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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

New updates and projects discussed for Barnum Schools


February 14, 2019

The offices and the board room would be changed, a family bathroom would be added, and the roof replaced on the 1989 addition to Barnum Elementary, Superintendent Dave Bottem said during the working meeting of the Barnum School Board on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

He presented a list of projects to the board members that included those projects as well as the purchase of a new bus and tractor with mower and brush, the playground at Barnum Elementary and bus garage doors, among smaller items.

“There are more projects than we have money for,” he said. “We can stagger them so we aren’t doing them all at the same time. We can do the elementary roof later.”

That project cost was estimated at $96,480.

The project to replace the playground equipment is underway. The old playground equipment will be advertised to organizations on social media, with the stipulation that the organization remove it.

Board Member Jamie Fuglestad said that he would haul it to the new site.

Bottem spoke about the family bathroom.

“It would be behind the stage,” he said. “That area isn’t being used at all. We can expand it into the storage room and have a hole cut into the wall to the commons. There will be a changing table in that bathroom.”

The plan is to rearrange the offices.

The office for the business manager would be moved to where the superintendent’s office is now located, and the superintendent’s office would be moved to the board room. A wall would be built between the two offices to replace the existing folding curtain, explained Bottem.

“The boardroom could be moved to the payroll clerk’s area or the choir area,” he added.

The new fitness equipment will be delivered later this month. Bottem explained that it will be located in the former auto mechanics shop.

“They will seal up the drains with plywood and self-sealing concrete,” he explained. “We could get the drains back later if we need to. That project will be done over President’s Day weekend so it will be ready before the equipment comes.”

Bottem also explained that the new fitness equipment will take up less space.

Some of that new equipment has four or five stations on each piece,” he said. “That will replace several pieces of the old equipment.”

High School Principal Brian Kazmierczak spoke about creating the class schedule for the next school year.

“We are a three-section school,” he said. “That eliminates electives. There will be a smaller seventh grade coming in next year. There will be an opportunity to add electives.”

Kazmierczak also spoke about the courses that Barnum can provide to area schools.

“We will focus on classes with 10 or fewer kids,” he said. “There may be one or two classes offered per building. In Barnum, the Spanish teacher, the science teacher and the business teacher are interested in teaching shared classes. The superintendents will be meeting Friday and the principals will meet on Monday for further discussions.”

The board discussed the banners that had been proposed for the light poles in the school parking lot and throughout the community.

Bottem said that the cost for the banners and the brackets to attach them to the poles had been estimated at over $100 each. He said that he had talked to the Barnum City Council about the project and had been advised to speak to the community club about funding the project.

“We can look at seeing if we can get other prices,” he said.

Board Chair Paul Coughlin said that it was important for the school to continue to build the brand of the school and to work on less expensive projects, such as stickers.

“We need to start with what we CAN do,” he said. “We also need to design a new logo and just use one logo going forward.”

Board Member Pat Poirier spoke about a wall of photos of the basketball players that he had seen in another school by the gym. He suggested that Barnum could do the same with athletes or just the seniors.

Board Member Beth Schatz suggested that the students could help in the community, such as serving meals at the churches.

“The kids would mingle with the community and the community would see what the kids are doing,” she said.

“The kids are the best spokespeople for the school,” said Bottem.

Other ideas were suggested to get the kids involved with the community.

Poirier brought up the subject of looking for another school district attorney.

“I think that we should move in a different direction with our attorney,” he said.

The other board members agreed and suggested contacting other law firms with several specialists in the different types of litigation.

The issue will be voted on at the next regular meeting of the board and a committee chosen to search for a law firm or attorney.

It was reported that all seven members of the school board attended the recent Minnesota School Board Convention in the Twin Cities area.

Several reported on the classes that they had attended during the convention.

The discussion turned to applications for free and reduced lunches for the students.

It was said that the more students that qualify result in more compensatory federal aid.

It was said that the Family School Support Worker position that was approved recently is going well. Kazmierczak reported that the worker, Brenda Carlon, is at the schools on Mondays and Tuesdays all day and in the afternoons on Wednesdays and Thursdays. She had eight cases from the elementary school and six from the high school since December.

The monthly meeting of the school board will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6:30 p.m.


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