Superintendent Gregg Parks reported at Monday night’s school meeting that the district received its first round of CARES act funding totalling $150,000. In addition, the district received $58,000 in CARES act funding through the county. The funds need to be spent by Dec.31.
“We’re using that money for disinfecting and cleaning supplies, PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff and students,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “We also identified cleaning equipment we needed and had the opportunity to get additional equipment to help with cleaning. We purchased additional thermometers for temperature checks and ion sprayers that mist down and disinfect an entire bus or classroom in 15 minutes.”
Parks said one of the additional measures the district has taken is cranking up the system that brings in fresh air and exhausts the used air.
“We’ve also augmented the custodial staff with some of our educational assistants,” he said. “On the bus driver side we have provided them additional time each day to disinfect their buses after the morning and evening routes.”
Parks said they have reached out to all parents to find who needs meals delivered to them during the time grades 3-12 are doing distance learning and who can pick up meals. “We have 150 who need meals and during the course of December while we’re distance learning the bus drivers will be delivering meals to those who need it,” he said.
Parks encouraged families who haven’t taken advantage of the free meals to call the school office.
“The state of Minnesota has applied for a waiver so the free meals extend all the way to the end of the school year now,” he said.
Parks said he appreciates the community’s understanding of the need to go to distance learning for most students in December with only K-2 students remaining in the building.
“I think everybody’s realizing that COVID is definitely having a dramatic impact on our communities right now,” he said.
The board approved the 2019-2020 audit as presented. The net position of the district increased by $103,538 over the prior year with revenues exceeding expenditures.
The unassigned fund balance as a percentage of general fund expenditures remained in the targeted district goal of above 20 percent. The food service fund had income of $18,914. The community service realized a $6,794 deficit due to additional costs to operate school age care.
School age care available for early drop offs
A board member expressed concern about students being dropped off by parents before the door opens at 8:10 a.m. Superintendent Parks said parents have the option to sign their child up for the school age care program that opens at 7 a.m. by calling the office. He explained that the 8:10 a.m. start time was set at the beginning of the school year to assure staff are available to supervise children once they are temperature checked and enter the building. The start time was included in the parent handbook so parents who need to get to work before that time could make other arrangements.
In other action the board:
Accepted the resignation of educational assistant Rebecca Goodsell. “Becky has been a valuable member of our Tiger Team for the past three years,” superintendent Parks said. “Her life has taken a new direction and she is moving away from us to be closer to family and friends. We thank her for her bright smile and willingness to chip in wherever needed over the past three years.”
Accepted donations totaling $8,615 that included $4,820 from the Nevis Basketball Association for a shooting machine, $1,000 for Spangler and DeStefano PLLP for the book club, $1,000 from the Itasca Mantrap Electric Cooperative for winter ski boots and poles, and $500 for game supplies in the physical education program and $1,000 from Henrietta Township for masks and sanitizing equipment.
Reviewed policies on homeschooling, parent and family engagement for Title I programs and visitors to school district buildings and sites. The district will need to create a Title I parent advisory board.
Approved the updated teachers seniority list with Paul Schroeder, who was hired in 1986, at the top of the list.
Approved a resolution that any “off year” elections will be held at the school.
Heard the report of canvassing the election at a special meeting earlier this month. Karrin Lindow received 997 votes followed by Justin Isaacson with 845, Maggie Stacey with 741, Larry Smith with 605 and Craig Hanson with 542 votes. Write-ins accounted for an additional 35 votes.
The next school board meeting will include the district’s Truth in Taxation hearing and begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. Call Lynne at 652-3500 for a Zoom link.