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Kevin Roline, Staples, was hired as the Staples Motley Community Education coordinator by the Staples Motley School Board at a special meeting June 6 in Motley.
Following the special meeting the board went into a work session where they heard a presentation on an audit bid from CliftonLarsonAllen and an update from the superintendent on the district’s Restart Campaign.
Roline was hired for 40 hours per week on a 180-day contract with an office in the school district office. Although the contract doesn’t technically begin until July 1, he has been spending time with Tricia Jasmer at the Staples Community Center becoming familiar with the programs and processes. Jasmer scheduled programs and classes for Summer Recreation and has been working with registrations.
Also at the special meeting the board approved a change in contract for Margaret Fisher, Motley custodian, and a one-year medical leave of absence for Gwen Landis, Staples Elementary teacher.
Mary Reedy, a principal with CliftonLarsonAllen, presented information about the company in response to a request from the board’s May 16 meeting. At that time the board asked the finance committee to examine the audit bids again. A bid had also been received from Mayer, Porter & Nelson, Ltd. Staples.
Reedy noted that she works out of the company’s Brainerd office as do the other two members of what she called the primary service team that would be working with the school district.
The firm has over 4,500 professionals working out of nearly 100 locations across the United States and specializes in state and local government financing. In Minnesota they serve approximately 62 school districts and 62 charter schools.
Reedy emphasized the resources of the company but also the attention to service and quick response to questions.
Board member Bruce Lund asked who would be responding the questions from the school district, whether there would be one point person or anyone from the audit firm’s office.
Reedy replied that it would be one of the three-member service team. If they didn’t have the answer immediately they would research it and respond within one or two days.
Lund also asked if they had experience with smaller school districts such as Staples Motley. Reedy listed several including Pine River, West Central, Rockford, Osakis and Melrose.
The minutes of the finance committee’s meeting noted that the district was one of the few that used a local audit firm primarily because of the complexity of school finance.
The board will make their decision at their regular meeting June 20.
Superintendent Mary Klamm updated the board on the progress on tasks for the 2015-16 school year in the Restart Campaign.
She emphasized how impressed she was with how well the classroom moves have gone so far. The moves are the result of the grade realignment to different buildings which puts grades K-3 in the Staples Elementary building, grades 4-7 in the Motley building and grades 8-12 in the high school building.
“I want to give the staff a big wow,” Klamm said, “for how they pulled together to move.”
She said teams were formed and those whose classrooms were not moving were assigned to help others who were moving. Everything is in the correct building but the teams will get together agan in August to move items into specific classrooms after the custodial staff finishes their summer cleaning and repair projects.
Klamm felt this was keeping in step with the vision of “a community united to become the region’s school district of choice.”
She also noted that they will continue to work on the task regarding improvement of the testing environment to show improvements in MCA tests.
A new technology committee has been formed, Klamm reported, and had their first meeting. They will continue to reinforce that technology options are tools to lead to good learning practices and to improve the comfort level of all staff in using these tools.
Another piece in their progress is improving the culture within each building so parents, community members, staff and students all find a welcoming, friendly environment.
Grades K-3 use Responsive Classroom techniques, grades 4-7 use Developmental Design and grades 8-12 use the Search Institutes Developmental Assets program.
Norby Klimek, the transportation director, has begun working on bus routes with the intention of making sure students won’t have to get on earlier or be home later than last year.
Communication with parents about any concerns they have about the Restart Campaign or the grade realignment was suggested.
Board chair Mary Freeman reported it is expected at NJPA’s (National Joint Powers Alliance) June meeting that funding will be approved for the Community Concern for Youth Services be continued for students who live in Wadena County. The county’s funding was not approved by the state in the last round so at present, those intervention services were available only for Todd County students and some in Morrison County.
Freeman said NJPA felt the program could be replicated in Cass and Crow Wing counties. They have no similar services now.
Klamm reported that at present they are just two students short of being able to offer a second JumpStart class.
She said she is also reviewing education funding passed in the recent legislative session to confirm what will apply to the district.