The Menahga School Board convened a special meeting on Sept. 14, but decided to postpone a decision about assigning school board member Bob White as athletic director until their Monday, Sept. 21 regular meeting.

On Monday, the motion passed 5-0, with White abstaining.

Superintendent Kevin Wellen explained the salary is $40,230. It is not eligible for health insurance, but other fringe benefits are dental insurance, long-term insurance, 403(b) match up to $1,500, two personal days and 11 sick days. White’s period of service would be the 2020-21 fiscal year. Conditions include 997.5 hours, of which 75 will be outside of the school year.

On Monday, board member Julia Kicker wondered, if all sports are shut down, is an athletic director necessary.

Wellen said there would still be work to be done, such as cancellations and hiring coaches for the next year. He pointed out it also depends on how long a shutdown lasts – it could be two weeks or two months.

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Board member Durwin Tomperi asked about the timeline, along with the restriction on school board members that they may only earn $8,000 if they work for the school district.

White will likely have to resign from the school board at the October meeting, Wellen explained, and the school board could appoint a replacement.

White is also up for election in November, but he can’t be removed from the ballot.

“Unless there’s a write-in (candidate) that beats him, he’d need to turn the board position down in January because he can’t do both,” Wellen said, then whomever the board has appointed as a replacement could continue.

Next spring, the board can decide if it wants to post the athletic director position or combine it with a teaching position, Wellen said.

White also addressed a rumor in the community that he is grooming his daughter to be the future athletic director. He said that is incorrect.

Last spring, the Menahga School District projected total school enrollment of 1,045 for fall 2020, but as of last week, kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment was 832. Of those 832, 124 students were distance learning while the remainder were in person.

“The estimate from May to now you’ll see is down 213 students in the seats,” Wellen said. “You do the rough math on that, we’re going to be down $2.3 million in revenue, which we’re not the only district with this problem. There’s a lot of them out there. We’re working with MREA to take care of some legislation to address that.”

In other business on Sept. 14, the board did as follows:

  • Learned that the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) seeks a $7,000 increase in membership fees from the Menahga School District. Last school year, Wellen explained, the MSHSL lost $4 million due to COVID-19 and other budget issues. Wellen said MSHSL will be nonexistent if participating school districts don’t help keep them afloat.

  • Approved the work assignment for bus drivers Norman Peterson and Davin Torola, beginning with the 2020-21 school year, contingent upon licensure and a successful background check.

  • Approved the work assignment for cook Sue Hodgden, beginning with the 2020-21 school year, contingent upon a successful background check.

  • Accepted the resignation of paraprofessional Marla Wolterstorff, effective Sept. 21, and thanked her for three years of service.

  • Approved a request to retract the FMLA request from Allison Poole.