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

By Jack McFarlane
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake School discusses outbreak response, budget cuts


March 19, 2020

The Moose Lake school board held its regular meeting, in the school's cafeteria, on March 16 with the school's response to the coronavirus pandemic taking up a large part of the evening's discussion.

"Basically, we need to take eight days off to prepare for a long-term shutdown of school and we need to prepare for distance learning," remarked Superintendent Robert Indihar. The schools in the state will be shut down starting March 18 through at least the 27th, with an expectation of longer closures. During this period, Moose Lake is getting its response ready to how it will reach students with distance learning during the expected longer shutdown.

"Who is all involved in coordinating the planning of the distance learning?" asked board member Kim Bohnsack.

"That's gonna be the teachers and principals. Of course I will be involved," responded Indihar. Indihar also mentioned that the attendance of the students during the online phase will have to be tracked, and that things are still being worked out but, "indication is we are preparing for the long term."

The school will be offering breakfast and lunch in a sort of curbside pickup at the school for those who need meals, or a delivery service instead if that doesn't work as intended. The school will also provide free childcare for all emergency workers during school day hours, "specific to school age children during the school day," said Indihar. All staff will be paid during the shutdown, and until further notice all after school activities are cancelled.

With twenty fewer students in the revised budget and some added expenditures, the recommended dollar number to cut for the upcoming school year went up to about $197,000. Attached are the approved cuts recommended by the Finance Committee.

The board accepted the retirement of Karen Autio and the resignation of Mark Hollis (Para) and thanked both for their service. The Education Minnesota negotiated contract for the years 2019-2021 was approved.

Barb and Gordy Overland donated $500 to the Nurse's Children's Fund, and Jessica Silverstein donated 17 new books to the high school library. Genevieve Berthelot, Spencer Walton, and the full band and full choir received excellent ratings on March 10 at the music contest.

With a projection of an increase of students in next year's kindergarten class, the board will consider adding another section when it gets the final number of students. The graduation date for 2021 was set as the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, May 28, 2021.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for April 20 at 5 p.m. in the board room (for now). Next week, candidates for the superintendent position will begin being interviewed.


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