After a work session last week that finalized the details for the capital projects levy, the regular monthly meeting of the Aitkin School Board July 19 was short and full of non-referendum business.

Leading off the meeting was Rich Courtemanche, the Aitkin County land commissioner. Courtemanche presented a check for $28,956 to the school district for its part of the county apportionment from timber and gravel sales on tax-forfeited property in the county.

Courtemanche had made recent appearances at other area school board meetings, and explained that the county is working hard to increase the diversity of the land it manages.

He also introduced Dave McMillan, who is the new education director at Long Lake Conservation Center. McMillan praised what the outdoor education center had to offer.

“I think that Aitkin County and Aitkin County residents are blessed to have a place like this,” McMillan said, adding  that he finds it important for students to have that opportunity.

In other action at the meeting:

• The board took a question from Jennifer Cummings regarding how the district will be handling masking with students for the 2021-22 school year.

“I want to encourage that issue be addressed sooner rather than later,” Cummings said.

Superintendent Dan Stifter said the Minnesota Department of Education recently released options, including direction that indicates masks are “highly recommended.”

He said at the meeting he was waiting for clarification. The school board was set for a special meeting Monday, to review the tour of school land and also address masking.

• The district also approved the contract for school food service for the 2021-22 school year.

Exact details for the food quote were not available, but bread and milk quotes can be found online at

• The additional cost of $1,000 to provide a tax calculator on the district’s microsite for the capital projects levy was approved.

For more on the microsite, click here.

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