Levy sees small increase for school district in 2020

Jordan Gerard

The Spring Grove School District will only see a slight increase of .7%, which translates to a change of $4,454.

At their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 16, the board approved the levy certification for 2020 at the “maximum” level – $636,491 – which means they can change it between now and when the proposed levy is provided to the county auditor at the end of the month and then to the state. 

The levy is determined by the foundation formula, enrollment, operating referendum and allocations for health and safety, community education and Q Comp. 

The board also approved two motions to purchase education services from Hiawatha Valley Education District including general services and ALC Learning Year (targeted services or satellite programs).

The master agreement for 2019-2020 was also approved. Negotiations for that resulted in a 3% increase on the salary schedule each year with additional costs at 3.5% total package increase each year. The total cost for that is $230,221.

Wrapping up the fiscal report was 2% of the staff development set aside to be returned to the general fund, which was also approved. 

Superintendent Rachel Udstuen said the district is required by state to fund staff development. With the permission of Spring Grove’s teachers, 2% of that is returned to the general fund as long as the district continues to support staff development.

Principal’s report

Principal Nancy Gulbranson had a lot of good news to report, including successful times of teacher and staff trainings, a coaches forum, vaping and drug presentation to the staff from Houston County Public Health, the first K-9 demonstration from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office at the school and special education and paraprofessional staff training.

Once again, the teachers had a good reception for Assessment Days and encouraged the board to continue that process every year.

Gulbranson announced the Gustavus Adolphus Wind Orchestra is making Spring Grove part of their tour in April. The orchestra will spend a day with students and then give a concert, which is open to the community. 

Superintendent’s report

Udstuen reported enrollment was projected at 371 students, which is an increase from 360 students at the end of last year.

Two fundraisers were added to this year’s list, including the girls basketball team selling beef sticks and the special education program offering “Love Your Melon” hats and a coffee delivery service at school.

Udstuen announced the district was in the running for a Minnesota Department of Education grant that would allow students and potentially families to be surveyed anonymously. 

The Life Skills Training, as it’s called, is evidence-based and proven that it can reduce alcohol, smoking and depression in students by 15%, she said. It would require board approval if Spring Grove were chosen.

Personnel report

Two paraprofessionals were hired on, who were Amanda Kripps and Sarah Burfield.

The board approved Toby Leahy’s resignation, but he will stay on as a basketball coach.

Finally, Udstuen was designated as the “Identified Official with Authority for the MDE External User Access Recertification System.”

Transformational leader Gina Meinertz was authorized as an administrative designee, which means she can attend meetings when other administrative staff cannot.

Other news

The board approved a resolution that would allow them to apply for a Minnesota State High School League Foundation grant if it becomes available. The grant would offset activity fees.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Spring Grove School Board will be Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Learning Resource Center (a.k.a. Media Center).