Scott Anderson, Director of Technology at Moose Lake Community Schools, presented information about how Facebook is being used to show a video and build a network of comments about the proposed school bond referendum to the Moose Lake School Board on Monday, April 8.
As well as showing the video that has been created, Anderson demonstrated to the board how the information about the number of likes and viewings on Facebook can be accessed, and how the people that view the page can be shown by gender, where they live and other categories.
Open houses to give tours of the school have been set for April 23 and 25. The architect, financial advisor and other key personnel will be on hand to answer questions. Tours of the school will take place every half hour.
A new service is that if the person brings in the parcel number of their property, information about the tax impact for their property will be available.
Superintendent Robert Indihar reported that he would be going to the state capitol the following day to help push passage of the $20 million request for replacement of the Moose Lake school, due to the school’s vulnerability to flooding. The school is working in conjunction with Rushford-Peterson School District, which is also seeking $20 million in funding for the school’s replacement.
It was said that, although funding for the two schools was not included on the Governor’s List of projects that may be funded, there was still hope that the requests of the two school districts would be granted.
Go to Moose Lake Community School on Facebook or the school’s website at www.mooselake.k12, mn.us to watch the video and for more information about the open houses.
Transportation Supervisor Jeff Olson and Randy Johnson, sales representative for Hoglund Bus and Truck Company, presented information to the board about the bus leasing program.
Olson said that the cost of bus repairs have dropped greatly since the school district has been leasing the buses. The school district is in its second year of a three-year contract for leasing 11 out of the 12 buses.
When the school district owned its buses, repair costs averaged $50,000 a year on the fleet of old buses. Since the leasing program started, the repair costs dropped substantially to $6,424 the first year. Many of the parts are covered under a warranty, added Olson.
In the past, the older buses had problems passing state inspections. The new leased buses pass all inspections. The parts inventory is smaller since all of the buses are the same model.
Johnson gave numbers to the board about how the leasing costs would increase over time.
The company had purchased the old buses from the school district, and the leasing costs have been lower as that equity is being used. Currently, the school district is paying $45,968 a year to lease 11 buses. The school district owns one handicap bus that was purchased just prior to the beginning of the leasing program.
However, the leasing costs would increase to $138,955 per year for 11 buses on the next three-year lease. That compares to the school district purchasing one and a half buses per year at the estimated cost of $81,000 per bus. Each of the 11 leased buses on the next contract would be new.
A former teacher and substitute bus driver, Andy Nygren, pointed out that having all of the buses in the fleet the same was a safety issue. He reported that substitute drivers do not have to search for the right button, the controls are the in the same place on all of the leased buses.
Olson added that he doesn’t have to keep a large parts inventory for many different kinds of buses, as he used to in the past.
Board Member Julie Peterson said that the state troopers that the board members spoke to at the school board convention were thrilled that the buses for the Moose Lake School District had no problems passing inspections anymore. It had been a big problem in the past.
High School Principal Billie Jo Steen and Social Studies teacher Lee Stephenson spoke to the board about Student-Centered Scheduling.
It is not certain how well the traditional seven class periods are working, and teachers could relate better to students if they saw only 90 per day instead of the 120 that they see now.
Longer class periods would allow for more time for instructors to increase meaning and motivation for the students and allow time for hands-on activities.
Brain research has shown that students are overwhelmed and are under stress with the current teaching methods.
“As a counselor, I saw kids that had more trouble academically,” said Steen. “We want to find out how to make the classes more kid friendly.”
The students wouldn’t have as much homework if the new scheduling is implemented.
However, the teachers will have to be trained about teaching for the new scheduling and they will have to spend more time preparing.
Costs have yet to be determined. More information will be presented later.
The new scheduling, if approved, would not begin until the 2015-2016 school year.
Supt. Indihar announced that the school had to purchase flood insurance at the cost of $2,300, being that the school had accepted Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair damages to the school caused by the flood last June.
The company that previously held the school district’s property and liability insurance dropped the policy due to the claims after the flood and that the wiring in the school had not been updated.
Supt. Indihar said that the wiring, which still uses fuses, was one of the items on the deferred maintenance list.
The Summer Literacy Program was well attended last summer, and the state has provided funding for the program this summer. The program is available to students in grades K-3 to help bring their reading skills up to a certain level by the third grade.
The regular meeting of the school board has been set for Monday, April 15, at 6 p.m. in room 115 at the school.