Board considers options for referendum forums

By : 
GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY
SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

Kingsland’s School Board, during a Sept. 4 workshop addressed numerous topics, including publicity for the operative levy referendum, the condition of the Wykoff building following its sale at an auction and a proposal for a new storage shed that can also be used for industrial tech. 

Board members briefly discussed public relations strategies to help inform the district’s residents about the proposal for an operating levy referendum that will be on the general election ballot in November.  Suggestions were made to hold a community forum in Spring Valley and another in Wykoff so that Wykoff residents are not tasked with driving to Spring Valley to hear the proposals, and also to offer a Facebook Live question and answer session, either separately or in conjunction with the public meetings.  More information on decisions regarding such meetings may be available in the near future. 

Kingsland’s building and grounds maintenance director, John Dols, informed the board that the Wykoff building is nearly emptied following the Aug. 11 property auction and that the football team was of great assistance in that process.  He stated that he and Kingsland Superintendent and High School Principal Jim Hecimovich had spoken about the possibilities for the proceeds from the building’s sale, such as using the funds to buy security cameras for the Spring Valley site or to expand the tech ed and ag education classes.  Dols later added that the proceeds from the auction could also be used to design a kitchen for the ag department’s food science classes. 

Storage/shop facility

Dols and tech ed instructor Tyler Heimermann came before the board with a suggestion to construct a 36-foot by 45-foot building on the former Partch property just north of the football field to serve as storage for school district equipment and also as an industrial tech shop for Heimermann’s classes. 

Dols related that with the closure of the Wykoff school building, the maintenance department is lacking storage at the Spring Valley site. He cited that some of his equipment is stored near where elementary students leave the building to go to recess on the playground — and that a dedicated storage structure could help alleviate that problem. 

Heimermann outlined that he’s had requests from his students to expand his class offerings to encompass automotive and power and marine courses and that a survey of 84 students returned results with 18 students asking for automotive education and another 18 seeking outdoor engine education.  The district currently lacks a proper place to hold classes for automotive. The teacher observed that it would be unsafe for him to put a vehicle up on blocks and demonstrate repairs for students in an existing shop, but the storage building he and Dols have in mind would also have three automotive bays for that purpose. 

He added that the construction of a storage shed and exterior shop would offer him an opportunity to get his students as involved in the building process as contractors hired for the project would allow, as in the past year, he’s put them to work repairing other facilities on school property. 

State tests

Kingsland Elementary School Principal Scott Klavetter sat in for Hecimovich as representative of the district’s administration, and he updated the board on standardized test results — for which numbers will be released in October — and the district’s inclusion in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a replacement for previous achievement gap closure plans. He reported that the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) goal is to measure each school’s accomplishments using more than standardized testing scores and that Kingsland Elementary presently ranks among the top five districts in the state for attendance. 

Klavetter also noted that the annual review of the district’s World’s Best Workforce (WBW) plan is coming due; the plan sets goals toward which the district aspires as a means of improving its service to its students.  

New extracurricular activity

The board conversed about and agreed on drafting a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a new school extracurricular activity, Health Occupations Students of America 

(HOSA), an organization fostering interest in health occupations that was introduced to the district by teacher Kevin Geer during the December 2017 board meeting.

Other items

Consent agenda items up for consideration included hiring Phillip Bussman as a substitute van driver, Brenda McRoberts as a paraprofessional substitute, changing the positions of dishwasher Judy Vreeman to cook, Bob Rowe to cook and custodial, and Pat DeYoung becoming a cook.  The district is currently still seeking a dishwasher to fill a four-hour position.  Mari Blanchard submitted her resignation as a van ride-along attendant, and lane changes will be granted to Alyssa Humpal, Angela Forland, Bailey Mahowald and Amanda Lorentz during the Sept. 17 meeting. 

The next regular school board meeting has been set for Monday, Sept. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the choir room, and the next workshop is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. in the elementary school conference room.  The public is welcome to attend.  For more information, log onto the Kingsland website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us, or call the district office at 507-346-7276.