Board sets referendum session, gets update on school staffing

By: 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Kingsland’s School Board held its August workshop last Monday, Aug. 5, with a rather short agenda that included setting a public information session on the upcoming operating levy referendum and reviewing several changes in staffing.

Board members and Kingsland Superintendent James Hecimovich gathered to discuss the operating levy referendum communication plan. The board announced a session after the Ag Days parade on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Spring Valley Fire Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. to allow residents of the district to hear about the referendum, ask questions and find the potential tax impact on their property. The operating levy referendum will be held during the Nov. 5 election. 

In other business, Hecimovich updated the board on staffing as there are three new instructors, Lori Weiss, Laura Lanning and Lindsey Montesano, along with Reid Olson as the new athletic director. Other new hires include four school-age child care (SACC) assistants and one evening custodian. Also a bus driver was set to be hired.

In resignations, John Dols resigned as building and grounds director and Kristina Howard resigned as SACC coordinator.

There was no building and grounds maintenance report, activities and athletics report or business manager’s update, as the building and grounds maintenance director and business manager Amber Uhlenhake Herbrand were not present.  

Hecimovich spoke about the long term facilities maintenance (LTFM) project, as the district elected during the July meeting to proceed with excavating the west side of the school building to mitigate water issues in the basement.  The project has included new lighting, new communications cabling, removal of heating and cooling units in each classroom that have proven to be too noisy and inefficient, installation of a second set of heating and cooling pipes to serve the entire building to allow for a quick switch between heating and cooling the building in the fall or spring as necessary, and repairs to the roof.  Work is underway to get the building ready for the new school year, with shiny floors and classrooms stocked with clean desks and fresh paper, but no rumbling air handling units to disrupt students’ thoughts. 

The board discussed milk and fuel contracts for the 2019-2020 school year to be awarded during the regular meeting later this month. Baudoin was the only bidder for fuel and Dean Foods will be accepted over Kemp. The board also discussed providing for a boiler license for a staff member if needed, and the superintendent’s performance evaluation.  Hecimovich requested that the evaluation of his performance as superintendent be carried out at an open meeting when completed.

The August regular board meeting will be held in the temporary SACC room just north of the elementary office — or the choir room if construction is complete — on Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m.  The next workshop is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 6 p.m. in the elementary conference room.  The public is welcome to attend.  For more information, log onto the Kingsland school website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us, or call the district office at 507-346-7276.