Herald JournalHerald Journal, July 28, 2003

LP to have operating levy in fall; moving forward with remodeling

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

Voters in the Lester Prairie School District will likely see two questions regarding an operating levy on the ballot at this fall's election.

Tentatively, the board is looking at asking two different questions, both related to the levy, said Supt. James Redfield.

One question would ask about funding for capital improvements related to technology, textbooks, and items such as fixing the roof, Redfield said. It is tentatively tagged for about $115,000.

The other question would deal with staffing expenses. This will also amount to about $115,000, he said.

Funding for remodeling ideas, which is in its early discussion stages, would not be placed on the ballot until next year; possibly in the spring, Redfield said.

The school board will have a special meeting Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m., in which financial advisor Ehlers and Associates will be invited to assist them with the wording of the questions to be posed to the public on the ballot.

Remodeling and addition project

A committee will be re-formed to explore ideas for a remodeling/ addition project to be done to the school.

"There are some real shortcomings to the building that we provide education to our children in," Blaser said. "I think we need to improve our school. If we can't provide quality education being independent, than we'll have to look at other options."

A general concept is in place, which was discussed at a special board meeting with TSP Architects July 17. The committee will be asked to provide suggestions for improvements, and other ideas that people may have.

Redfield will contact members of the former joint use committee, as well as members of Winsted and Bergen Township boards to arrange a meeting date and place.

If anyone is interested in being on the committee, contact Redfield at (320) 395-2521.

The plan that the school currently has meets the Minnesota Department of Education's guidelines.

"If we do any improvements, obviously we have to do what the state recommends," said Board Member Chester Hoernemann. "I think we need to keep the building up and do what it takes to make this an excellent facility."

It was also noted that the roof replacement of Area K (Kitchen, cafeteria, room 121, hallway outside of room 121, elementary bathrooms, custodian's office, and a small part of Room 117) has been completed by Laraway Roofing.

The gym floor refurbishing is also complete and will be available for use beginning Monday (today).

Graduation requirements

Lester Prairie High School Principal Joe Miller reported on graduation requirements for high school students.

Students in this year's seventh and eighth grades will have more math as a part of their curriculum. The social studies curriculum has also been updated.

"The seventh and eighth grades and their parents will meet with Mr. Miller about the new requirements," Redfield said Wednesday. "Because of the new requirements, there will probably be more required classes, and not as many electives."

Redfield also noted that he has noticed students are beginning to take more math classes already.

Cutting contests

The 2004-05 sports season will have fewer contests, in order to meet budget cuts and rising costs. By cutting the sporting events, in the long run, the school will save about $7,000 said Athletic Director Hal Stevens.

Contests to be cut include:

  • one cross country meet
  • two volleyball games
  • two boys and girls basketball games
  • three wrestling meets
  • three baseball and softball games
  • two track meets
  • three golf meets

"We are cutting 34 contests," Stevens said. "The cost is about $110 per contest, so we will save about $3,500. In the long run, it will be closer to $6-7,000 saved with transportation and other costs."

Fee schedule

The fee schedule was approved, with some increases being made to it.

Ticket prices for events have been $2.25 for a student or senior citizen. This has been raised to $3 to help with ticket takers in not having to make so much change.
See boxed area for other changes in the fee schedule.

Odds and ends

In other matters, the board:

  • heard from parent Deb Johns about a complaint filed against varsity baseball coach Rick Baumann. Johns indicated she was upset with the way the complaint was handled, and was informed by the board that there is an appeals process she can go through. Redfield noted that, upon his investigation, he determined there was no disciplinary action to take place. He will immediately notify Johns of the process.
  • approved the hiring of another football coach for the fall season. Adam Birkholz, who has volunteered for the position in the past, will likely continue his role on the coaching staff.
  • noted that there will be five foreign exchange students beginning school at Lester Prairie this fall.
  • set its Truth and Taxation meeting for Tues., Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.
  • approved a three-year contract with Open Technology Systems for computers, software, and maintenance.
  • noted that the candidate filings for school board seats open Tuesday, Aug. 26, and close Tuesday, Sept. 9.
  • approved leasing several cell phones for emergency use.
  • noted the next regular school board meeting will take place Monday, Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m.
  • approved the following salaries:

Head custodian Pat Fogerty, $33,500 for 2003-04, $35,000 for 2004-05; Business manager Diane Peterson, $29,525 for 2003-04, $30,855 for 2004-05; Kitchen supervisor Betty Williams, $21,055 for 2003-04, $22,000 for 2004-05; Community education office manager Corinna Orlicki, $8.95/ hr.;

Kid's Depot coordinator Dianne Hoernemann, $11.46/hr.; Little Learner's Para Monica Mahon, $9.95/ hr.; Maintenance Don Albrecht, $12.01/hr.; Maintenance Arleen Holmbeck, $10.17/ hr.; Summer maintenance Nathan Entinger and Jennifer Wolverton, $7.35/ hr.; Para professional Aura Lee Entinger, $10.98/ hr.; Para professional Sue Heimerl, $11.84/ hr.;

Para professional Carol Klaustermeier, $13.04/ hr.; Para professional Kathy Klitzke, $11.84/ hr.; Cook's helper Kim Dressler, $9.95/ hr.; Cook's helper Leana Gueningsman, $11.84/ hr.; Assistant cook Vicki Fasching, $11.67/ hr.; Cook's helper, computer operator, accounting Jennifer Konerza, $9.60/ hr.

Elementary secretary Kathy Fiecke, $13.39/ hr.; High school secretary Carol Kallenbach, $13.39/ hr.; Elementary summer school teacher Pam Green, $22.50/ hr.; Elementary summer school teacher Jan Smith, $22.50/ hr.

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