April 18, 2013 | Volume 118, Issue No. 16

Moose Lake School Board considers proposal for land sale for housing

The Moose Lake School Board discussed the potential sale of four or five more acres of school district-owned land to a housing developer, at the monthly meeting of the board on Monday, April 15.

Superintendent Robert Indihar explained to the board that Pat Oman, the city’s new administrator and still Carlton County Economic Development Director, brought the proposal from the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership. He added that the non-profit partnership has been searching for the right location, and the school district’s property is the only one that meets the partnership’s criteria.

The proposal is to build townhomes on several parcels of the school district’s property across the drive to the Moose Lake ALCO store that has been set aside for housing. The townhomes will be two- and three-bedroom units for young families with low to moderate income, with a maximum of $37,000 in annual income.

“Although we can get more for commercial property, young families are a benefit to us as well,” said Supt. Indihar. “We will talk to the county and see what land is going for. We give the partnership a price, and they can say yes or no.”

He added that the partnership needs a decision from the school board by June 1 in order to apply for a grant if the board approves of the proposal.

The road to the ALCO store would have to be extended by the partnership, and the partnership would have to work with the city about extending the water and sewer lines.

If approved, the builder of the town homes will be from out of the area but local subcontractors will be hired, Supt. Indihar said.

The board’s Land Committee will meet on Monday, April 22 at 6 p.m. to discuss the proposal and the lots. The board will hold a special meeting on Monday, April 29 at 6 p.m. for further discussion.

“With the construction of McDonald’s and other businesses and $1 million in housing, that’s a lot of progress for this town and this school,” said board member Jamie Jungers.

Athletic director hired

Jungers and board member Julie Peterson were the two no votes in approving Anthony Andres as the athletic director effective January 21, 2014. The motion passed with four votes to hire Andres.

Andres, who teaches business, was the only in-house applicant for the position of athletic director. Supt. Indihar explained that Andres had been interviewed by the administration, including the high school and elementary principals, and they recommended that he be hired for the position. The board had indicated earlier that they preferred someone from the school take the position in order to be available to students during the school days.

Jungers said that he wanted the board to talk to Andres before a contract was offered to find out his views. His comments were supported by Peterson.

However, board member Peter Steen, whose comments were supported by board member Scott Benoit, said that it would set a precedent if the board talked to the candidate. He said that the board follows the recommendations of the administration when hiring other candidates.

Board member Lisa Anderson-Reed pointed out that there is a probation period, and that Andres’ contract would be approved annually.

Proposal in Legislature

Supt. Indihar said that the proposal in the Legislature that asks for $20 million grants for the Moose Lake and Rushford-Peterson school districts is “hanging by a thread.” In his visit to the Capitol on April 9, he said that he was told that the Legislature does not build buildings.

“I won’t be surprised if it is dropped,” he added.

Land sale

The details for the sale of land to the commercial developer is proceeding, however, a subordinate clause has to be approved by the board for signing. The clause would ensure that the land would revert back to the school district if the developer defaults. Because the developer is going through a bank to finance the project, the bank will want the first chance on the land.

The legal papers were not yet available for signing.

Other business

The board approved Julie Duesler as the child care coordinator for the Mini Moose Lodge, accepted the resignations of Industrial Arts instructor Trevor Howe and counselor Marlee Mollet, effective at the end of the school year, approved summer band lessons, approved an increase of five cents per lunch for both high school and elementary students, approved the referendum election judges resolution and approved the new graduation requirements.

The date for canvassing the election results was set for Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m.

The next monthly meeting of the board was set for Monday, May 20, at 6 p.m.

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