Mabel-Canton reviews additional staffing needs in kindergarten

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There was extensive discussion on the staffing needs of the current kindergarten class during Mabel-Canton’s School Board meeting last Tuesday, Nov. 20.

At the August meeting, it was decided that one teacher could possibly handle the 25 students, but since the beginning of the year, it has been determined that 14 of the 25 have been identified as Title 1 students for both math and reading.

This need, combined with some behavioral issues now identified, has made it necessary to provide additional staffing for the class.

The two options discussed were the addition of a half-time kindergarten teacher or an additional special education paraprofessional.

There were some questions raised as to how the special needs might have been recognized prior to the start of the school year, possibly in the preschool environment, to be better prepared for the class needs.

Also discussed was how these additional staffing requirements might be met, including the expansion of the current half-time teacher at the first grade level to include the kindergarten class hours.

Approval was given to the placement of a half-time teacher, should the needs of the class not be met with additional paraprofessional staff.

It was also clarified that Board approval would be required for the actual hire of a teacher if this action is needed.  

A written clarification of the district’s hiring processes will also be provided regarding posting for positions internally and publicly as well as utilizing existing applications and the respective timelines used for each following questions as part of this matter.

Audit report

Jason Boynton, a CPA from the Rochester office of Smith Schafer and Associates, presented the results of the annual audit for the 2017-18 school year during the Board meeting.

Boynton reported there were no exceptions and that the report was within the accepted audit standards.

A slide presentation, outlining past years budget items, was viewed, followed by a brief report from the accountant. Boyton and school bookkeeper Aimee Lake provided additional information and clarification to Board member questions. Finally, the audit results were approved.

World’s Best Work Force

A second PowerPoint presentation was conducted by Superintendent Gary Kuphal and Principal Michelle Weidemann, summarizing the past goals of the school district as well proposed changes to the World’s Best Work Force presentation.

Highlights of the presentation were a need to meet goals to close the learning gap among all groups and to also increase proficiency in the area of reading.

The World’s Best Work Force presentation was approved as presented.

The complete report of the proposed changes, as well as a list of current goals, is available on the school website.

A two-year contract for snow removal was awarded to Karl Vang, at a rate of $70 per hour, a $10 increase from the 2017-18 school year. Vang provided a preliminary commercial liability insurance document as requested.

Consent agenda

Consent agenda items were approved as presented.

They included the donation from the M-C Booster Club of $420 for the installation of two changing tables and signs to be placed in the bathrooms near the high school gym, with installation to be completed immediately.

Approval was given to the request for the spring vocal music concert to be held in a local church.

The roster of the winter coaches was approved, as were the 2018-19 budget, activity accounts, invoices and electronic fund transfers.

Administrative reports

Superintendent report items included the report of the upcoming MSBA phase training and winter conferences, with those wishing to attend encouraged sign up as soon as possible.

Mention was made that there has been some interest in a cooperative golf agreement with Lanesboro.  This is in the discussion phase only. Athletic Director Lonnie Morken will survey the students for interest.  Any proposal would be brought before the Board in the next month or two.

Principal Michelle Weidemann reported on multiple school activities in sports, special projects and extra-curricular events, with congratulations given to all participants in the many programs and projects undertaken so far this year.

AAA recipients Drew Wyffels and Maddie Michels were acknowledged, with the process to advancing to Subsections, Section and to the State level of recognition explained.

Superintendent Kuphal also reported that a show of support will be forthcoming to the Grand Meadow School District following the recent death of a student there.

Other business

Kati Bergey, Mabel-Canton sixth grade teacher, reported on her mini-grant application and subsequent award from the Mabel Lions Club.  The $1,300 in funds will be used for the purchase of new calculators for Math Wizards and new books. 

It was decided that due to fees assessed by First Southeast Bank on the limited activity scholarship fund accounts, the funds would be moved to Bank of the West, as their policy for these funds in money market accounts would not include any fees and would also earn a small amount of interest.

Canvassing of the School Board election results took place with it noted that Diane Wilder and Liz Hershberger were re-elected and Traci Livingood was elected to fill the position vacated by Chris Loppnow, who chose not to run for re-election.

Multiple school policies were presented for their second reading as a part of their annual review and were approved by the Board. It was noted that once the entire update process is completed, all policies will be posted in their updated form online. The wellness policy was presented as a first reading due to revisions made by the wellness committee.

It was also noted that district enrollment has increased from a total of 269 students at the start of the school year to 274 as of Nov. 1.  

Junior Payton Danielson, a new student representative to the Board was present to introduce herself and briefly report on student activities, including the successful Veterans Day program and FFA fruit sales as well as the start of the basketball programs with both boys and girls games to begin shortly.