School Board looks at district finances, Homecoming reports in regular session

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Hannah Lange, left, and Becca Hansen give the FFA report to the Kingsland School Board.

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Matthew Schwanke tells about Key Club activities.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Kingsland School Board members looked at finances and recent activities during the final regular board meeting before the Nov. 5 operating levy referendum Monday, Oct. 21, following a special meeting just prior to telling residents why the district is seeking increased funding.

During the regular meeting, business manager Amber Uhlenhake Herbrand gave an update on how the district’s audit is faring, citing that she’s still awaiting preliminary figures. She did note that local revenues are down and she sent to the state that the district certified the maximum levy.

“With (board member) Leah (Stier) leaving at the end of December, I think I’ll see if (Baird financial advisor) Mike Hoheisel can come back and give us a ‘finance 101’ for the board,” Superintendent Jim Hecimovich said. “I think we need to work on that through January.  And we’ve shifted the audit by about a month.  Fillmore County’s behind, and I think the future benchmark will be November to have the firm budgets moving forward.”    

The business manager then got to deliver some good news – the district qualifies, along with every other district in the state, for an estimated $20,000 from a $30 million state safe schools appropriation that had to await legislative fulfillment before disbursements to schools could be made. She told the board that by Oct. 31 the district has $20,229.26 to put toward the hallway camera project.  

Hecimovich updated the board in his capacity as superintendent and high school principal, sharing that he has heard good remarks from people who had concerns about celebrating Kingsland’s Homecoming over Minnesota’s educational association weekend when students traditionally have two to three days off from school. 

“Homecoming – I had a lot of people with questions about having Homecoming over MEA, but the kids who played football could be there for the whole dance this year,” he said. “Before that, they’d get done with the game, go home to shower and get dressed, and then they’d get there for only part of the dance.” 

Board chair Jackie Horsman agreed, “That’s wonderful.  And I think the week was loaded with even more activities.” 

Elementary school principal Scott Klavetter submitted a written report that included news of a job posting for an additional special education paraprofessional to assist students who need help navigating the school day. He also noted that Kingsland Elementary School will hold a tip night at Dairy Queen as a fundraiser, that the district is welcoming motivational speaker Cory Greenwood through a generous contribution from Valley Christian Center and Kingsland School Parents as part of Bullying Prevention Month, and that a Halloween vocabulary parade – a new Halloween observation at school – will be held this Thursday as students walk the hallways and show that they can gather new words just as easily as they can go trick-or-treating. 

FFA members Rebecca Hansen and Hannah Lange outlined that the FFA has plenty of opportunities for its existing and new members – Greenhand Camp for seventh through 10th graders to gain basic knowledge about FFA, training on how to operate the FFA concession stand, annual fruit sales for fundraising and regional competitions in career development. 

Key Club Vice President Matthew Schwanke represented the Key Club and Builders Club at the board meeting, reporting that the two clubs – Key Club for the older students and Builders Club for the younger – have been busy since the beginning of the school year. They carried out fall ditch cleanup along Highway 63 for the 25th year in a row, held a fall lock-in that found club members going door to door to collect more than 250 pounds of food for the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf and assisted the Kiwanis Club with its annual October rose sales. 

New business encompassed the board approving the annual assurance of compliance report that states that the district complies with ethical and educational requirements and accepting several adjustments to the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) plan that the district is required to have to outline how it will meet the tenets of preparing students to be literate, meet students’ needs and prepare them for high school graduation. The board also put a newer gas dryer up for sale via sealed bids because of its relocation to space where proper venting is not possible, and passed motions for the district to participate in the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) student activities grant program that provides reimbursement for districts that have students who qualify for free and reduced lunch fares and wish to participate in sporting and enrichment activities.   

Personnel matters included hiring Dominic Kinzler as a full-time evening custodian, Jim Hubka to head coach seventh and eighth grade boys’ basketball and Jordan Beck as his assistant coach, and accepting the volunteerism of Luke Rath for boys’ basketball and Julee Warren and Jim Wernimont for girls’ basketball.  Also, the board expressed its official appreciation of a $780 donation from Racks to HOSA, the school’s medical career exploration organization.

The Oct. 21 consent agenda included approving the minutes of the Sept. 16 regular meeting and the Oct. 7 workshop meeting. 

The School Board will hold its monthly workshop on Monday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. in the elementary school conference room just off the office, and it will hold the November regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the choir room.  The public is welcome to attend.  For more information, log onto the Kingsland website at, or call the district office at 507-346-7276.