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MCW hears from Bjorn Olson

SHERBURN — The Martin County West School Board heard from Representative Bjorn Olson on Monday, concerning the education bill approved by the Minnesota legislature. Olson was pleased that an increase was approved of 4.75 percent over two years, 2.75 and then 2 percent. He explained that 73 mandates from the legislature to the school boards in Minnesota were proposed but only 10 mandates were passed.

He was of the opinion that the least mandates the better, and school boards should dictate their own actions. The Minnesota Department of Education will get an increase of $4 million and a $6 million payment from federal sources. The

implementation of standards for social studies was delayed until 2023. He mentioned that there is a lot of good teachers as represented in the legislature. He is of the opinion that school boards should approve curriculum and make sure students can pass standardized tests and be in control of local actions, especially in smaller districts. He said legislators work for you, and school boards work for the people of the district.

Another presentation was about explanations of the long-term facilities maintenance 10-year expenditure and revenue plans from the district’s health and safety consultant, Tim Harbo. Each plan was about $300,000 with projects like roof repair and the Welcome School site mentioned. No extreme or concerning issues were evident.

The meeting continued with a financial report from Superintendent Cory Reynolds which stated that $11 million is the district

budget. $9 million is in the general fund; $441,100 is in the food service, $229,885 is in the community service, and $708,080 is in the

debt service.

The board discussed the fee schedules for the 2021-2022 school year with most staying the same and some being raised $5 because of higher prices for goods. A 2.2 percent increase for instructors was approved.

The board also approved a Dairy bid from Prairie Farms, snow removal bids, board salaries and a meeting date. Depositories and newspaper stay the same. The board also approved the resignations of Dawn Schultz, accountant, Autumn Welcome, science, and Courtney Schultz, elementary.

The board then approved hiring:

— Autumn Welcome as principal at Trimont.

— Nickole Bowie as assistant principal and CER Director.

— Parker Haug as elementary/secondary instrumental music.

— Connie Stenson as second-grade long-term substitute.

— A summer custodian and paraprofessional.

Donations were accepted with thanks from Cargill Cares, $25,000 for science; $25 from Dale and Marian Nielsen for FFA, and Fox Lake Conservation for Farm to School and science donations.

The superintendent’s report focused on her plans to meet as many people in the community as possible, learning history and what needs the district has. She has posted the accountant position with an August 2 deadline for applications and hopes to hire someone with experience in school finances.

Commendation letters were sent to the State FFA qualifiers, State Golf and Track and Field participants, and the Junior Pan American Championship members.

In other news, the board meetings will begin to use the consent agenda as part of the meeting which will combine approval of checks, donations, minutes and personnel changes into one approval vote to have more efficiency in the meetings.

The board reported that the strategic planning for the district has to be postponed until January through early April. There will be a survey and meetings every other week when they begin. One board member said he heard several compliments on the ball field at Welcome. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.

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