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State withholds $446,000 from DC School District
Jan. 31, 2011
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By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

DASSEL-COKATO, MN – Due to a larger than expected fund balance for the Dassel-Cokato School District, the state is delaying its state aid payment, said district business manager Tina Palmer at Thursday’s meeting.

While the state will be withholding $446,000, the district is expected to receive the money in May, according to Palmer.

DC Superintendent Jeff Powers explained the delay is based on a 1986 statute that requires the state to delay payment to schools if it is in a cash flow crisis before it can borrow elsewhere.

The district faced the same delay in state aid payment last school year, only in a much larger amount.

Gary Johnson retires

The school board approved the retirement of Gary Johnson as the middle school principal effective July 1, 2011.

“Gary has been a tremendous part of the staff for nearly 24 years,” Powers said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the school board:

• heard a MAWSECO report from board member Richard Tormanen.

MAWSECO has a need for additional staff for the Trek program.

The Trek program began this year for students with severe communication and neurological disorders who also have behaviors that make it difficult for them to remain in the regular school setting.

Although the position was advertised, nobody had submitted applications for it as of the last meeting.

MAWSECO will be interviewing paraprofessionals who currently work with the districts served by MAWSECO to fill the open position.

Another topic discussed at the last MAWSECO meeting was the plan to move MAWSECO’s central offices to Howard Lake.

At this time, the plan to move the offices is on hold due to larger-than-expected pre-school and kindergarten classes enrolling in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District for the next few years.

• heard the business manager’s report. The district is on budget for the year thus far.

The district will also begin reimbursing staff for business expenses on their payroll rather than paying with a separate check, Palmer said.

It is estimated that, on average, it costs the district $5 per check for reimbursement checks to staff, so by adding it to their payroll check, it will save the district money.

• heard the superintendent’s report.

There is a legislative forum in St. Michael scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 9. State Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) has declined an invitation to the forum due to a scheduling conflict, Powers said.

There will be an appreciation dinner for former school board member Kevin Dahlman at the Iron Horse Grill and Saloon Tuesday, Feb. 15.

A two-year teacher’s salary pay freeze was passed by the State Senate Education Committee last Tuesday, Powers said.

He had taken time to read the bill, and said it is very complicated. The bill still has to be approved by the state senate and congress.

• heard a report from student representative Logan Benda.

The student body is planning a variety show for Wednesday, Feb. 16, which is during Snow Week (Monday, Feb. 14 to Friday, Feb. 18), Benda said.

The Charger Speech Invitational is Saturday, Feb. 26.

This week was Support Staff Appreciation Week, and the students provided special treats to the district’s support staff in the staff lounge, Benda said.

Benda also gave an update on the winter varsity sports.

• heard a DC Regional Ice and Sports Center (DCRISC) report from school board chair Kevin Bjork.

The committee is focusing on detailed plans for the HVAC and sprinkler system for DCRISC and hope to have building permits by March in order to move forward with construction.

• heard a report from school board member Irene Bender about Schools for Equity in Education (SEE).

Bender noted that the executive director for SEE, Brad Lundell was quoted in Thursday’s Star Tribune, saying, “Some districts are going up to the plate with big 40-ounce bats, while other districts often-times have that little souvenir bat.”

• approved a joint powers agreement for the food service director.

This is not a new agreement, said Powers, but it is the first time it has come before the school board for approval.

• approved the resignation of Seena Glessing as the high school agriculture instructor and FFA advisor effective Jan. 21.

• approved several donations.

The DC Parent and Teacher Association donated $200 for the sixth-grade field trip to Long Lake Conservation Camp.

Target donated $700 to Cokato Elementary for the third-grade field trip to Target Field.

The Minnesota History Center donated $310 to Cokato Elementary for the fourth-grade field trip to the Minnesota Historical Society.

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