In a unanimous vote, with Board Member Liz Dean absent, the McGregor School Board voted May 18 to adopt a resolution approving a referendum on the issuance of general obligation bonds for school district infrastructure improvements.
Although the language that can be on such a ballot is specified by the legislature as including a statement that a ‘yes’ vote will result in property tax increases, board members plan to mitigate that with a combination of actions such as seeking grant funding and modifying plans.
The board is determined to avoid property tax increases to residents to the extent possible, and ultimately no design work will start until it is certain there is financial support from the community. The resolution in full is shown below.
Details about having an outdoors graduation will be released to families soon, said Board Chair Larry Doten.
The ceremony will be Sunday, May 31. There will be parking spots where people can listen to the program on their radios.
One vehicle parking spot per family will be provided. The event will be broadcast on the radio KKIN, 94.3.
Principal Bob Staska acknowledged that people have expressed disappointment about not having a traditional graduation, saying the board has had to plan and replan because of the rapid changes in guidance.
“Communicating all these changes to families has been an ongoing challenge,” Staska said.
The district will be following Department of Education guidance with regard to school district liability for the event. Board member Pat Scollard said the actual diplomas will be handed out one by one at the event, which will be recorded. An effort will be made to also live stream the graduation on Facebook for those who are unable to attend. Scholarship awards will be in a Powerpoint presentation.
The board approved the preliminary budget for 2020-2021 school year, based on an average daily membership (or student count) of 447 to be conservative, on an average tax revenue from county, and nothing from bonding.
The district’s capital fund balance will be tapped to pay for needed repairs to the track facility.
The board also approved purchase of a John Deere Gator for $10,000, and a bid from Racon for paving work on the track prior to resurfacing, not to exceed $10,000.
Food Service Supervisor Gary Foix’s contract for July 2020-June 2021 was approved.
Teacher contracts were approved.
The contract for Beth Braun Johnson, art teacher, was approved to increase to 83% time for the 2020-2021 school year.
The hiring of Haley Brown as full-time speech pathologist for the 2020-2021 school year was approved unanimously. Hiring of Mitchell Dyrdahl as high school math teacher for 2020-2021 school year was approved. Hiring of Serena Litwin as high school secretary as of Aug. 26, 2020 was approved. The board approved hiring Patrick Jardin as a school psychologist.
The district will hold the contract, which is for three days a week, with one day a week at Cromwell and one at another site. Jardin has many years of experience and has speech and occupational therapy experience as well.
There will be a board work session June 1 and a June 15 board meeting. Likely these meetings will still be held online.
SAFETY POLICY REVIEW
A review of the district’s safety policy is needed; there has not been a comprehensive review since 2015. The board approved moving forward with the review.
MCGREGOR SCHOOL BOARD RESOLUTION
BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of Independent School District No. 4, McGregor Area Schools, Minnesota as follows:
I. The Board has investigated the facts and does hereby find, determine and declare that it is necessary and expedient to issue general obligation school building bonds of the School District, in an aggregate amount not to exceed $13,200,000, to finance the costs of acquisition, betterment and equipping of school sites and facilities, including but not limited to school building safety and security improvements, updates to the career trades and technical education space, school kitchen upgrades, improvements to address indoor air quality, ventilation and lighting issues, construction of student support services area, construction of student collaboration and project learning space and construction of a bus garage to store school-owned buses. The question on the approval of this issuance of bonds shall be School District Ballot Question 1 on the School District ballot at a special election to be held to approve said authorization.
II. The Board has investigated the facts and does hereby find, determine and declare that it is necessary and expedient to issue general obligation school building bonds of the School District, in an aggregate amount not to exceed $2,000,000, to finance the costs of acquisition, betterment and equipping of school sites and facilities, including a new community fitness center with office and changing rooms.The question on the approval of this issuance of bonds shall be School District Ballot Question 2 on the School District ballot at a special election to be held to approve said authorization. The passage of School District Ballot Question 2 shall be contingent on the passage of School District Ballot Question 1.
III. The projects described in paragraph 1 and 2 hereof shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Education of the State of Minnesota for Review and Comment. The Board’s determination to hold the special election to authorize the issuance of the bonds is contingent upon receiving a favorable Review and Comment. When the Commissioner’s favorable Review and Comment is received, the Clerk is authorized and directed to publish this favorable Review and Comment in a legal newspaper of general circulation in the School District not less than twenty (20) nor more than sixty (60) days prior to the special election date. The actions of the School District’s administration in consulting with the Minnesota Department of Education, for the Commissioner’s Review and Comment and taking such other actions as necessary to comply with the provisions of Minnesota Statutes, Section 123B.71, as amended, are hereby ratified and approved in all respects.
IV. The questions of issuing said bonds of the School District (subject to the conditions set forth in paragraph 3 above) shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the School District at a special election, which is hereby called and directed to be held on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 between the approximate hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (opening time may vary depending on precinct)
V. The Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to cause written notice of the special election to be: (a) provided to the county auditor of each county in which the School District is located, in whole or in part, at least seventy-four (74) days before the date of the special election; (b) provided to the Commissioner of Education at least seventy-four (74) days prior to the date of the special election; (c) posted at the administrative offices of the School District, for public inspection, at least ten (10) days before the date of the special election; and (d) published in the official newspaper of the School District once each week for at least two consecutive weeks, with the last publication being at least one week prior to the date of the special election. The Notice of Special Election shall be prepared in substantially the following form, with such changes as may be approved by the Superintendent of the School District.