On Monday night, the St. James School Board elected offices at its first meeting of 2013.
Bill Brown was elected Chairman and Michelle Mohlenbrock was elected Vice Chairman.
Jennie Firchau was elected the Board Clerk. Mark Anderson was elected Treasurer.
The School Board has 27 committees. There were some movements in committee assignments, but generally the board members were assigned to the committees they had been on the previous year.
New board member Luisa Trapero took over many of the committee assignments previously held by former board member Tammy Stevens.
The Plaindealer was named the official publication of the Board.
Steven R. Sunde was approved as the school attorney.
Official depositories of the District were appointed. They were The First National Bank, Pioneer Bank, MN School District Liquid Asset Fund and Wells Fargo Bank.
The Board also approved several other administrative resolutions relating to the day to day operation and administration of the District.
The Community Connection period before the scheduled Board meeting was used by Craig Popenhagen of Clifton Larson Allen, which is the accounting firm used by the Board.
He reviewed the findings of the annual audit of the District. He said there were no problems with the District’s books. There were some minor coding issues and process problems that needed to be addressed, but these did not negatively impact the overall accuracy of the District’s financial statement.
Popenhagen compared the St. James School District to districts of similar size. St. James’ expenditures are generally in line with the expenditures of those districts.
In the end the CPA said it had been a ‘good year financially’ for the District and that the District’s current position means it has a good basis from a financial/accounting position for moving forward.
In their reports both Principals, Ted Simon of the High School and Karla Beck of Northside, talked about the review of safety policies and procedures they have conducted and continue to conduct in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murder.
Beck said Northside is now adhering to the pick-up and visitors policies from the school’s safety and emergency preparedness plan. These are not new policies, but the school is enforcing policies which were not being adhered to in the past.
This included parents who arrive to pick up their students at the end of the day must enter the main entrance and check into the administrative office, or wait outside of the building until the school is dismissed.
Page 2 of 2 - Simon said the current status of door entrances was being reviewed at the high school.
The Principals and Superintendent Becky Cselovszki held a meeting with two law enforcement officers from the community to exchange ideas and review current procedures.
The Board approved the amended budget for the 2012-2013 school year. Mary Richard gave a detailed presentation of how adjustments were made in the budget to get to the numbers presented to the Board.
The Board also approved the payment of the December bills in the amount of $1,053,891.71
Mike Tonsager, gave a report on how a committee created after the November Board meeting has proceeded in considering if St. James Area should move to another conference for football.
Tonsager said one possible idea is that SJA and perhaps some other SCC teams would move to the Southwest Conference for football only.
Marshall has left the Southwest Conference. This leaves JCC, Luverne, Redwood Valley, Windom Area and Worthington in the SWC. The general idea is that the two conferences would merge for football with the conferences being split into two divisions along size and competitiveness.
Both conferences are aware of this project. If an agreement is reached, football could begin playing in this new alignment as early as 2014. This is for football only and is not expected to affect conference affiliations in other sports.
The Board also approved the implementation of a shotgun trap shooting league. Students could participate in what would be a team sport. The students would participate against schools in Minnesota who had similar members.
There would be no cost to the school and no travel, except for the state championship, would be involved. All students would have to pass a gun safety class before participating. The sport would be conducted in the spring and the fall.
Beck gave an update on how the program to improve Northside is progressing. She detailed the metrics she and the professionals at the school are implementing and following. Regarding this project she said, “We have to improve.”
The Board also approved an amended memorandum of understanding on early retirement, an actuarial study on the District’s cost of it’s health insurance program and a $3,000 expenditure plus $85 per Board member cost for a shared services agreement for strategic planning with the South Central Service Cooperative.