Board OKs 2019-20 budget, reviews construction progress

By: 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Kingsland’s School Board voted to approve the preliminary budget for the 2019-2020 school year during the June regular School Board meeting. 

Business manager Amber Uhlenhake Herbrand was unable to attend the meeting, but she forwarded figures for the board to review and ratify.

Her budget projected that the general fund, with $2,314,239 projected to be in it as of July 1, 2019, will have revenues of $6,234,306 in 2019-20 and expenditures at $6,149,443, leaving an estimated June 30, 2020, balance of $2,399,104 for an increase of $84,865. 

However, total funds, which were expected to have a July 1, 2019, balance of $8,644,840, will have revenues of $8,086,585, expenditures of $13,329,769, leaving an expected June 30, 2020, end balance of $3,401,656, for a decrease of $5,243,184. The main reason for the decrease is $4,998,723 in construction expenditures with just $34,042 in construction revenue. The construction fund had $4,964,681 that was included in the July 1, 2019, balance, zeroing out that fund by June 30, 2020.

Construction issues  

School Board Chairperson Jackie Horsman addressed the district’s newer board members as she explained what long-term facilities maintenance funding (LTFM) is and for what it can and cannot be used. The district is currently in the middle of a construction project that includes LTFM-funded portions and there may be misconceptions among the public as to what the money can be spent on. 

“What it is…it cannot be used to remodel or do new construction,” she said. “It isn’t for frills or extras.” 

Kingsland Superintendent Jim Hecimovich contributed, “Projects have to be reviewed by MDE (Minnesota Department of Education), and we worked for months with MDE to get the beam and column system approved as LTFM because they thought it was cosmetic or new construction, but it isn’t.” 

The board took a look at the LTFM 10-year plan required by the state – one that Horsman noted will not remain as is for the next decade because adjustments and changes will be made annually to suit the district’s specific maintenance needs – and chose to approve it.

Hecimovich elaborated that the current construction project underway will eliminate indoor air quality (IAQ) issues that have cost the district maintenance funding, thereby taking away some of the need for expenditures on such, but the district will also likely experience changes in the amount of LTFM allotted due to these updates being done.

“We had to frontload some of these expenses, but they will save us money in the long term,” Horsman added.

Personnel changes

The board approved the resignation of John Dols as activities director with no discussion. Dols also serves as director of buildings and grounds, a position he will continue.

The board held a special meeting earlier this month for an employee evaluation of Dols, citing Minnesota statute 13D.05 Subd. 3 to close the meeting to the public. However the statute also notes that conclusions regarding the evaluation should be reported at the next regular open meeting.

The board has held extensive discussions about the possibility of restructuring the role of the activities director during the May workshop and regular meeting as well as during a June 3 board workshop. However, the matter wasn’t discussed during the regular meeting last week.

 Other resignations approved by the board included Rebecca Oakland as SACC assistant, Scott Rindels as junior varsity basketball coach and Lyman Richter as a regular route bus driver.

The board also approved the hiring of Lindsey Montesano as the district’s new early childhood special education (ECSE) teacher. Kingsland Elementary School Principal Klavetter pointed out that while Montesano is still working to obtain her certification in ECSE, she is trained as a kindergarten through sixth grade instructor and will be assigned to the ECSE role as a “teacher working out of field” until she gets her certification.

New business

Hecimovich had plenty of other items for the board to handle.  New business encompassed the board approving the transportation director’s contract for director Dustin Tart, giving the OK to the school age child care (SACC) and preschool master agreement, calling for milk and fuel bids for the coming school year, designating Hecimovich as the identified official with authority (IOWA) to provide access to records protected by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), naming Klavetter as the Local Education Agency (LEA) representative, renewing by roll call vote the district’s membership in the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), and by another roll call vote, setting the dates for filing affidavits of candidacy as July 30 through Aug. 13 to garner interested persons to fill Leah Stier’s board seat because she was at the end of her term and agreed to remain for another year until the general election could be held.

Elementary school report

Klavetter gave his principal’s report, citing that Kingsland School Parents (KSP) had finished the year with a color run, and also that hiring has been completed for vacancies at the elementary level, meaning that the district has a full staff for the school year unless someone decides to take a position elsewhere. 

He then clarified what the role of the Southern Minnesota Education Consortium (SMEC) is and how it benefits the district, sharing that membership in SMEC affords Kingsland access to collaborative programming such as mental health services, special education curriculum and vocational training such as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program to train students who wish to go into nursing, or a carpentry program that will be offered at the Lyle school next year. 

After that, he outlined that the elementary school office hours are subject to construction, as the elementary office is torn up and will not be open until the construction project is complete.  However, he stated that he would be checking e-mails and taking phone calls whenever possible. 

Superintendent report

Hecimovich’s report involved construction progress, telling the board that the work to remove asbestos is nearly done and that the project is on time. 

“We’re waiting on air testing in the ag shop, and the 1957 roof is completed,” he said. “We’ll work with the roofers when the air units are installed, and the contractors are starting to paint and prime rooms.  They’ll refinish the gym floor the week of July 1.  John Dols is working on the ballfields right now, and he has a plan for moving everything into the classrooms in August, but we’ll need some volunteers for that.” 

Hecimovich updated the board on community education activities and news next, noting that school-age child care (SACC) took a field trip to the pool in LeRoy, and the children have been invited to the Spring Valley library’s summer reading program. Coordinator Becky Bicknese is working on getting a list of adult and youth activities and classes out, too.

He also reported that for preschool, the district has received $37,500 in Pathway II scholarship money for this year and another $37,500 for next year, so a total of $75,000 to help families get their kids to preschool.

Acknowledgements

The board expressed its appreciation to the Old Barn Resort outside of Preston for allowing the Kingsland golf team to practice on the golf course at no charge.

Also, Kingsland School Parents which hosted the annual color run was recognized, as noted in the agenda, “It was so well attended and a great community opportunity for students and benefited the district.”

Other recognition went to volunteer soccer coaches Jen Ferguson, Brinjil Hyde, Liz Newberg, Kelly Opseth, Jared Hagstrom, Ross Musel, Shaun Knode, Sheila Knode, Santi Drees, Matt Jordan, Karen Stephans, Emily Stephans, Antony Becker, Cody Stuart and Bill Mettler, to the Spring Valley Public Library for inviting the SACC students to participate in the summer reading program activities, to the Kingsland Athletic Booster Club for its donation of $10,000 for bleachers for the Kingsland Café, and to Knutson Construction, the general contractor overseeing the school’s construction project, for its donation of all the scrap metal removed from the building to a recycler so that the funds may be used for the replacement of the preschool playground. 

Consent agenda

The consent agenda included approving the minutes of the May 20 regular board meeting, the June 10 special meeting and the June 3 workshop minutes, paying the June bills, accepting the first reading of the district’s handbooks and adopting policies after second readings. 

The next Kingsland School Board workshop is set for Monday, July 1, at 6 p.m. in the temporary SACC room, and the July regular meeting will take place there on Monday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m.  The public is welcome to attend.  For more information, call 507-346-7276 or log onto the Kingsland website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us