Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

School welcomes commissioner

Dept. of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius tours school


December 21, 2017

Amanda Cisar

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius visits with students at Moose Lake Community School during her tour of the new building December 15 while high school Principal Billie Jo Steen looks on. At the top of the page, school board member Kris Lyons, Superintendent Robert Indihar, Cassellius, elementary Principal Kraig Koneitzko and Steen walk through the elementary.

Moose Lake Community School Superintendent Robert Indihar spoke about the visit December 15 by Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius at the meeting of the school board on Monday, December 18. Three board members met the commissioner and took the tour with her.

"She is a very genuine person," said Indihar. "It was refreshing. It was an honor for us to have her here. She had a lot of compliments for us. She goes into a lot of different school buildings and said that she can tell right away what the culture of the school is like. She said that ours was good.

"She really spent a lot of time in the classrooms that she visited."

Jason Schnoll, the new high school chemistry and physics teacher, asked the board, "Why is biology taught before chemistry?"

He went on to say biology is consistently taught before chemistry in schools, but pointed out it would be of benefit to the students if they had a chemistry course before taking biology.

"Some concepts are hard for the students to grasp in biology," Schnoll told the board. "When you think of all of the chemistry that goes into biology, such as cell biology with plants and water, is makes sense to learn chemistry first. Without that background, it is harder for the students to learn. Chemistry is less complex than biology."

Schnoll added that students need to know chemistry when they take the MCA tests in ninth-grade.

"This will help the test scores," he said. "We'll switch the classes next year."

Indihar reported, in the search to find a solution to no cellular phone signals within the school building, it was found the existing wi-fi in the school could be used.

"This is a good solution," he said. "I thought we would have to spend $70,000 to get cell phone service into the school. Now it has evolved into using the wi-fi. Everybody does it this way now."

Scott Anderson, technology coordinator, said there are posters in the school that explain how to connect to the wi-fi network, but the user must have a newer phone.

"The signal runs on our network," he said. "It is free to you."

Indihar also spoke about a problem with the water main that runs along County Road 10.

The water line had been exposed when County Road 10 was widened and now it has frozen. To correct the problem, the school building has to be shut down for five days.

A bacteria test is required and will take three of those five days, he added.

The school building will be shut down during the holiday break, he explained. The Mini Moose Lodge will be moved to the kindergarten classrooms in the old school and basketball will be moved to Willow River.

"We won't have to pay for correcting the problem," he said. "Casper Construction will do the work."

The sale of the family center on Elm Avenue was held up because there is an obligation that has to be cleared first. It was explained there was a $200,000 loan in 1996 for funds to repair the roof of the building. However, the school had to retain ownership of the building for 25 years.

Indihar said he will contact Sen. Tony Lourey and ask for special legislation to remove the obligation to retain ownership in order for the building to be sold.

Board member Jamie Jungers asked if someone could be hired to lay out a field behind the school for students to use. The existing road could be extended to that area.

It was determined that someone needs to be hired to design the plan for the layout. Peterson Companies, who is completing the athletic fields, does not do design work.

The topic will be discussed by the Facilities Committee, set to meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday, December 16.

In other business, the board accepted the 2016-17 audit by Bergan KDV, certified the levy, approved a resolution that the school be a polling place for the surrounding communities located within the school district when an election is held other than in an election year, approved the 2017-19 contract with teachers, approved the donation of small engines from Robert Hanson for demonstration in classes, approved an anonymous generous donation for the school lunch program for struggling families and appointed Julie Peterson and Steve Blondo to the land development committee.

The reorganizational meeting of the board was set for Monday, January 8, 2018, at 6:30 p.m.

Due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the third Monday of January, the school board's normal meeting date, the next monthly meeting of the board was set for Monday, January 22, at 6 p.m.


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