The first meeting of the St. James School Board at the start of the new school year held on Monday night was a straight forward session that lasted a little under an hour.
The community connection time period held prior to the beginning of the formal meeting was used as a way for the board and community members to meet the new faculty and staff of the school district. Cookies and punch were served at the informal get together.
Among consent items on the agenda, the Board approved payment of the bills for August totaling $565,228.89. Also among consent items the Board approved the hiring of staff and accepted the resignations of several staff members.
Northside Principal Karla Beck updated the Board and attendees on the August School Improvement Grant report prepared by Lee Carlson, who has assumed the position of Continuous Improvement Specialist at Northside.
Beck told the Board she had received, “Nothing but good comments about jump start kindergarten,” which was a program that ran for two weeks in August for children entering kindergarten this year.
The submitted report noted that members of the Northside leadership team attended training courtesy of the Minnesota Depart of Education held at Minnesota State in August.
Beck covered the test results reported by the MDE. She noted reading scores have declined dramatically across the state because the test got harder.
The harder reading test is now the baseline for Northside when it comes to improving test scores. However, when it comes to making progress as a priority school Beck explained in an earlier story that we ran that the Northside results are compared to the current statewide average results tabulated from the new test.
Northside began the school year with an enrollment of 445 students in K-5. The Principal had praise for the teachers who stood out on street corners directing traffic at the start of the school year. Construction on 10th Ave. made getting to Northside very difficult in the first few days of school.
St. James High School Principal Ted Simon reported that his building had 570 students in grades 6-12 at the start of the school year. He also reported that a new security system was up and working at the high school.
People will have to buzz to get into the meeting and he said the quality of video cameras produces images that allows for easy identification of people in the school.
In other business the Board approved family medical leave requests made by Mary Richard, Betty Kuehl and Aunie Neuman. The Board approved a bus contract for the school year.
The Board also approved the adoption of the 2014 certified proposed levy for the maximum amount. This was the last Board meeting before the Sept. 30 deadline for this requirement.
Page 2 of 2 - The dollar amount will be finalized at the truth and taxation meeting. The time for that meeting was approved by the Board. It will be on Dec. 9, 2013 at 6 pm at the Armstrong Media Center.
Superintendent Becky Cselovszki reported on a sports conference realignment meeting. While not giving many details, the Superintendent noted a meeting between the officials of the South Central Conference and the South West Conference had been held. Proposed schedule changes were being looked at. Cselovszki said she expected to come back to the Board with possible schedule changes at the Board’s November meeting.
They would be for as early as the 2014-2015 school year.
Because of Columbus Day the next Board meeting will be on Oct. 21.