Seven staff contracts were approved by the McGregor School Board on July 26; the district’s speech therapist’s resignation was regretfully accepted, and two contracts were tabled for continuation of salary discussions.
One of the contracts still being negotiated is for the district facility manager position currently held by Anthony Pierce. The board voted to table the discussion of that contract, with Jordan Moser and Pat Scollard voting in opposition. Board member Liz Dean spoke out, thanking Pierce for his dedication and intense involvement in the welfare of the school, especially the remodeling project.
Dean also thanked Pierce for being committed enough to regularly attend board meetings, even though those are not a required part of his job.
The other position that did not get a salary approved was district transportation director.
As if all the staffing decisions were not enough of a plateful for board members, strategic planning for the district is underway, as is a big remodel and construction project which seems to be going over budget in some areas.
SCHOOL YEAR PREP
Student handbook revisions for both the elementary and high schools are minimal and the updated handbooks will be posted on the district’s website.
Athletic and food service fees will not change for the 2021-22 school year.
The calendar change discussed earlier in the year to allow a late start on some Mondays will be posted on the district website and parents will receive a timely notification prior to each late start.
Superintendent Brad Johnson told board members that asbestos removal will be completed the week of Aug. 2. Construction will start on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12 there will be a reception and some photo opportunities.
The board planned to award bids for the bus garage project alternatives 1 and 3, this week.
Bids came in the last week of July, totaling $1.4 million. The bus garage project is separate from the rest of the remodeling, and there is a three year time frame in which to spend the funds. After talking with Pierce and the facilities committee, the board decided to hold off a month on awarding bids. They may be able to reconsider plans for that portion of the project so that the ISD4 board could act as general contractor and bid out the work, making the project more affordable. The district might come out ahead by doing this even though the price of steel could go up in the short term, board members thought. The facilities committee voted to table this award for one month to get more information, and to get a design in hand.
Superintendent Johnson told the board that current recommendations are that there should be masks on students ages 12 and under as well as on all staff. Masks on buses are compulsory.
The district plans to order extra masks for students to use on buses. If the district goes to distance learning, it will be “all or nothing, not some kids at home and some at school,” said Johnson. The superintendent is still meeting with county public health staff monthly. Aitkin has only had one or two cases over the past few weeks.
Inconsistency is the headache with regard to masking up, Johnson said.
The district has contracted with the Minnesota School Boards Association to complete a strategic planning process.
Earlier in July, Gail Gilman of MSBA, who serves as director of strategic planning and board leadership, started the McGregor School district’s strategic planning process with a series of six listening sessions to gather information from different sectors of the community.
Gilman can be contacted at email@example.com or call/text 507-720-4783.
Each listening session asked for responses to the same three questions: positive aspects of the McGregor School District, opportunities for the district to improve or change and vision — participants’ ideal future for the school district.
The school board will have a work session on Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. The next regular meeting of the McGregor School Board will be Monday, Aug. 30.