Aitkin School Board held its regular meeting Aug. 19.
As the district gears up for the start of the 2019-2020 year, staffing remains a challenge.
Interim Activities Director Gloria Curtiss will be stepping down on Oct. 15. The board approved raising the AD position from .7 to 1.0, along with the addition of an assistant position of .5.
To address the ongoing coaching issues, hiring of a fourth varsity football coach, Peter Yunker, was approved for $3,792. All board members voted in favor, with the exception of John Chute and Dennis Hasskamp. Chair Cindi Hills explained that the outdated master agreement pay rate for coaches doesn’t clearly identify Yunker’s position, and the motion ensures he is not underpaid. Further salary negotiations will take place this spring. The board will have the ultimate say on the number of coaches hired.
Critical incident response drill
An estimated 60-100 people were involved in the critical incident response drill held on Aug. 6 at Aitkin High School. Following the drill, a meeting was held at Gabby’s in Palisade where leadership from Aitkin, McGregor and Hill City school districts discussed school safety.
Superintendent Dan Stifter said such meetings will continue throughout the year, and staff will be updated. Aitkin Schools identified that possible areas of improvement were communications through the server, and having safety equipment such as tourniquets readily on hand in the case of an emergency.
• Board work session will take place on Monday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. at Security State Bank.
• The Truth and Taxation hearing will be held on Monday, Dec. 16 at 6:15 p.m. prior to the regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the Aitkin High School media center.
Aitkin School Board briefs
• Meal prices will see slight increases from 5-10 cents per meal.
• Aitkin High School Principal Paul Karelis reported the student handbook includes vaping policies recommended by the state. The complete handbook will be distributed electronically to all students.
• Food, milk and bread bids were accepted for Reinhart, Aitkin Dairy and Panama Gold.
• The board approved leasing the mid bus for another year.
• Donations are being solicited for repair of the inoperable speakers on the football field.
• High school science room cabinets that were ordered in March are expected to arrive in September. Superintendent Dan Stifter reported the science room tables will arrive within the week. Sheetrock, painting and flooring was completed over the weekend.
• Routine maintenance work to Rippleside Elementary School is coming along well.