Menahga School begins superintendent search

Monday's Menahga School Board meeting marked superintendent Mary Klamm's final board appearance. She accepted a position in the Staples-Motley district. Board member Curt Hasbargen commended Klamm for her service to the Menahga district, saying, ...

Monday’s Menahga School Board meeting marked superintendent Mary Klamm’s final board appearance. She accepted a position in the Staples-Motley district.  Board member Curt Hasbargen commended Klamm for her service to the Menahga district, saying, “It’s safe to say she secured over a million in grants.”  “I hope we can continue moving forward rather than go backward with an all new administrative team,” Hasbargen said. “Mary set a very good foundation.”

Renovations - The board accepted a quote from Vercon Inc. to improve security in the elementary and high school entryways, remodeling the middle school principal/secretary’s office and enlarging the nurse’s office. The cost is $62,063.  Vercon was the only contractor to submit a bid, said superintendent Mary Klamm. Two other contractors reported they’d be unable to complete the work before school starts.  Plans to renovate the elementary school bathrooms – that date back to the 1960s –were removed from the project for two reasons. The district’s legal counsel advised Klamm that at least two quotes are required for projects over $25,000. Secondly, it typically takes six weeks for the state to approve plumbing permits.  She recommended postponing the bathroom renovations until spring 2016.  Board member Al Peterson suggested delaying approval of Vercon’s quote for a week in order to solicit more bids.  The remainder of the board disagreed, citing a lack of time and the unlikelihood that another contractor could complete the remodels in the abbreviated timeframe.  The motion passed, with Peterson opposing.

New kindergarten cap - The district anticipates 978 students in kindergarten through grade 12 this fall.  “That doesn’t include any new students moving into the district,” said Klamm. “I’m sure that number will go up.”  The board adjusted the kindergarten enrollment cap, decreasing it from 100 to 80 students.  Currently, 87 kindergarteners are enrolled for 2015-16. The new cap prevents any additional open enrolled students from joining the district.

Facility space assessment - Due to the need for a new superintendent, the board tabled discussion on a proposed facility study.  During a July 17 work session, the board agreed it was prudent to wait for the new administrative team, but not delay too long.  Board chairperson Ernest Huhta Jr.  pointed out, “We’re not entering a building project at this point. We need a facility assessment.”  Peterson said he was open to repurposing space to meet the need for more classrooms.  “Our time is dwindling if we need more classrooms in 13 months,” Peterson said.  

The board suspended retaining the services of LHB and Vedi Design Group, which would conduct the study.  The board is reviewing interim superintendent applicant resumes at a special meeting 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 27. Candidates will be interviewed at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 29 in the high school media center.  The interim superintendent would begin work Aug. 1, with an expected end date of service on June 30, 2016.  In other business, the board:  n


-  Acknowledged the federally mandated increase of 10 cents for student lunches. Meal prices for the 2015-16 school year will be as follows: Pre-K to grade 6 breakfast 80 cents, grades 7-12 breakfast $1, adults and guest breakfast $2, Pre-K to grade 6 lunch $2.10, grades 7-12 lunch $2.20, adults and guests lunch $3.50, milk 25 cents.

-  Approved a joint theatre venture between the Park Rapids and Menahga drama departments this fall.  The cooperative musical production will include students in grades 9-12 who audition and are cast in the production. All interested students will be involved either on stage or backstage.  Menahga’s drama director Brian Hobson will co-direct with Julie Kjenaas, the Park Rapids drama director.

 “We don’t have a facility for them to practice in because the gym is being used for sports,” said Klamm.  Menahga students will be responsible for their own transportation to and from rehearsals and performances at Park Rapids Area High School.  “It’s a win-win for us since we don’t have a facility to do a play,” Klamm said.  

- Approved a new teacher mentor agreement with Resource Training & Solutions of Sartell in the amount of $21,750. Julie Steinkraus and Judy Maaninga will facilitate the mentorship program, which includes 10.5 days of training and 4 days of coaching.  

- Approved the fall sports coaching assignments: Jeremy Nordick, head football; Steve Bruer, Randy Thompson and Lee Shpersky, assistant football coaches; Brian Johnson, junior high football; Isaiah Hahn, head volleyball; Lindsey White and Nichole Weston, assistant volleyball coaches and  Joy Rippentrop, junior high volleyball.  

-  Approved an “Alternative Career Pathways” program allowing teachers to advance through the salary schedule through meaningful projects for the 2015-16 year.  Proposed projects will be reviewed and approved by a committee of three teachers and two administrators.  Klamm noted Menahga was the only school in the region invited to participate in this experimental pilot program. The district will receive a $27,000 stipend to implement it.

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