The Mabel-Canton School Board held a regular meeting on June 26. Mark Weidemann, Chris Miller, Business Manager Aimee Lake, Board chair Cristal Adkins, Superintendent Gary Kuphal, high school secretary Lynette Donald, Chris Loppnow, Diane Wilder and Liz Hershberger were present. Jason Marquardt and Principal Michelle Weidemann were absent. No student board representative was in attendance, and no members of the public had requested to address the council. The board gave public thanks for recent donations from individuals and groups.
Superintendent Kuphal explained that the city councils of Mabel and Canton have expressed interest in meeting with the school board. The main challenge is settling on a date and time that works for everyone, so Kuphal was encouraged to set a meeting, and hopefully most will be able to attend. The board settled upon Tuesday, July 24 at 6 p.m. for this special meeting, at the M-C Media Center.
The board approved the purchase of a 2019 Ford Transit van, for just under $27,000 as well as a Cub Cadet mower (from Hammell Equipment) for $5,350 (after trade-in). The board discussed who to contract with for technology support. Kuphal explained that M-C previously used Marco, but also has a bid from Ed Midwest, adding that regarding the bid from Ed Midwest, “It actually is a bit cheaper than Marco.” Kuphal said that he and Principal Wiedemann are recommending the board approve the agreement with Ed Midwest. The board voted to do so.
Superintendent Kuphal gave a legislative update. He said the state has allocated $25 million statewide for a Safe Schools initiative, of which half is targeted in the metro (Twin Cities) area, and the remaining half is for the rest of the state. Criteria for applications will be released July 16, and applications will be accepted on August 29. Regarding the process, Kuphal said, “Nothing is a given at this point,” but he stressed that Mabel-Canton fully intends to apply for a share of the funds.
Superintendent Kuphal shared with the board that he had met separately with the superintendents from North Winn and Decorah schools earlier in the day, to start laying the groundwork for cooperation regarding students who attend school from outside the district borders. Chris Miller and Kuphal will schedule a meeting with interested families from the North Winn district.
The board voted to approve the 2018-2019 school calendar, including a couple of changes suggested by the superintendent. Kuphal said that overall, the calendar is, “Fairly consistent with last year,” but he suggests that any early-out days dismiss at a standard time of noon. He also suggested that graduation be slightly earlier (7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.). Kuphal also said he feels that the board should be setting the school calendar roughly two years in advance, so to catch up and get onto that timeline, he plans to ask the board this fall to approve a calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, and then in the spring to ask the board to approve the calendar for 2020-2021.
The board discussed and reapproved services through Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center for students in need. Kuphal explained that although the services were previously provided at no cost, they are starting to charge, and the cost will be approximately $2,750 per year for services one day per week. There are currently eight students receiving these services, so Kuphal and Principal Wiedemann recommended approval.
Business manager Aimee Lake summarized the preliminary 2018-2019 budget. The board approved it as submitted. The board also approved a price increase of ten cents for breakfast and lunch. The board approved moving forward with steps to develop a Strategic Plan. Diane Schwinghammer will be helping Mabel-Canton in this process. The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m. The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, July 17 at 6 p.m. in the Media Center. The public is welcome.