Kingsland district gets ‘clean’ audit

By: 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Kingsland’s School Board heard its annual audit report during the Nov. 20 regular meeting. 

Jason Boynton, of Smith Schafer & Associates, presented the fiscal year 2019 audit, citing that overall, Kingsland’s financial standing raised few, if any, concerns throughout the auditing process. 

“There were no problems, so overall, a clean report,” he said. “The only thing that caught our eye was a student activity account because someone needed to sign a statement of purpose for that activity.” 

He outlined that the district received 67 percent of its revenue as state aid, with 19 percent coming from the property tax levy, adding that expenditures and revenues have been relatively flat over the past year. The district’s declining enrollment continues to affect its finances, and that in turn affects how much it costs to educate the shifting number of students who attend, he explained. 

As he closed his report, the board took a vote to approve it. 

Financial update

The board and administration are awaiting business manager Amber Uhlenhake Herbrand’s updated financial figures following the success of an operating levy referendum held on Nov. 5 that increased the per-pupil support amount to approximately $1,550 and will allow the district to plan for the future instead of concerning itself with how to stay out of statutory operating debt (SOD), the condition in which the state assumes control of a school district’s finances.  She informed the board that she would have more specific figures for perusal during the annual Truth in Taxation hearing in mid-December just before the regular December board meeting. 

Kingsland Superintendent Jim Hecimovich and board Chairwoman Jackie Horsman conveyed their gratitude to the community for its gift to the district and to the organizations that lent a hand in sharing about the operating levy referendum’s tenets and purpose.      

Spanish class trip

The single new business item on the agenda addressed the Spanish class trip to Spain that had been presented at the Nov. 4 workshop by Spanish instructor Morgan Jacobson.  A 5-1 vote passed to allow the trip to take place, with Horsman voting against because she explained that she had received too many calls and emails from parents who were concerned about the nearly $4,000 tag or that it would force students to have to choose between going on the community education Washington, D.C., trip and traveling to Spain. 

Horsman stated that while she felt that the trip has educational value, she had to acknowledge parents’ concerns.  “I have to vote against it because I’ve got to follow my constituents’ wishes,” she said.

Reports

Kingsland Elementary School Principal Scott Klavetter spoke about how plans are underway to collaborate with other school districts participating in the Southern Minnesota Education Consortium (SMEC) to hold a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) summer camp next summer when the new, centrally-located SMEC building is completed outside Rose Creek. 

“The Veteran’s Day program…it was really neat to see the interactions between students and the veterans,” he said.

Hecimovich reported that as superintendent, he and building and grounds maintenance director Jason Thompson had carried out an audit of the long-term facilities maintenance (LTFM) project carried out this past summer, and he and Thompson listed that several items are still being dealt with as they’re being encountered, such as calibrating the roof heating and cooling units to function as expected.     

The board expressed its appreciation to the American Legion Post 68 for a $200 donation for the courtyard, to numerous donors for their contributions to school health career exploration organization HOSA – including Revo Media’s $150, the Spring Valley Veterinary Clinic’s $150, Ody’s Country Meats’ $225, Sunshine Foods’ $75, Essig Agency’s $75, Marburger Insurance’s $50, Spring Valley Dental’s $75, the Knights of Columbus’ $150, SEMA Equipment’s $75 and Valley Lanes’ $50. 

Scoreboard replacement donors included Kuehn Motors, Sunshine Foods, SEMA Equipment and First LeRoy Agency each giving $1,000, Valley Home Improvement, JJBK Construction, Essig Agency and MinnWest Bank giving $2,000 apiece, AMD Distribution donating $2,500, and Home Federal giving $10,500.  As required by law, the board passed a resolution officially accepting the donations. 

Personnel changes

Personnel matters included granting maternity leave for early childhood special education (ECSE) teacher Lindsey Montesano. The board also accepted the hiring of Jade Smith as a part-time school-age child care (SACC) assistant, Sean Coon as a custodian, Allyson Horsman as an ECSE student aide, and Love West and Angella Evers as paraprofessionals. Resignations were approved for Brent Stinson as head football coach, Erin Larimer as SACC assistant and Cindy Erding as paraprofessional. 

Additionally, the board reviewed winter coaching staff, naming John Fenske as head varsity and junior varsity boys’ basketball coach, Jim Hubka as eighth and ninth grade boys’ basketball coach, Jordan Beck to coach seventh grade boys’ basketball, Steve Hauser to head coach the girls’ varsity basketball team, Nathan Redman to oversee the seventh grade girls’ team, and Stephanie Hershberger as the head dance coach. 

Also, volunteer coaches for girls’ basketball include Matt Reiland, Julee Warren and Jim Wernimont. Also, Lucas Rath will volunteer to coach the boys’ basketball teams as needed. 

Lastly, Bob Rowe is ending his two custodial hours with the district and will now be full-time in the kitchen only. 

Other business

The consent agenda included approving the minutes of the Oct. 21 regular meeting and the Nov. 4 workshop. 

The School Board will hold its December workshop on Monday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. in the Kingsland Elementary School conference room just off the elementary office. The district’s annual Truth in Taxation hearing is set for Monday, Dec. 16, at 6:15 p.m. in the school’s choir room.  The regular meeting will follow the hearing at 6:30 p.m. 

The public is welcome to attend any open School Board workshops or meetings.  For more information, log onto the Kingsland website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us