance, and Merchants Bank for a $750 cash donation. In addition, Audrey and Bob Atchison were recognized for their $40,000 contribution with $10,000 going into the General Fund, $10,000 to scholarships, $10,000 to the music department, and $10,000 to the athletic department per the donors’ request. Assistant Superintendent Gina Meinertz stated, “We are excited as this will allow us to work on wish lists.”
School staff is “feeling the COVID crunch,” explained Principal Luke Kjelland. So the last two weeks before winter break, the school offered A (Staff) December to Remember, meant to add joy back into the staffs’ day. In addition, the school will be sponsoring the First Annual Student versus Staff basketball tournament plans to add a wellness day in the spring.
Meinertz held a meeting to connect the town’s preschools and headstart with the school. She is currently writing a SHIP grant for the group.
Students and advisors provided pages of helpful feedback on the Advisory and College and Career Days, which will guide the plans for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year. Themes for the rest of the year have already been scheduled: December – Why? January – Wellness Bingo, February – Relationship Building, March – Relationships, April – Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes, May – Share our stories with others.
The Farm Partnership continues with students studying the Evolution of Farming. As part of their studies, the students visited the Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Grounds and heard about how steam engines work.
Interim Superintendent Klaehn is coming in once a week and is staying in touch with Udstruen. Klaehn mentioned that he received an exceptional welcome from the staff. He is impressed with the quality of teachers their caring attitude. The goal is for Klaehn, Meinertz, and Kjelland to meet with all the staff at least once within the coming months.
CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC presented the 2020-21 audit. Auditors issued a clean audit report with three deficiencies in internal controls. CliftonLarsonAllen noted that District Accountant Tonya Elton wears numerous hats, and without hiring additional staff, there is no way to address the deficiencies. According to the auditors, there were no compliance issues, and only one Minnesota Legal Compliance finding was identified. In summary, “The school is about break-even in a very challenging year.”
The Spring Grove School Board approved the $637,210 tax levy resulting in a 5.38% decrease.
In other business, the board approved the proposed dental insurance plan, Guardian. Compared to last year’s dental plan, there is a 7% decrease in premiums and a $250 carryover. The board also approved the district’s 403B Plan Amendment and the teacher contract, which is dependent on the finalization of negotiations. Also approved was the IDEA resolution asking the federal government to fund IDEA fully.
The next regular board meeting of the Spring Grove Public School Board is scheduled for Thursday, January 13, at 7 p.m. in the school’s Learning Resource Center. The school will continue to offer the 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.