By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN The Dassel-Cokato School Board has agreed to move forward and prepare a formal land lease and usage agreement to be presented to the Dassel-Cokato Regional Ice and Sports Center.
Representatives from the Dassel-Cokato Regional Ice and Sports Center attended the meeting, asking permission to build on school district property.
The ad hoc committee, consisting of school board members Mark Linder, Kevin Bjork, and Tracy McConkey, have been meeting with the ice arena board, addressing a variety of issues associated with the building of the ice arena on district property.
Concerns have focused on the district’s liability for the building if the ice arena becomes unable to financially sustain itself.
A stipulation of the lease agreement would be that the ice arena must be built debt-free.
The arena can be built in phases as the board has money for it, but a loan cannot be taken out.
This ensures that the ice arena building would be an asset to the school district, not a liability.
Powers noted that if the ice arena cannot sustain operations, the building could be for district use, such as a bus barn, for example.
The board directed Supt. Jeff Powers to pursue a lease agreement with the guidance of its attorney for board approval in January or February.
If the terms of the agreement are approved by the board, it will then go to the ice arena board.
“The DCRISC, and me personally, are thrilled to see the interest and support from the school board,” said Keith Raisanen, chairman of the Dassel-Cokato Regional Ice and Sports Center Board of Directors, following the meeting.
“After the many months of meetings and discussions, I think the conclusion was, there are no risks to the school and no debt,” he continued.
“Ultimately, the school will have an outstanding facility on its property that can be used to enhance the activities of the kids in our community, and our community as a whole,” Raisanen said.
Odds and ends
The school board approved the following:
• the 2009 payable 2010 levy certification for $3.6 million, with an increase of $72,207, or 2.05 percent, over last year. The increase is partially due to the inflation factor on the operating referendum levy, according to Tina Palmer, district business manager.
• a Dassel-Cokato High School choir trip for juniors and seniors to the Dorian Vocal Festival at Luther College in Decorah, IA from 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 10 to 12 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11. Cost per student is $15, to be covered by the music boosters.
The school board approved a number of district employee contracts through 2011 including the following:
• the principals’ contract, with a 1.25 percent salary increase in the first and second year.
• the activities director/community education director’s contract, with a 1.75 percent salary increase in the first and second year.
• the business manager’s contract, with a 2.15 percent salary increase for the first and second year. It was noted that the percent increase was an effort to stay competitive with area school districts.
• the Early Childhood and Family Education teachers’ contract, to include a 1.23 percent salary increase in year one, and a 0 percent increase in the second year.
Note: Due to the Christmas holiday, the next regular school board meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 29.