Board expects to make a decision on parking in April
By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Parking issues around Delano High School were again discussed at last Monday’s school board meeting, with the board looking at three possible spots for additional parking.
Options looked at include the corner of Tiger Drive and Elm Avenue, another space along Tiger Drive as one enters the school complex, and a third space across from the Delano Elementary School that was purchased recently for a potential new school building.
“In terms of space, any of these options is more than enough,” Board Chairman Peter Brasket commented.
Superintendent Dr. John Sweet said if the board decides to move forward with the option on the corner of Elm Avenue and Tiger Drive, the city and adjoining property owner would be agreeable to a variance. This lot would create approximately 88 spaces.
Board Member Lisa Seguin felt it is important to get residents who live in that area together to work with them toward a solution to the parking concerns.
A concern about the space across from the elementary school was that it may be too far away for high school parking. A positive note, though, was that the parking lot could double as overflow parking for the elementary school and the arena. A lot in this area would create approximately 132 spaces.
It was noted if this option were chosen, the lot would be graded to the proper elevation if a new school building is approved by voters down the road to be constructed on the site.
The third lot option, north of the campus entrance, would create approximately 72 spaces.
Cost estimates for the three spaces range from $108,226 to $193, 205.
The school district presently has 254 marked spots that it sells to senior high students for $100 per parking spot for the school year. Sweet admitted administration is starting to see some resistance at the $100 price level.
The district had applied for a “Safe Routes to School” grant, but did not receive it, it was noted. After reviewing the parking concerns, no action was taken by the board, with a timeline of April likely for a decision to be made.
In other discussion regarding facility needs, the board learned that elementary school administration and staff wish to keep the present multi-purpose rooms as they are, rather than “re-purposing” them as had been brought up in past discussions.
Several other options for meeting space needs in the elementary school included expanding the gym or expanding the cafeteria to the east.
Sweet said administration does not yet have any cost estimates for these options.
Roof repairs were also discussed, with Sweet recommending the district put these off one more year.
“We don’t have this money in capital outlay,” Sweet said. A survey to the community was also brought up.
Sweet said the school board needs to remember it has an operating levy also coming up for renewal.
“That needs to take prevalence over almost everything,” Sweet added.
Lawn mowing quote approved for year
Two companies submitted bids to maintain and mow the district’s grounds, and both pled their cases to the school board, wanting to provide their services to the district.
Joe Kittok of Jan’s Lawn and Landscape presented his proposal to the board, which came in about $5,000 less than a proposal from 4.0 Services, who the district presently contracts with.
Kittok said he hasn’t had the contract for several years, but said he “remembers the terrain very well.”
Andy Bright of 4.0 Services also spoke and talked about some of the things his company has done to improve the grounds over the last couple years, including looking at turf management and weed control.
“I’ve been blown away by the quality of our grounds,” Brasket commented. However, the price difference between the two companies yielded further discussion.
“A $5,000 difference on a $21,000 bill is still a large amount of money,” Brasket added. School administration recommended sticking with 4.0 Services, despite the additional cost to the district. Neither proposal contained weed application costs.
Troy Meyer of Meyer Lawn Service made a comment to the board about the bidding process, and said he feels the district should look at utilizing local companies for services.
The district did not have to post in the newspaper it was soliciting for bids for the contract because it did not meet a certain dollar amount. The board agreed, though, something in the newspaper for quotes would be appropriate in the future.
On a split vote, the board agreed to the contract with 4.0 Services for $21,000. Brasket and Board Member Tim Douglas voted against the motion.
Leo Pospichal to finish teaching career in China
The school board approved a leave of absence for high school special education teacher Leo Pospichal from July 1, through June 30, 2015.
Sweet explained Pospichal has been with the school district for 24 years and has been a real leader with the district’s China program and exchange.
“He’s going to finish off his career teaching in China,” Sweet told the board.
The leave of absence is solely for Pospichal to stay a part of the teacher’s retirement association, of which Pospichal will pay both his share and the district’s share.
“This is a great opportunity for Leo to continue his interest in the Chinese language and culture,” Sweet added.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• was introduced to new business manager Mary Reeder, who was attending her first school board meeting. Reeder began employment mid-March following the resignation of former business manager Sarah Miller.
Reeder, a former district employee, had most recently been working for the Big Lake School District. She reported on adjustments to date made due to state aid delays, and also changing from a financial planning model to a financial planning program.
“We’re very glad to have her here in the business management position,” Sweet said.
• approved the retirement of John Zerull, high school social studies teacher, effective June 7; the resignation/retirement of Barb Stevens, middle school paraprofessional, effective June 4; the resignation of Jesse Hackenmueller, middle school physical education teacher, effective June 7; and the resignation of Quinn Ebert, middle school math teacher, eighth grade girls’ softball coach, and C-squad volleyball coach, effective June 7.
Zerull has been with the district for 38 years, it was noted. Stevens has been with the district for 20.
The board approved the hiring of Annika Tulkki as a special education paraprofessional long-term substitute for the remainder of the school year. This will accommodate the needs of a new student. The board also approved the hiring of Bryan Sinkel as a Tiger Activity Center monitor.
The contract with Carley Boll, the youth development coordinator, was also increased from 180 days per year to 225 days per year.
A family leave of absence was approved for middle school special education teacher Tammy Mathiowetz.
• approved a contract and agreement with Resource Training and Solutions for health and safety management services for 2010-11 in the amount of $19,500, which is the same amount as was charged last year.
• expressed appreciation to the Delano Loretto United Way for a $1,000 donation to Community Education that went toward the purchase of a new audiometer.
• heard that the Wright Technical Center recognized former Delano School Board Member Becky Schaust for her years of involvement on its board, and also that it is expected 51 students from Delano will attend classes at Wright Technical Center next year.