Peter Steen announced his resignation, effective immediately, from the Moose Lake School Board at the meeting of the board on Monday, May 20. Steen said that he needed to spend time with his family and be free to attend the events that his children were involved in.
Board members thanked him for his service. The board will go through the process to find a replacement.
The board passed a motion to appoint Sue Peterson, a trained election judge, to be the challenger at the school bond referendum election on May 21. Superintendent Robert Indihar explained that a challenger is a person that watches the election to make sure that all voters are properly registered. A voter can be challenged if there is a question. The challenger must follow a set of rules.
Peterson has been active in the "Vote No" campaign, and has driven a truck displaying signs urging people to vote no in the election.
Supt. Indihar read the statute to the board and those in attendance at the meeting that states that no campaign signs can be within 100 feet of public land during the election.
The Science Committee made a presentation to the board about the upcoming changes in curriculum to align with the state’s standards for science.
The committee has worked this past school year to design a science program that will focus on key points, and have chosen curriculum to meet those points. Fifth grade students will have textbooks that will review what they learned in third and fourth grades.
High school students can assist the elementary students in a buddy system. A technical component will be added, where students can make use of audio books, an e-review of each chapter, and play video games.
In grades 7-12, textbooks will be selected to help the students transition from elementary to high school science. Each student will be able to keep his or her book, like a workbook. The books will be interactive, and, by the time the students get into eighth grade, there won’t be quite as much interaction with the teacher.
The students will transition further in the ninth grade towards biology and physics. There will also be an online component. Students will still be able to study online if they forget to bring their textbooks at home.
Chemistry and physics classes will be offered to students that are college bound in the senior year and are interested in certain courses, such as engineering. Those will be offered in 2015.
Board Chair Kris Lyons said that grants are available for instruction in agriculture. She recommended that the grants be explored. The teachers agreed to search for those grants.
The board approved a 90-day extension of the sale of land to a developer because an issue with signage has to be resolved.
Supt. Indihar explained that none of the school district’s requests, such as $20 million to replace the school and move it away from vulnerability to floods, passed in the Legislature. But the school district will receive $1.5 million in new money, such as for all day-every day kindergarten.
Both Elementary Principal Kraig Koneitzko and High School Principal Billie Jo Steen reported that the preliminary results of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) testing were very positive. The final results will be presented to the board later, after they are received.
Business Manager Linda Dahlman presented the revised 2013-2014 budget to the board.
She said that the school district lost many students after the flood, resulting in the loss of state income. However, the expected $84,000 loss was reduced to a $35,000 loss.
The Legislature has set aside $61,000 to cover the loss of students for schools like Moose Lake that lost students after the flood. It is a common occurrence after such disasters, said Dahlman.
The revised budget includes the expected Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds of about $30,000 that have not yet been received.
Snow removal costs escalated later in the winter, and came to more than double the amount that was budgeted. Instead of the budgeted $6,000, the actual costs came to $13,000, said Dahlman.
The details of the additional income that the Legislature granted were not available as yet.
The Legislature approved a measure to continue ongoing support for the Special Education program, and state aid for lunches is going to be slightly increased.
The board approved the revised budget.
In other business, the board approved hiring Kendra Sickler as the Director/Lead Instructor for the new child care program, the Mini Moose Lodge, and approved the layoff of Erik Ecklund, Jenny Genz, Kim Wallace, Linda Nett (one hour) and Christine Beise (elementary secretary portion).
The board also approved dropping the agreement with Aitkin High School to be included in the girls hockey program, and approved the application to add Hinckley-Finlayson High School to the girls hockey program for the school year 2013-2014.
The regular June meeting of the board was changed from June 17 to Wednesday, June 12, at 4 p.m.