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August 27, 2013
School board discussed future levy plans
Board and administration discussed class fund raising options
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- WWG — Since the board met last week, school is underway having started last Monday under the FLY (Flexible Learning Year) consortium.
Superintendent Loy Woelber told the board about attending a recent meeting of the MREA at Slayton. Discussions were held on issues of concern to area districts.
Local Control Levy use was discussed. The legislature allows districts, who do not have a local levy, to levy 300 dollars per pupil as a Local Control Levy. He said it really does not affect districts that already have local levies. Only one or two districts in the southwest area of the state will benefit from this legislative action.
Other things were discussed about the needs of several districts that are in need of infrastructure improvements.
On the subject of local levies Woelber talked about the future needs of the district. As the district spends down its budget reserves it will become necessary to look at running a new levy in 2015, even though the current levy runs through 2018 or 19.
By using the districts healthy fund balance to eat some of the expenses, due to declining enrollments, and other increased costs, it will probably be necessary to increase the current levy. “However we are only going to ask for what we need — and no more,” said Woelber. Woelber also noted WWG still has one of the lowest levies in the area at $700 per pupil. Tracy, Milroy, Balaton has $850 and Red Rock Central is $1,500.
In the preliminary audit report, the auditors recommended getting two quotes for items close to the minimum limit of $10,000. The district is also required to get competitive bids on projects over $100,000. In retrospect Woelber said, “it was the right time to do the boiler project last year.”
Woelber also talked about the new fitness center at Walnut Grove. It is coming along well and should be ready to open sometime next month.
Principal Paul Olson reported the elementary school received $1,500 in donations for the school supply drive. Several organizations gave significant donations to the project. This helps our students to be ready to go on the first day of school.
Olson noted there are 32, 4 and 5 year old students enrolled for pre-school. There is 15 three year olds enrolled, with about three more starting when they turn three.
Because more of our kids are testing out, there are fewer kids in need for a stand alone program. The elementary school has joined a Title III consortium with St. James, Mountain Lake, and Sleepy Eye.
Olson told the board if they wish to see the new student handbook it is now on line on the schools web site.
High School Principal Bill Richards brought up the subject of class fund raising for class trips and other activities.
Superintendent Woelber thought another column should be added to order forms, for people to donate to the various fund raising projects a dollar amount, rather than buy 20 pizzas where the class gets only 15 to 25 percent of the profit.
Woelber also thought this is an area that needs to be developed. “I think a lot of people would rather make a cash donation where the organization gets 100 percent of the profit.” The board thought the idea definitely is worth looking into.
Richards also talked about the legislature’s closing minute declaration that the kids really do not have to take the tests to graduate. “But they also said they will get back to this later — We are still waiting,” Richards said.
Richards asked the board, “if the kids meet or pass all of our requirements, then should we allow them to graduate? One board member said, “I would certainly think so.”
Richards also talked briefly about the Rule of Eight. If a class has fewer than eight students it will not be offered. This is sometimes difficult because until a couple weeks into the school year enrollment is not always set because of the early start. Principal Olson mentioned that in the past two years between the elementary and high school there has been 150 students coming in or leaving the district.
Athletic Director Leo Theisen reported there is 25 girls out for volleyball. Two more players joined the football team last week boosting their numbers to 36 players. Two students are out for soccer, and 4 girls are in cheer leading.
Theisen also noted two schools will be dropping out of the Southern Confederacy Football conference next year. They are two of the farthest schools away from WWG.
Superintendent Woelber told the board he would like to form volunteer committees to be as an advisory group for ideas for general things as well as fund raising. He is scheduling open meetings for anyone including community members, to attend, and who are interested in serving on these committees.
Board chairperson Marv Kleven reported he had attended the MREA meeting in Marshall. He noted subsequent meetings were scheduled for this fall. The closest meeting was at Anoka or Rochester. He contacted the director and asked if there was not a closer site for southwest Minnesota. He received a reply that the fall meetings would include Marshall as one of the sites.
In other action the board approved the following items.
• Transfer funds from the general fund to the community education fund to erase a deficit of $66,301.
• Changed adult lunch and breakfast fees to $3.35 for lunch and $1.60 for breakfast to conform with federal requirements.
• Approved Head Start agreement for 13-14 for screening.
• Nominated Marvin Kleven for MSBA delegate assembly.
• Declared 3point broom sweeper as surplus to sell.
• Approved the hiring of the following people: Ashley Kircher, preschool; James Blahnik, secondary; Tanya Mershon, preschool; Karen Olson, elementary; Amber West, junior high volleyball; Morganne Knakmuhs junior high volleyball.
• Non renewal of Sherri Vind as kitchen assistant in Westbrook.
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