The Moose Lake School Board appointed Tom Paull to fill the empty seat on the board, at the meeting on Monday, July 15.
Before the meeting, the board interviewed the three candidates that had sent letters of interest to the board: Audrey Gentry, Byron Kuster and Paull.
In the interviews, each spoke of their interest of serving on the board to assist with guiding the board in decision making and choosing the best options for the students and the school district.
Paull spoke of his experience as an adjuster for insurance claims and his knowledge of the building trades, construction and estimating. He also spoke of his belief that the Moose Lake school provided an excellent education, and spoke of his own high achieving children as an example.
Each school board member voted on a paper ballot and turned in their ballots to Superintendent Robert Indihar.
When that agenda item came up during the meeting, Supt. Indihar announced that Paull had the most votes. He was present at the meeting and was welcomed to the board. He was informed of upcoming trainings and presentations and will fill the seat at the August 19 meeting.
Cutting an elementary teacher position was a major topic of discussion.
First grade teacher Joanne Unzen and second grade teacher Heidi Anderson both urged the board to replace Molly Johnsen, a second grade teacher who had resigned.
However, Supt. Indihar said that his recommendation was to move a teacher from the fourth grade to the second grade to replace that position, and just have two sections of fourth grade instead of three. It was said that the cost savings would be approximately $60,000.
Both Unzen and Anderson urged the board to keep the fourth grade in three sections because of the diversity of the students. There are many students in that class that are high achievers, while a number of other students are low achievers.
No decision was made. The position will be brought up again and a decision made at the August meeting after the budget is reviewed.
Supt. Indihar said that he has been meeting with the Vote Yes group and the Vote No group that had been active before the May school bond referendum. He said that he found a facilitator from Hibbing that would be able to help during the discussions but said that if the school paid for the facilitator, it would show bias.
In discussions with Pat Oman, the city administrator, Supt. Indihar learned that the city is in the process of developing a strategic plan and will be receiving grant funding. Oman had indicated to Supt. Indihar that the facilitator might be able to be paid from the grant funds because the school plays a large part in the economic development of the city.
A large amount of surplus school supplies will be sold during a two-week auction on Do-Bid.com, reported Supt. Indihar. No date has yet been set. Staff from the company will be coming to set up for the auction, and they will also come to clean up after the auction.
Old shrubs have been removed from the landscaping around the school, and new plantings will be installed.
The scoreboard from the little league field, which was removed during the refurbishment of the field, has been donated to the school. Jon Lower of Image Design will refurbish the scoreboard, and it will be mounted on the back of the bleachers.
In other business, the board agreed to raise the rent at the Family Center beginning in January; approved the contract with Billie Jo Steen as high school principal; and accepted a donation of a Howard upright piano from Lisa and Paul Riihiluoma.