School board changes meeting date, location
On a split vote the Staples-Motley School Board changed their meeting dates and location as well as some of their committee structure at their organizational meeting Jan. 3.
Following the oath of office for board members Bryan Winkels, Chad Longbella and Greg Frisk, who were elected Nov. 8, the board chose Mary Freeman to remain as board chair.
Bruce Lund was elected as vice chair, Dave Hoemberg as clerk and Chad Longbella as treasurer.
The regular board meetings will be the second to last Monday of each month. Freeman noted that in most cases this will be the third Monday of the month, as the board has set in the past. However, on those months with five Mondays, it will allow the business office more time to prepare financial reports for the board.
She also noted that some months it may solve the issue of needing to change the meetings to Tuesdays because of Monday holidays.
This month is one example of that. Previously, the board would have been scheduled to meet Jan. 16, the third Monday, which is also Martin Luther King Day. That meeting would have been changed to Tuesday. Under the new schedule, because January has five Mondays, the regular board meeting will be Jan. 23.
The same motion included the stipulation that all meetings will now be held in the district office building in Staples.
At the time of the consolidation between the Staples and Motley School Districts for the 1994-95 school year, the combined school board set the monthly meetings to alternate between Staples and Motley.
Two reasons were given for suggesting the change. One was that any additional documentation needed for the meetings would be more easily accessible. The second was to avoid confusion for the public as to where the meeting was going to be. More than one board member confessed to going to the wrong location and being late for a meeting when he had to travel to the other town.
New board member Greg Frisk objected to that part of the motion.
“It’s a matter of perception. I was not elected as a Motley representative. I try to make that clear that I represent the district as a whole. I understand the logistics, but it’s a bad idea and I would vote against it,” Frisk said.
Winkels echoed the point about feeling he represents the entire district. He said it might not be very popular with the public but it would be good for the people to know where the meetings were.
Superintendent Mary Klamm pointed out that for most school districts, including the consolidated districts, the board meetings were in the district office.
A third part of the motion was to set board work sessions for the first Monday of each month.
As the board was discussing committee assignments, Frisk questioned if the committees were worth the time when their recommendations needed to be acted upon by the entire board eventually.
Klamm noted that for her the committees served as a sounding board for ideas. By hearing questions from committee members she could be better prepared for the full board meetings.
Winkels felt the committee structure as a whole was working all right, but noted the some things needed full board discussion, like the budget.
Hoemberg agreed that the full board needed all the information on some of the issues.
Longbella said because of his work schedule there were certain committees he could not join because of when they meet, such as the finance committee.
Lund suggested that work sessions be set for the first Monday of the month, primarily for finance and facility issues, with the understanding that those sessions would be cancelled if not needed.
After more discussion about which committees would be included for work sessions and which would remain as board assigments, the work session stipulation was added to the motion.
When the vote was taken the motion passed 4-2 with Frisk and Longbella voting against it.
In other business the board:
o Designated the Staples World as the legal and official newspaper.
o Named Pemberton Law Office of Fergus Falls and Kennedy & Graven as the official school district attorneys.
o Named as official depositories First International Bank and Trust, Unity Bank, Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank Min-Minnesota Federal Credit Union and other financial institutions which are in compliance with state statures governing school district depositories.