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Menahga School to move forward with referendum

The Menahga School Board received approval from the Minnesota Department of Education to go ahead with the school building expansion project.

The board voted Monday to move forward with a bond referendum date of Nov. 3, 2009.

Superintendent Mary Klamm presented the tax impact the $8.5 million project would have on residential and commercial properties adding that "the tax impact is pretty low."

For a residential property valued at $110,000, the tax impact would be $148 per year on the 25-year bond, which is about $12 per month, according to Ehlers & Associates, the district's financial advisor.

So far the public hasn't had a chance to comment on the project. But Clarence Suvanto, a retired dairy farmer of Menahga and an alumnus of the school, was present at Monday's meeting to ask questions.

He was skeptical about expanding the gym just for community events like the annual elementary Christmas concert.

The current gym holds two grade levels simultaneously three times a day, replied elementary principal Joleen DeLaHunt, adding that that's the main reason for expanding the gym.

Additionally, the locker rooms located in the basement are in violation of the American Disabilities Act.

The elementary projected enrollment continues to increase, which is why additional classrooms in that wing are needed, DeLaHunt said.

A public hearing will likely be held in September to answer other questions the public may have about the project.

In other business,

-Klamm reported that the ventilation project is on track and should be completed on time.

-Klamm and DeLaHunt reported this year's preliminary enrollment numbers.

As of Monday, the elementary is up 40 students from last year and the high school is down 16.

"When I took a look at the projected enrollment, we're right where we anticipated," Klamm said.

-DeLaHunt announced the elementary will follow in the footsteps of the high school and get on board with the online grading system Skyward Family Access.

The elementary plans to have the system up and running by second semester.

-Klamm confirmed there will be four early-out days for staff development this year. Upcoming days are Sept. 30 and Oct. 8.

-The board accepted board member Brad Goehrig's resignation as junior high football coach once the 2009 season is over.

Treasurer Curtis Hasbargen said at last month's meeting that Goehrig's position on the personnel and licensed staff negotiations committee would give him the opportunity to determine his own pay, which results in a conflict of interest.

That issue will be avoided now that Goehrig will resign as football coach.