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DC School Board places levy after state legislation
June 28, 2019

Nancy Dashwood
Staff Writer

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – Dassel-Cokato School Board Member Andy Engh told his board colleagues that the timing of a potential bond vote appeared to be of great importance to area citizens.

“A bunch of people approached me about when the bond will take place,” Engh said during the board’s meeting June 24. “Many voters will make their decision after knowing about the legislative vote.”

(District 18A Minnesota State Representative Dean Urdahl has introduced a bill to the House proposing the state authorize $5 million to “complete the construction, furnishing, and equipping of the school district’s hockey arena and field house.” The results will not be known until the legislative session ends in May 2020.)

Board members discussed the positives and negatives of the bond election in April or May, or in August of 2020, or waiting until January or February 2021.

“We owe it to the community and tax base,” Board Chair Bill Aho said. “We need to be as fiscally responsible as possible.”

Board Member Irene Bender suggested the board might benefit from hiring a professional firm to complete a community opinion survey about the bond issue.

Board members were each in favor of waiting to conduct the bond election until after the results of the Minnesota legislative session are known.

Board Member Dave Sangren said that while the bond vote could be delayed, the board could still be working on preparing for it. “We can have all the stuff sitting at the starting gate,” he said.

Wrestling

Long-term Litchfield wrestling coach Peter Travis addressed the board, asking about the rationale behind the potential team name, logo, and color changes that would occur if the Litchfield and DC wrestling teams combined.

Travis stated he had read about the potential changes in the newspaper, and wondered why he had not been informed. Travis indicated notification would have been a courtesy, noting, “I was a little hurt, almost.”

Aho thanked Travis for his time, noting the board would not be making any related decisions at the meeting.

DC Activities Director Perry Thinesen told the board that region management had approved the merger of Dassel-Cokato and Litchfield wrestling programs, and the Litchfield school board was making its decision that evening.

Following both boards’ approval, Thinesen could make the merger official by filling out a one-page application, and submitting it to the Minnesota State High School League (MSHL) for approval.

The board approved the merger.

Ins and outs

The board reviewed a lengthy list of district employee resignations and new hires.

Those resigning positions included: Timothy Paulson, bus driver; Maggie Kysilka, special needs paraeducator; Kendra Osmondson, special needs paraeducator; Lynn Hannus, kitchen assistant; Julie Weiss, English learner instructor; Eric Hulterstrum, first grade teacher; and Suzanne Robben, ECFE and preschool teacher.

New hires included: Nicholas Flattum, high school band teacher; Ryan Fox, physical education teacher; Shelby Geiser-Norgaard, sixth grade teacher; Mikailya Rutten, seventh grade science teacher; Elizabeth Wurdell, middle school speech-language pathologist; Lisa Meyers, health assistant; Taumi Wilson, elementary Title 1 paraeducator; Tracy Clark, Type III sub driver; and Mike Cates, Type III and CDL sub driver.

The board also approved a list of fall coaches and advisors presented by Thinesen.

Superintendent Jeff Powers indicated that all open positions except one had been filled. “We’ve got some good new people coming in,” he said.

Odds and ends

In other news, the board:

• approved the 2019-2020 district budget;

• increased school lunch prices by 10 cents; maintained the current cost of milk at 50 cents per carton; increased the cost of breakfast by 10 cents; and elected to continue to cover the cost for milk and juice for all students in kindergarten through fourth grade;

• renewed a two-year lease extension with CBS Properties LLC, for the district’s Alternative Learning Center (ALC);

• listened as Powers reported the district had recently filled its propane tank for 47 cents per unit;

• canceled the board’s July 8 meeting, and moved the board’s remaining July meeting to Monday, July 29.

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