January 30, 2014 | Volume 119, Issue No. 5

Survey: Taxpayers favor remodeling current school

Moose Lake Community Schools Superintendent Robert Indihar recommended that the school board consider remodeling the current school building after the January survey results were compiled. The report was presented at the board meeting on Monday, January 27. The results are available on the school's website, www.mooselake.k12.mn.us.

A wall in the lower level of the Moose Lake school had to be removed after mold was found growing in the chipboard on the wall.

"It gives us a clear picture regarding bonding," said Supt. Indihar. "My recommendation to the board is that I think that we have to look at remodeling this place unless we get money from the state. Consolidation is a long-term game-changer, there are issues with this building.

"We will still wait until the Legislature is done for this year. We will still go out for a bond (referendum) but it will be much less of a bond (referendum)."

Supt. Indihar explained that there are two bills going through the Legislature this session, the original bill to grant the Moose Lake School District and another school district in southern Minnesota $20 million to replace the old school buildings after they were damaged by floods, and a new bill to provide triple equity aid for schools in Minnesota.

"Many of the schools in the state are old and need more equity aid to upgrade the school facilities," Supt. Indihar said. "That would provide funding for all of the schools."

Because mold had grown in a wall on the lower level of the school, the wall had to be removed, Supt. Indihar reported to the board. The wall had been made of chip board, and it had not adequately dried out after the flood clean-up.

Due to the high cost estimate of replastering a replacement wall, Supt. Indihar recommended that the space be made into a commons area for students to hang out.

"We'll have to put a little wall in," he added. "But it will be significantly different. Right now, the plan is to open it up and have an area for the kids."

The wall was along the hallway for one classroom, used as a computer lab in the past, next to the media center.

Make-up days set

The board set make-up days for two of the days that the school was closed due to weather conditions. Since Governor Mark Dayton had called off school for the entire state on January 6, that day would not have to be made up.

And the teachers reported on January 27, another day classes were not held due to extreme cold. That day would also not have to be made up.

January 7 will be made up on February 17, a day that had been set aside as a PLC day, and January 28 will be made up on April 17, another day that had been set aside as a PLC day before Easter break.

The PLC days will be made up in June at the end of the school year.

Collaborative Curriculum

Supt. Indihar told the board that the school district will be taking part in the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum. Flexbooks would be used instead of textbooks, and they could be updated weekly. Videos and other materials would be provided in the flexbooks.

"Hopefully, we will not have to buy textbooks after this," said Supt. Indihar. "We will bring a presenter to talk to the teachers."

Other business

Supt. Indihar also reported that a new state law requires that all of the football helmets be replaced, they cannot be refurbished as they have in the past. The school will have to buy 27 helmets. The others will be purchased with funds from fundraisers.

The board reviewed the progress on the school district's goals. Advances have been made in the categories of Student Learning and Achievement, Finance, Facilities and Property, and in Building Community Relations and School and Community Pride.

Supt. Indihar said that the contract to sell the school land to a developer is being drawn up by the city of Moose Lake's attorney. The city has purchased the land from the school, and the city will sell the land to the developer after placing covenants and zoning on the land.

McNeil Environmental tests for mold and air quality frequently.

"Our school is probably better than it was before," he said. "We have had structural engineers here. We do not have structural problems. Cracks in the walls are from the walls drying out."

The Mini Moose Lodge is probably losing money being that it is just starting this year but it is hoped that it will pay off in retaining more students in the school, said Supt. Indihar.

"We need to keep revisiting the goals so we know that we are working to meet those goals," Supt. Indihar concluded.

The board passed a motion to approve the 2013-2015 Education Minnesota teachers' contract.

Funds were increased for teacher advisors for two extra-curricular activities, the student council and cheerleading.

"It was a good process," reported Joanne Unzen, representative of the teachers union.

The board will be considering $225,000 in cuts in the budget for the 2014-2015 school year.

"There are some logistical things that will make the cuts a little easier," said Supt. Indihar.

Strategies will be discussed in a committee meeting about how to attract students from the district who attend school in another district under open enrollment.

During the reorganization meeting, all of the current officers were re-elected to their positions: Kris Lyons, chair; Scott Benoit, vice chair; and Lisa Anderson-Reed, clerk.

The next meeting of the board was set for Monday, February 24, at 5 p.m.

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