SMHS office staff being restructured

2015-16 budget revision sparks policy questions

ong time employee and the possibility of some state funding, the Staples-Motley High School student services office is being restructured. 

The retirement request from Connie Hoffert was approved at the Staples-Motley School Board’s meeting June 20. Hoffert has been with the district nearly 20 years and most recently was serving as the high school receptionist and secretary for the activities director.

Superintendent Mary Klamm told the board about a state grant opportunity intended to help fund social workers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, school nurses and drug addiction counselors. 

It is expected that 32 school districts in rural Minnesota will be funded.The duration of the grant is six years and for the first four years the grant will match the district dollar for dollar. Because this was just passed by the legislature, the grant applications have not yet been developed so Klamm said funds would not be available July 1.

Penny Olsen has been filling the roles of social worker and guidance counselor. Klamm sought approval from the board to advertise for both positions. She said that when they fill one position, Olsen will take the other. 

Another option that Klamm was checking was through CEP (Concentrated Employment Program) which would help fund a career advisor program for three days a week. One half of a day could be used by Connections High School and the remainder by Staples-Motley High School. 

In response to a question from Bryan Winkels, high school principal Mike Schmidt said Julie Polak and Sandy Otteson would staff the front office. Polak is currently an administrative assistant for the high school. Otteson is the attendance and discipline clerk. 

Travis VanOverbeke, the activities director, will take on more of those clerical duties, Klamm added.

“I’m not saying it will all work, but we have the opportunity to try it,” she said.

“The existing office staff is all on board,” Schmidt said. 

In addition, scheduling of school facilities for everything outside of athletics will be handled by Kevin Roline, the new community education coordinator. 

The board approved a revision to the 2015-16 budget which shows a deficit in the unassigned general fund of $257,636. 

Business manager Marci Lord requested a finance committee meeting to discuss the continuing deficits in the food service budget.

Another discussion topic will be how to handle categories that end the year under budget. Usually the funds revert to the general fund or can be used for other projects, such as capital improvements, that have been approved by the board.

This year transportation had a sizeable balance, thanks to low fuel prices and that usually does not happen. Norby Klimek, the transportation director, wants to use the funds to tar the new bus garage area that was built last year. However, since it was not on a capital expenditure list, the request had to be brought to the board.

That sparked a discussion including questions about setting precedent and what will happen next year if fuel prices increase above budget projects. Where will that money be found?

Klamm said the finance committee could discuss whether to set a policy for these situations or to examine them on a case by case basis.

In other business the board:

o Accepted the audit bid from CliftonLarsonAllen on a split vote with Chad Longbella and Roy DiGiovanni voting no.

o Approved the 2016-17 budget which shows the deficit in the general fund reduced to $125,563. Lord reviewed the budget line by line.

o Approved a trip to Italy and Greece for middle school students led by middle school art teacher Amanda Olson. She was excited to show students first hand the art and architecture as well as giving students the experience of travel.

“Travel is a huge eye-opening experience for kids,” she said in her presentation.

Ten students and eight chaperones will be going in June 2017.

o Accepted resignations from Laura Schoonover, district nurse; Tammy Johnson, head speech coach; and Ashley Ingman, elementary school social worker.

o Approved hiring Mary Kempton as a kindergarten teacher and Sue Bettis in food service in Motley.

o Heard in the superintendent’s report of the summer projects for the buildings and grounds department. Those include new hallway flooring on the north end of the high school, a new FFA greenhouse near the high school, new high school kitchen serving line, new doors in specific areas, tuck pointing some parts of the high school and Motley buildings, new cabinets in some classrooms, sidewalk and parking lot repairs, coating on main gym roof in Motley, some sprinkler system repairs, garden in the elementary school courtyard, some heating and ventilation repairs and some painting.

Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:

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