School district gets clean audit, minimal increase in 2020 levy Principal set to retire at end of school year

By: 
Jordan Gerard

The Spring Grove School District received a clean audit and approved the 2020 levy.

Clifton Larsen Allen associate Luke Greden said the district’s financials were appropriate and correct. Three deficiencies were found but were considered to be material weaknesses. There were no compliance issues found. 

He added when the district’s funds can fund itself, like the food service fund and community service fund, that was a good sign. 

The district’s operating capital has remained steady over the last five years and sat at $125,448. The district’s capital was a little higher this year because of the remodel and the Bush Foundation grant.

The district did have a $75,000 increase in spending last year, due to the Bush Foundation grant they received. 

The board accepted the audit and approved it. They also approved the 2020 levy, which was an increase of .7%, or $4,454. The total levy sits at $636,491.

Principal set to retire

Principal Nancy Gulbranson officially handed in her letter of resignation as K-12 principal, effective at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

In total, Gulbranson recorded 24 years of service at Spring Grove Public Schools and in her letter she said she was crafting what she wanted to do with her adult life outside of school. Gulbranson has 36 total years of experience in education.

The board thanked her for her service and gave her a standing ovation. 

In her principal’s report, Gulbranson selected Amelia Solum and Carter Bratland as the nominations for the Triple A Award from Spring Grove; and Olivia Mendez and Garrett Bergrud for the ExCEL Award. 

She also announced a new caseworker would be joining the school district on Thursdays and Fridays from Hiawatha Valley Mental Health. 

The K-12 food drive was going well, as Student Council was leading the contests and dress up days. So far, the school has collected 428 lbs. of food and $170 in cash. They racked up $3,000 with a Red’s IGA dinner, volleyball tournament and dress up days. Student Council has yet to tally up the results of the coin war, but those results will be available soon. Gulbranson said the Houston County Food Shelf appreciates the donations and that, “They tell us Spring Grove [kids] feed us for about two months worth.”

Personnel report

In other personnel news, the board approved the resignation of paraprofessional Mona Olson, and at the same time approved paraprofessional Stephanie Rud as a long-term substitute for Olson. 

Chelsea Schultz was also approved as a long-term substitute for science teacher Jenny Dregne, who is on maternity leave. 

Transformational Leader report

Transformational Leader Gina Meinertz presented to the board about what she has been doing with her position so far. Meinertz’s position is brand new to the district and also funded by the Bush Foundation. 

Meinertz uses her time to help teachers and students however she can, whether it be researching curriculum, co-teaching, helping students develop their own projects to show what they’ve learned and more. 

From podcasts to school pages in the Herald, and creating grading rubics for classes to scheduling lunch with a judge for students to learn about consumer law, Meinertz has been busy.

Elementary teacher Kelsey Morken said Meinertz helped her to be a better teacher.

“It’s money well spent. I love to go to her as a teacher and she’s helped me to be a better teacher,” she said. “She checks in on us and makes us do it.”

The board was pleased with the report and the progress made. 

Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the Spring Grove School Board will be Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Learning Resource Center (Media Center).