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Menahga School looks at expanding parking lot

By Nick Longworth

The Menahga School Board definitely wants a new parking lot. But their files from past attorneys? Those they can do without.

On Monday, June 16 at 7 p.m. the Menahga School Board met in the high school media center to discuss issues of the district while students were away for summer break. All board members were present.

Superintendent Mary Klamm gave a legislative update during her superintendent’s update portion of the meeting, saying at the end of this legislative session that the legislature appropriated $30,000 to the general district fund, $19,000 for teacher evaluations and $6,800 for early childhood.

As a result, Klamm said, students who previously received reduced priced lunches will now receive their food for free starting this upcoming school year.

Then there was the playground and possible parking lot to consider.

During the construction of the new elementary playground, it was suggested to Klamm that by extending the existing concrete slab, enough room would be made for an overflow parking lot.

“I went out there and took a look. For events and overflow parking, to get cars off of Highway 71, it would be pretty slick,” Klamm said.

When not in use, the lot would be gated by the district.

Before deciding whether or not to approve the motion of $47,750 to purchase the addition, the board had several questions as to the area in mind – so much so that a brief recess was called so members could walk outside to look at the space in question.

A motion to approve the purchase – minus sales tax – was then approved unanimously, motioned by board member Jon Kangas contingent upon a city compliance check to determine the project’s legality.

In the latter half of the meeting, a lengthy discussion was held after Kangas added to the agenda a discussion about obtaining attorney files from firms that the district has previously worked with.

Two attorney firms that the district previously hired currently have files with matters concerning the district.

Kangas would like them back.

“I think it would be a good idea to get our files back – it’s common practice with district attorneys,” Kangas said.

“What’s the purpose of that?” asked fellow board member Curtis Hasbargen.

“In case there is an issue in which we need to go back and give previous information to a new attorney,” Kangas replied.

“If we had an issue we could call them, it’s not like we’ve dropped all relations with them,” Klamm said.

“But actually, yes we did. I think we should get our files back from the last 18 months or so,” Kangas replied.

“Why would you want just those files and not the ones from seven years ago? It doesn’t make sense. I’m suspicious, Jon – I think you’re covering something up,” Hasbargen said.

“And I’m asking you why you would not want them,” Kangas replied.

“Because I don’t need them,” Hasbargen said.

The motion failed by a 4-2 vote after Hasbargen’s amendment that the district doesn’t need files from any of their attorneys passed. Kangas and fellow board member Al Peterson were the lone votes in favor of obtaining the files.

“It puzzles me that we wouldn’t want our own files,” Kangas said.

“Because you get them when you need them,” replied board member Brad Goehrig.

As an effort of compromise, Klamm was asked to contact the termi nated firms and ask about their accessing information policies for future consideration.

Nick Longworth
A graduate from St. Cloud State University, Nick photographs and writes a variety of stories for nearly every section of The Park Rapids Enterprise. His duties also include section layouts and online content submission.
(218) 732-3364