The Mabel-Canton School Board includes, in front, from left, Chair Cristal Adkins, Clerk Chris Loppnow, Diane Wilder and Liz Hershberger. In back are Vice-Chair Jason Marquardt, Mark Weidemann and Treasurer Chris Miller.
The Mabel-Canton School Board includes, in front, from left, Chair Cristal Adkins, Clerk Chris Loppnow, Diane Wilder and Liz Hershberger. In back are Vice-Chair Jason Marquardt, Mark Weidemann and Treasurer Chris Miller. BARB KERNS/NEWS LEADER

The Mabel-Canton School Board handled several business items at its first board meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Business included the election of officers, which resulted in no changes for the upcoming year.

Approved with no opposition were Cristal Adkins as Board chair; Jason Marquardt as vice-chair; Chris Miller as treasurer and Chris Loppnow as clerk.

There was also discussion on a possible change in pay for the board officers and directors.

Currently the officers were paid $850 annually and directors are paid $750 annually with an additional $40 meeting allowance for special meetings not held the same night as regular meetings.

Superintendent Gary Kuphal introduced the matter, with it being noted that the pay structure had not been changed for 15 years.

Chris Miller noted, “We do not do this for the money.”

After some discussion on the possible options, it was approved that the pay structure be changed from each member receiving an annual stipend to being paid on a per meeting basis, with the chair to receive $90 per meeting, officers $80 per meeting and $70 per meeting for directors.

Although this would not be a large change financially for the district, it would also accurately pay each person for actual meeting attendance.

Board appointments

Board members were appointed to serve on several committees. Loppnow will serve on Hiawatha Valley Education District, negotiations and policy committees. Mark Weidemann will serve on community education and facilities and outlay committees. Adkins will serve on the negotiations and meet and confer committees. Miller will serve on the negotiations, facilities and capital outlay and policy committees. Diane Wilder will serve on the Minnesota State High School League committee. Liz Hershberger will serve on staff development and World’s Best Workforce committees. Jason Marquardt will serve on the policy committee.

Kuphal noted there will be monthly reports on the committee assignments, although it is possible there may not be any activity on some of the committees each month. 

Another item of discussion was the change of the meeting time for regular board meetings to 6 p.m. rather than the current start time of 7. It was decided that since board attendance has been good when special meetings are required at an earlier start time, a change to 6 p.m. for the regular meeting would also likely work.

Therefore, the Board approved the regular meeting date to be the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m., in the media center.

Other annual business items included the designation of the official school district newspaper as the News Leader; designation of the official law firm as Kennedy and Graven; and designation of the official depositories as the Minnesota Liquid Asset Fund, Bank of the West in Mabel and First Southeast Bank in Canton.

Official communication stations

The official communication stations were discussed, with it noted that currently there were more than eight media outlets currently utilized to inform the district of any scheduling changes.

Kuphal stated that a study had been done by Heather Kleiboer and it was determined that the majority of district members surveyed indicated that they utilize the school’s Remind 101 Free Text service, followed by KTTC/Fox 47 TV, then WIZM and KVIK radio.

The consensus was to reduce the contacts to the most utilized services at the start of the 2018-19 school year, primarily due to the large numbers utilizing the school’s text service.

The changes will be reflected in the student handbook for the next school year.

Superintendent’s contract

Superintendent Kuphal’s position was discussed as his initial contract was for one year only.

Kuphal reiterated that he does not desire full-time employment, and he also feels the current arrangement has been working since the district has not had a full-time superintendent in house.

The board agreed, and it was decided to continue discussion on the extension of the part-time superintendent contract with Kuphal.  This was a discussion only item with no board action to be taken at the present time.

Other business

The Board accepted a donation of $200 from Ross Himlie Photography for the athletic department and also from Mabel First Lutheran Church for $366.17 for playground equipment.

Sunshine Norby, representing the parents of the Glitter Cheer Squad, requested board approval for a bake sale fundraiser to be held in conjunction with the squad’s half-time performance at the Friday, Jan. 19, basketball game. A request for a cancer fundraiser for the Cox family was also presented, to be held on Parents Night of the girls’ basketball team on Feb. 5. Approval was given to both requests.

The second reading of the school lunch policy was approved; initially presented at the December 2017 meeting.

Foreign exchange students Veronika Hohnska fromUkraine and Andreea Solonaru from Moldova presented a power point presentation of their respective homelands to the board. See related story in this issue.

Principal Michelle Weidemann stated the turkey bingo event was a success, with thanks to the participants expressed. The funds were earmarked for the ski trip and upcoming Eagle Bluff event.

The end of semester was Thursday, Jan. 18, with no student attendance on Friday, Jan. 19, which was to be utilized as a faculty training day.

Social media session

There will be a social media awareness event on Monday, Jan. 29, conducted by Fillmore County Attorney Marla Stanton and Captain John DeGeorge of the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office.

The program will provide information to parents and students, grades five through 12, of the implications and possible consequences of their actions pertaining to social media in today’s world.

There will be two student sessions.

Parents should contact the school office or visit the school website for further information and to sign up for a light meal from 6 to 6:30, prior to the evening presentation, which starts at 6:30 p.m.

There will also be childcare available if needed.

Weidemann encouraged parents and students to participate in the event together.