Kingsland School Board OKs budget, sets election, tax hearing

By : 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Spring Valley Tribune

Kingsland’s School Board dealt with annual fiscal year-end business during the June 18 regular board meeting, as well as the budget, election details and personnel decisions.

Business manager Amber Uhlenhake Herbrand came before the board with a review of the district’s long term facility 10-year plan, which is required by the state to help set a direction for the district’s facilities. However, the board decided to table a decision on the 10-year plan.

She also outlined that the 2019 preliminary budget had no significant changes since she first presented it earlier in the year. Board member Jackie Horsman made the first motion to approve the 2019 budget and Tiffany Mundfrom seconded.  The motions for the budget passed.   

Election set

As is typically the case in even numbered years, the terms of three board members expire at the end of the year and an election in the fall will determine who holds the seats for the next four years. The board approved a resolution establishing the dates for filing affidavits of candidacy for School Board as July 31 through Aug. 14 – with a reminder of the $2 filing fee to be submitted in the school clerk’s or superintendent’s offices.

The terms of Chairperson Doug Plaehn, Ann Oeltjen and Leah Stier expire at the end of the year. Stier is filling out the term of former board member Deb Larson, who resigned last year. The 2016 election brought three new faces to the board — Heather Betts, Jackie Horsman and Tiffany Mundfrom — as none of the incumbents filed for re-election.

Tax abatement hearing

The board set a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, July 16, before the regular meeting to consider granting a property tax abatement on a specific number of properties. The proposal is to grant economic development abatements of certain property taxes levied against net tax capacity imposed by the district on 38 parcels.

The purpose of the proposed property tax abatement is to provide funds to pay for construction of improvements to existing school parking lots. The total estimated amount of the abatement by the district is $85,000 over one year.

Minnesota started allowing political subdivisions in 1997 to grant property tax abatements for economic development in much the same ways tax increment financing (TIF) districts do. The funds can be used for many purposes, including construction of public facilities or infrastructure.

Other new business

New business included calling for milk and gas bids, designating Superintendent Jim Hecimovich as the district’s identified official with authority for the Minnesota Department of Education eternal user access recertification system and designating elementary Principal Scott Klavetter as the Local Education Agency representative.

The board also approved signing an amended joint powers agreement with Southern Minnesota Education Consortium (SMEC) to make way for the district’s participation in SMEC’s programming, leases and construction of a facility in Rose Creek.

In other annual routine matters, the board renewed membership in the Minnesota State High School League and set the School Board meeting dates for the 2018-2019 school year as the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland choir room and the workshop dates as the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Kingsland Elementary School conference room.

The board also approved the first reading of school handbooks – with removal of old language referring to the Wykoff site as Kingsland’s intermediate school.

Noteworthy contributions

The board expressed its appreciation to Paula Ruesink and the staff at Historic Forestville for inviting the third through fifth graders to come to tour the site through a grant paid by the Friends of Forestville, to Kingsland School Parents for paying for transportation to Forestville and back again, and to Pheasants Forever for a $310 donation to the Kingsland trap team.  

Personnel decisions

The consent agenda included approving the resignation of Jamie Fenske as varsity baseball coach, hiring Scott Eckelkamp as seventh through ninth grade mathematics instructor, Mark Fitzpatrick as elementary physical education teacher, and Annalisa Pendl as school social worker.

The next regular Kingsland School Board meeting is set for Monday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland choir room, and the next workshop is on Monday, July 2, at 6 p.m. in the elementary conference room just off the elementary office.  The public is welcome to attend.  For more information, call 507-346-7276 or log onto the Kingsland website at