By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Delano School Board learned of the resignation of one of its own at last Monday’s meeting at the Delano City Hall.
Sarah Gallagher, who has served on the school board since being elected in fall 2004, tendered her resignation.
“I have loved learning, working, and being a part of such a wonderful group of people who care so deeply for the good of Delano Schools,” Gallagher said in her resignation letter. “It has been my privilege to serve such a great district and community.”
Gallagher’s first term ran from January 2005 through December 2008, and she was re-elected to a second term in fall 2008 that began in January of this year. That term would have expired in 2012. Gallagher was appointed as the vice chairperson of the school board in 2008 and 2009.
Gallagher, who was not present at the meeting, indicated in her letter she would remain active on the board until a replacement can be found.
Board Member Becky Schaust, who has served on the board with Gallagher for a number of years, said Gallagher was a “kids-first board member.”
“She’s going to be missed,” added Board Member Carolyn Milano.
The opening on the school board created by Gallagher’s resignation will be filled by appointment by the school board.
Those interested in being considered for this position need to file an application at the district office by 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14. Application forms are available online at www.delano.k12.mn.us.
The school board will interview interested candidates Wednesday, Aug. 19, with an appointment expected to be made at the Monday, Aug. 24 board meeting. The person appointed will serve until Dec. 31, 2010, according to Superintendent Dr. John Sweet.
A two-year position will then be on the ballot at the school board election in November 2010.
Enrollment projections reviewed by board
Sweet reviewed enrollment projections with the school board (see graphs), and said last year, the district had a total of 2,234 students, and is looking at a total of 2,274 this year.
It was noted that all three buildings are over capacity for students.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• set a school board workshop for Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m., with a location to be determined.
This will likely include some new board member orientation, as well as a goal-setting/planning session for moving forward.
• approved the quote from Sara Lee for bread services for the upcoming school year, and rejected all bids received for milk due to an inaccuracy in bids. Bids will be sought again for milk and awarded at a later date.
• approved the hiring of Rochelle Lindberg as a .5 sixth grade teacher, which is a shared position with Rebecca Olmscheid; Abigail Linder as a speech pathologist in the elementary school, replacing Sue Jude, who retired; and Tammy Mathiowetz in the elementary school, replacing Toni Clifton, who transferred to third grade.
The board also approved contract modifications for high school guidance counselor Susan Farbo, adding 15 days to her contract, and elementary school paraprofessional Tonia Detweiler, making a change from full time to part time.
• heard from Sweet, who presented a PowerPoint on Targeted Services, which is an academic intervention/prevention program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade that are at risk of not making academic progress.
The program takes place during the school year as an extension of the day, as well as during summer months. It reinforces strategies that are being implemented in the classroom. Sweet said there are 105 students participating, with seven teachers that meet for 16 days during the summer.
• approved the first reading of revisions to the district’s family and medical leave policy.
• noted an overall increase of 18.3 percent for health care costs. Early projections showed that number as being as high as 23 percent, Sweet said, adding this results in an $281,051 increase to the district over what was paid last year, for a total of $1,898,357 in insurance costs to the district.
• noted work that has been done on buildings and grounds over the summer to date, including work on the elementary playgrounds, sidewalk curb cuts, a new crosswalk, the overlay of the elementary school parking lot, and the cycle rotation of carpet replacement.
• heard that procedures have changed for the Truth in Taxation hearings the district conducts every year. There will be no separate hearing as there have been in the past, and no additional advertising is necessary for it.
Sweet said the timeline will still remain the same, with the levy being certified in September, but then discussions will take place at a regular board meeting rather than a separate hearing. He said the district has to state in its minutes when the meeting will be, and also notify the county auditor so it can be included on tax statements.
It is likely this will be done at the board’s Monday, Dec. 21 meeting, Sweet added.
• recognized a donation of $100 from Jason and Shanna Hendrickson for a playground, and a donation of $1,500 from Carolyn Milano for the elementary/middle school Art Adventure program.
Milano explained the Art Adventure program is a visual art opportunity and education program designed by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She noted she is looking for volunteers to be involved with the program. Those interested can contact the district office.