By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Delano School Board continued discussion of the district’s high priority needs last Monday, looking forward to the November ballot.
Presenting information that had already been shared with the school board in the past, Superintendent Dr. John Sweet said the issue was coming up at this point again for discussion purposes. A report was originally presented Jan. 25 by the buildings and grounds committee.
Sweet said, in the elementary school, two multi-purpose rooms may need to be “re-purposed” into classroom space. Board Member Carolyn Milano said the enrollment of the district has increased, but the space has not.
Board Chairperson Peter Brasket said the need for these changes and upgrades hasn’t gone away, and said instead of revisiting a potential grades 4-6 building, which did not pass a referendum vote several years back, the board is looking at other ways to deal with space issues.
Board Member Amy Johnson told those in attendance the school district still needs the 4-6 building due to space issues.
An online survey will be presented in the future to get feedback and thoughts from some of the proposed changes and upgrades, which include things like increased security of the elementary entrance, two science classrooms in the high school, two music rooms in the middle school and high school, parking improvements at the high school, and potentially, a high school auditorium for seating up to 800 people.
No decisions were made by the board on any of the discussion points, and Brasket said it will “remain high on the radar.”
School calendar approved for 10-11
Following discussion, the board approved the school calendar for the 2010-11 year.
Discussion took place about having class past June 3, and a poll conducted among teachers showed 66 percent favored going a bit later into June, meaning the last day of school would be June 12.
Brasket asked if approving the calendar defines the graduation date, and it was noted the board has never officially approved the graduation date and that it’s just been set.
Sweet said the reason for having difficulty planning the calendar is because the state mandates schools cannot begin class before Labor Day in the fall. Because Labor Day will be late next year, it bumps things back.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• noted the board accepted the resignation of business manager Sarah Miller at a special board meeting Feb. 16 and hired former district employee Mary Reeder to fill the position. Brasket said the board appreciates the work Miller has done and welcomes back Reeder.
• declared some Tiger Activity Center weight room equipment as surplus property and approved of the disposal of it.
• heard from Sweet about the tax levy certification and changes by the state which will revise the district’s levy by $36,434 due to the under levy in the health and safety fund. This amount will be recovered next year, it was noted.
• noted a donation of community pledges from a Wells Fargo community support campaign by seven school district patrons for $2,988.
“We always appreciate these donations to the school district,” Brasket said.
• approved the resignations of high school Chinese teacher Aixue Wang, middle school boys soccer/high school wrestling coach Jesse Hackenmueller, assistant girls soccer coach Nicole Jensen, seventh grade baseball coach Jacob Olson, and Tiger Activity Center evening supervisor Joshua Menard.
With Wang’s resignation, the board will be phasing out the Chinese program, which will affect 21 students. It was noted school officials are looking at options to provide continuing classes for these students.
The board approved the hiring of Tiger Activity Center evening supervisor Terance Schultz beginning Feb. 10, and Andrew Brown as seventh grade baseball coach.
Family leaves of absence were also approved by the board for Shallyn Tordeur, Desiree Helstrom, and Sondra Hinnenkamp. A request for a leave of absence from middle school math teacher and coach Quinn Ebert was denied by the board. Ebert requested a two- year leave of absence in order to teach overseas. The board determined to hold her position open for two years while she was on leave was not in the best interest of the school.
Sweet cited two similar situations that have also been denied in the recent past, and said Ebert would be welcome to reapply with the district if she is interested upon her return.
Board members stressed this denial is no reflection of Ebert, and Milano said she’s “an inspiring teacher who believes in kids and supports them.”
• heard an update from MAWSECO Director Allyson Kuehn in the program review portion of the meeting. Kuehn said the co-op was established in 1975, and is made up of seven school districts Delano, Annandale, Dassel-Cokato, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Litchfield, Maple Lake, and Rockford.
They make up a joint powers board served by a staff of approximately 100. Kuehn discussed the services at district levels, programs, funding, and training.
• learned the Crow River Youth Hockey Association is concerned about ice time and are considering fundraising for an additional sheet of ice.
• accepted certificates from Sweet in recognition of School Board Recognition Week Feb. 22-26.
• heard from elementary principal Darren Schuler and first grade teacher Nicole Jensen, who talked about “I Love to Read” month. Some of Jensen’s students read the poem “Neighbors in Space” to the board.